How to Develop Confidence


I am a dancer, and always set a standard of perfection and the highest for myself. As a result, I am always stressed. I reject programmes and shun public performance many times as I think I am not well prepared. I am always scared of performing less than perfect, and as a result, half of my life is already wasted in waiting for a time when I will be perfect. Most of my energy is drained in fear and nervousness. I will be happy if you suggest a way to come out of it.

—Geetika, India


Dear Geetika,

It’s important to be able to release the tensions that come from expectations. Try to feel that the Divine is the one moving through you rather than you have to do it all.

True confidence comes from being in tune with God and feeling that flow within us.

Here are some suggestions from Paramhansa Yogananda, from the book, How to Have Courage, Calmness and Confidence:

  1. Deep breathing: Breathe deeply a few times, concentrating at the point between the eyebrows, just before the performance. This will remove timidity and insure self-confidence.
  2. Mentally rehearse very clearly how masterfully, joyously, and eagerly you are going to perform.
  3. Remove nervousness by tensing and relaxing.
  4. Take a bath two hours before, or immediately before, the performance. If time is limited, simply wash all the openings of the body with cold water.
  5. Humbleness is magnetic and will draw kind attention and sympathy from your audience, while pride will cause sneers and apathy. An inferiority complex will cause pity, disbelief, and lack of enthusiasm in your audience. An inferiority complex will cause you to underestimate your real ability and will destroy whatever faculty you may possess. Cool confidence in your ability and the positive outcome of your performance, due to God working with you, must always keep you happy and contented just before your debut. Make up your mind to do your very utmost to make people appreciate your performance.

Yogananda also recommended going on “worry fasts” to free us from anxiety and tension that results from worrying. Simply take a few times during the day to be free from any worries that assail you. Be disciplined in this effort and then gradually extend the times until you can go the whole day without getting caught by worries. Also, go on “joy feasts” by associating with those who have a contagious joy in their lives.

I hope this will be helpful to you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Pranaba