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Sunday Self-Scaler 32
The 3 things that helped me go from painfully shy to confident, the 2 books I'm reading, and a super-exciting thing I recently did
I’ve gone from soiling my pants at the prospect of spelling out my name to being able to easily converse with any stranger.
As a skinny nerdy guy who stuttered and sucked at sports in middle school, I was naturally the favorite prey of bullies. I used to avoid conversations, kept a low profile, and resided in the library.
Every time I look back, I am surprised at just how much I’ve changed and it didn’t require any drastic “Get out of your comfort zone” stuff either — all it took was three simple things and some time.
And if someone as painfully shy as my past self could do it, then anyone can do it.
Surround Yourself with The Right People
My middle-school batchmates were a horrid lot — hanging out with thugs, devouring cigarettes, and making each other miserable in the name of humor was their daily routine.
The only time I had lashed back at their ring leader (a.k.a my main bully), I had walked back with a torn collar, bruises, and a broken bottle.
My prominent stutter was also thanks to my bullies. By jeering at the slightest stammering, they increased my nervousness which worsened the stutter and in turn the jeering — a vicious negative feedback loop.
I still remember the first day of high school. I had walked in with soft steps and flowing perspiration only to exit laughing inexorably and playfully slapping backs — like I hadn’t in years.
And within the next month, I had completely lost my stutter. In fact, until a friend pointed it out, I hadn’t even noticed.
It’s mindblowing just how much the people surrounding you can affect your confidence and self-esteem — while the right ones elevate them, the wrong ones obliterate them.
So, do a quality check on the people in your life. You just have to ask yourself one simple question — “How do they make me feel?”
If the answer is anything along the lines of disappointed, miserable, ashamed, or inadequate, cut them out. We’re biased in a way that even the slightest negativity affects us debilitatingly. So don’t entertain any toxicity.
If it’s a “friend”, give them the polite cold shoulder. With a romantic partner, messy or not, break off. If it’s a family member, try to talk it out but break ties if they persist.
Blood ties don’t matter—a positive friend over a toxic relative any day.
It won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it. Energy, be it positive or negative is infectious so choose the one you surround yourself with.
Scale the Peaks of The Self
With my stuttering gone and a new group of friends, I had become cheerful and less shy but the scars left by all those years of bullying were deep.
One day, a friend of mine, wanting to lose weight, decided to join a gym. Knowing about my body insecurities, he dragged me along. My workout routine for the first few weeks was —just some stretching, jogging, and cycling.
Tired of the uncomfortably early and chilly 6 AM sessions, I shifted to the evening batch. As I look around, I spot a classmate of mine, and my jaw drops a kilometer.
In school, perennially swathed in a sweater, he had looked like the average tall and naturally well-built guy but I had no idea he was this jacked — with rippling muscles pouring out of a skin-tight tank top, he was repping out the 50 lb dumbbells with ease.
Spotting me, he beckoned me over and the moment he said, “Bro I was skinnier than you when I started.”, I became his disciple.
Working out with a passion I never knew I possessed, I fell in love with lifting, and a year later, I was unrecognizable — 30 lbs heavier and leagues more confident.
More than the physical change, the fact that I had proved
of achieving such a change boosted my confidence.
It’s been 5 years since I first stepped foot in a gym and what started with working out has become working on myself — personal growth in all aspects.
Be it the good qualities I developed, the bad ones I got rid of, the skills I mastered, or the habits I inculcated — every single one of them has pushed my self-confidence higher.
Confidence is nothing but a direct representation of your value and by working on yourself, you increase your value.
Exercise regularly. Eat clean. Sleep 8 hours every night. Pick new hobbies. Zealously work on them. Meditate every day. Read books. Practice good personal hygiene. Improve your dressing sense. Optimize your grooming. Speak up a bit more.
Whatever you do, just keep improving yourself. And slowly but surely, your confidence will soar to the skies.
Arrive at Acceptance with Your Flaws
Even after all that, I still felt inadequate and had an ample number of insecurities. My biceps weren’t big enough, my writing wasn’t good enough, my voice wasn’t deep enough, my hair wasn’t lush enough, my English wasn’t fluent enough, my jokes weren’t funny enough.
I’ve only recently realized that they will never be.
Years of being bogged down by bullying had instilled a deep drive to overcompensate within me. I was trying to be perfect which was impossible.
No matter how much you work on yourself or how positive of an environment you surround yourself with, you cannot be truly confident if you don’t accept your flaws.
By flaws, I mean the ones that can’t be changed — your height, complexion, birthmarks, voice, and the like. You should work on and improve the ones that can — such as a short temper, beer belly, or insomniac eye bags.
With acceptance, comes pride as well. Ever notice how highly confident people freely acknowledge and even joke about their flaws?
That’s the pinnacle of confidence — not just accepting but also flaunting your flaws. So, make peace with your flaws and be proud of them — they’re what make you human.
You aren’t, I am not, and neither is any other living soul perfect.
“Once you have accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
The 2 Books I’m Currently Reading
Since I’ve shifted over to reading non-fiction, I’ve found shuffling between different books to be the best way to alleviate boredom.
Right now, I’m oscillating between two books:
I cannot stress how life-changing this book is → It’s not even the total content of the book but rather the central idea.
Talking about the content, it encompasses almost all of the best parts of self-improvement, positive self-talk, visualization, etc.
As to the central idea, I don’t want to give you a spoiler but the ideal will change your life. Period.
I usually hate most “confidence” and “charisma” books. Because I’m a firm believer that they come from within and come from self-improvement and actual hard work.
But this book is surprisingly refreshing.
Rather than mannerisms, “words to say”, and other surface hogwash, Olivia dives into the core essence.
This core essence has 3 elements and the book talks about how to maximize all three.
A Super-Exciting Thing I Recently Did
Last Saturday, I did something ultra-exciting. I FINALLY got my second tattoo -> After months of designing and waiting.
It took a long-ass commute and around 6 painful hours. But dang, isn't it a beauty? Worth every freaking ounce of pain?
No, it isn't all aesthetics. In fact, it has a ton of meaning. Here are the 5 biggest elements:
In all of my fucked up childhood and bullied middle schooling, my name which if translated literally is "Water Friend" reminds me of the positives -> my first girlfriend, the few friends, skating classes, family friends, etc.
As a fantasy lover, I identified with Percy Jackson as a kid. He was a demi-god fathered by Poseidon.
Growing up with a single mum, my grandfather was my father figure and the old Poseidon face is a reference to him -> Since he quite literally was my God.
Look at the Trident handle closely and you'll see Roman literals -> 08 05 21 which is the date my grandfather passed away.
Finally, the entire Greek God theme ties into what I want to do with Ma(n)ximize and my own life -> Strive towards becoming a Greek God and show other men that they can do the same.
Before you go, a word of caution → If this inspires you to get a tattoo, think long and hard. Decide on a meaningful yet aesthetic design.
Then find a talented artist and get it done. A tattoo is a lifelong investment → Be smart about it.
Coming to the final thing, due to time constraints, I won’t be able to send this scaler every week.
From now on, the Sunday Self-Scaler will be a biweekly issue. The good news is, since it’s biweekly, you’ll find more value packed into each issue!