For most of my life I have fought low self-esteem, and I always seemed to have a string of thoughts running through my head like the ticker at the bottom of a news channel telling me self-critical lies. You’ve seen those people that you can tell how confident they are. You can feel it. I was never that way.
Golf is a sport that requires self-confidence. It is absolutely essential that you believe in yourself and confidently make decisions and trust that your decision is the right one. Golf is played alone and unless you’re on tour or spending hundreds of dollars at a top-notch golf course with a caddy you can’t ask anybody for help, so all decisions are made in between your ears in silence. So until self-belief is developed golf will be a constant struggle.
So how does one develop self-belief? Can it just be mustered up and all of the sudden you never doubt yourself again? Is it something that some people are born with and others aren’t? I think that people have varying degrees of self-belief already in them, but it can always be improved and developed. And I believe that there’s only two words that describe how it can be nurtured: hard work.
No matter what your goals are, no matter how much energy you have, no matter how much you believe you can accomplish, if you don’t actually put your head down and put in the time and effort you’ll never get anywhere. This short video describes it perfectly. “Life is like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. Walk and you stay put. Stand still and you go backwards. To get ahead you have to hustle.”
So developing self-belief isn’t exempt from hard work just because it’s mental. When you work hard, you see yourself putting in effort. And there’s something about seeing yourself put in effort that breeds self-confidence. Not only are you getting the confidence of knowing you chose effort over laziness, you’re going to see your results (which happens as a natural byproduct of hard work) and what gives you more confidence than seeing good results over and over. Which one gives you more confidence in your putting: seeing every putt miss and that hole getting smaller and smaller? Or watching every putt drop and the hole looks like a hula hoop? Seeing results breeds confidence.
So a not-so-quick, extremely difficult answer to “how to develop self-belief” is hard work. If you put in the time and effort, and make it quality time and effort, you’ll see yourself and your results and confidence will arise on its own.