Did High School Kill Your Confidence?
There is a quote that I’ve always been inspired by:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. “
Every time I read this I’m reminded just how small most of us tend to play.
It’s like we hide in the background. We sit and wait for others to dictate our lives. We want “them” to give us permission to act, to make decisions, and to shine.
As part of the recent mentorship program I’ve taken on, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of high schools guys. It’s been almost two years since I published our How to be Popular in High School series, and honestly hadn’t been thinking too much about high school. But talking about some of the unique challenges these guys are struggling with got me thinking just how much of an effect a negative high school experience can have on your psyche.
Unless you’re one of the naturally popular guys… you more than likely spent your entire high school years trying to go unnoticed.
In high school it was safer to blend in then to stand out and risk ridicule and rejection.
And displaying bold confidence was usually frowned upon…
For the vast majority of high school students -seeming too sure of yourself, confident, or eager meant having to face backlash against certain crowds of kids who might feel threatened by your self esteem.
And these same kids would often try to crush that very same self-esteem.
So, many of us went through high school playing small.
By playing small, I mean hiding our natural talents. By playing small, I mean holding back and not going for what we want. By playing small, I mean lowering our standards, goals, and expectations so that we didn’t offend anyone or invite criticism.
In high school if you messed up bad with a girl, the whole school was likely to find out about it, and torture you mercilessly. If you dropped the fly ball that cost your team the game, the story will quickly spread through the halls. And if you seemed too proud of your band’s music, there was certain to be a group of kids that told you how much you sucked…
The big secret is that high school is over.
And if you’re still struggling through high school… it will be over before you know it…
And then the rules turn upside down.
No one is looking to go out of their way to crush your self esteem. No one is waiting to point out how bad you blew it with a girl. No one is going to give you a massive amount of shit for dropping a fly ball. And even if people think your band’s music sucks… they will usually be nice and tell you they enjoyed it.
All of those negative consequences that we lived with for four years of our life… suddenly disappear.
But for some reason, the fears and anxieties seem to hang around a lot longer.
If you want to enjoy optimum human experience (OHE) you’ll need to stand up and claim what you want.
Don’t look around and wait for approval.
How many times have you been standing in a bar staring at a girl wanting to talk to her, but instead talked “about her” to the friend you were with. You were unconsciously waiting for him to give you the approval to approach her.
Don’t wait for approval.
Go for it.
Don’t look back.
There aren’t any “popular” kids waiting to point and laugh at you. No one is going banish you from their circle. You’re not going to have to walk through the halls with your head down.
High school is over.
So start acting like it.
About Bobby Rio I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences. For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.