Being anxious about the future can cripple your ability to do well. If you’re anxious, change how you look at your future to turn your behaviour from nervous and tepid to confident.
As advice site Wall Street Oasis explains, anxiety and confidence are mental cousins that can come from the same rough track. You think about your future and act based on what you see. Except that anxiety arises when you look forward and see failure. Confidence, on the other hand, arises when you look ahead and see yourself succeeding.
Of course, we’re pretty bad at predicting the future, and maybe you won’t fail as much as you think you will. However, your attitude about your potential success or failure can affect how you perform. If you think you’re going to screw up, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Reminding yourself that you could succeed can actually change not just your confidence level, but the outcome as well:
You’re months away from bonuses and you’re behind at work. You look into the future and see yourself getting “screwed,” and so you put your head down and work late every night. While you’re working late every night, you start looking into the future and you see yourself missing dinners with your spouse, not being there for your children, losing all of your close relationships because you’re consumed by work.
You can’t win in that scenario. You will always be miserable, because, like watching The Kardashians, you are filling your mind with terrible thoughts. But what if you changed the movie?
What if instead of seeing horrific failures, you saw a successful, happy version of yourself? What if you knew – with the same absolute certainty you currently have about your bad future – that things were going to go extremely well for you? That’s what confidence is: looking into the future, and seeing something you like.
Note, using this trick when you’re anxious isn’t the same as dealing with an anxiety disorder. If you struggle with an anxiety disorder, you can’t just snap out of it by envisioning your future differently. However, training yourself to change your outlook over time can still help you change your perspective after you have an attack.
How To Deal With Anxiety – And Use It To Your Advantage [Wall Street Oasis]