Do What Makes You Feel Powerful
When I’m up on stage playing guitar and singing for a bar full of drunken strangers, I’m on top of the g-damn world. This stands in sharp contrast to the way I used to feel when I’d get up to bat in Little League: I was terrified, because I honestly wasn’t that good.
Unlike my 12-year-old self, who had to play sports because mom and dad told me to, today I can do the things that I not only enjoy, but that I excel at. Today I can do things that make me feel powerful.
Not to brag or anything, but I’m a pretty decent guitarist and singer. I’ve been told this by numerous people, so I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be true (that or there are a ton of tone-deaf people in my circle of friends and fans.)
What do I do with this knowledge? Do I say “meh” and pursue things that I’m terrible at? Do I go out and try to pass myself as a gourmet chef, dancer or basketball star? No, because I can’t cook, can’t dance and have a hell of a time shooting as much as a layup.
It’s not that pursuing stuff you’re not particularly good at is futile. Quite the contrary. When I first picked up a guitar, I sucked worse than every late 90s rap-rock band combined. Luckily, I stuck with it, practiced a whole lot and got good.
I pursue stuff that I’m good at because it makes me feel good. I can safely say I’m good at playing music, running and writing. I feel powerful when I’m playing a show and the crowd’s going nuts. I feel powerful when I’m on a long run and still have plenty of energy left. I even feel powerful when I get paid to write advertising copy for popcorn (no matter how lame that sounds.)
Consider what you excel at (i.e. what makes you feel powerful) and pursue these things with tenacity. Do you have sick Frisbee skills? Join an Ultimate Frisbee team. Amazing at building ships in little bottles? Keep at those weird hobbies. Pursue things that make you feel strong and powerful and your confidence will always be cranked up to 11.
And don’t take your skills for granted either. Just as not everyone can sing and play guitar, not everyone can do the things you do. Give yourself some credit. Don’t dismiss your skills as being meaningless. These are the things that make you who you are and make you a confident being.
The more you take part in power-boosting activities, the more powerful you’ll be overall. When you’re aware of your good traits and keep your less-than attractive qualities in the background, you’re bound to feel good. Embrace your unique skills and walk tall. No matter what you excel at, it is an important element of your overall confidence.
This week I’m going to run 20 or so miles, write a bunch of copy and play a show. This week I’m going to feel like a million bucks. Just keep me away from a batter’s box.
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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.