Self Confidence

Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

This article is an extract from Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, which is currently available on sale for only $2.50 here.

Some Muslims shudder at the words ‘self-confidence’, because of a confusion that links self-confidence to arrogance. This is due to a misunderstanding regarding the concepts of humility and arrogance.

Islam teaches us to be humble and that arrogance is one of the greatest sins. In fact, arrogance is regarded as the trademark quality of the devil and the Pharaoh. When Allah told the angels to bow to Adam, they all did so. Only Iblees, who was a Jinn, refused to bow and said the famous words “I am better than him,”[1] to justify his disobedience. He became Shaytaan (Satan) and this marks the beginning of a long history of people turning evil due to arrogance.

Pharaoh was one of these people. When Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) brought him the message to worship God alone, he replied, “I am your Lord, the Most High,”[2] His claim of divinity is one of the worst acts of arrogance and defiance.

Another example of this is Abu Jahl, the leader of the disbelievers of Makkah. He knew that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was truthful and would never lie, and that his message was good and true, but he rejected it out of arrogance and preferred to die a disbeliever, rather than admit that he was wrong.

With these examples, it is clear why arrogance is something detestable to believers. Arrogant people are difficult to deal with, difficult to correct and tend to be nasty and tyrannical. However, self-confidence is the opposite of all this. People who are confident tend to be easy to deal with, open to correction and very well mannered. The two concepts may seem similar on a basic level, but in reality they are worlds apart.

It seems that this confusion was held even by some of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and he had to teach them the difference. The following narration is a beautiful discussion between the Prophet and his companions which summarizes the differences between Self-Confidence and Arrogance.

Abdullah ibn Masood reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” A man said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”[3]

In this narration, the consequences of arrogance are clearly mentioned. The companions then asked about dressing well. Dressing well is an important part of self-confidence that will be discussed later in this book. The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified that dressing well is actually something Allah loves, so having self-confidence is a good thing.

He then summarizes arrogance in two broad points that cover every aspect of arrogance: Rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

Rejecting the truth

Arrogant people believe that they are above correction and feel ashamed of being wrong. They refuse to accept any correction, no matter how strong the evidence that they are wrong is. This is a major cause of many people going astray. Many people recognize the truth but refuse to embrace it because that would mean admitting they were wrong all along, and they can’t handle accepting that.

A confident person, on the other hand, has embraced the fact that he is a human and is not perfect. He is comfortable with the fact that he makes mistakes and is always learning. As a result, he is always open to correction, and to constructive criticism, and he has no problem admitting when he makes a mistake. He is confident in his ability to learn from his mistakes and build upon his experiences.

Accepting the truth is crucial for success in both worlds. Every human alive today makes mistakes, has wrong ideas and wrong beliefs. This is a fact of life and we must accept that we too have such faults. The only way to overcome them is to be open and willing to learn from others, and to embrace the truth when we find it.

Looking down upon others

Some arrogant people are actually very insecure and have a constant need to compare themselves to others and put others down. They need to feel superior to others in order to feel good about themselves, so they look for reasons to judge others and put themselves on a pedestal.

This judgment takes many forms. It comes in the form of sectarianism, racism, sexism, tribalism, nationalism or judging people for their sins. Arrogance in this form is a disease and a major cause of disunity in the ummah today. Muslims no longer look at each other as brothers, but as the other. This has divided the ummah on so many levels that many Muslims are constantly in a state of internal bickering, and waste all their time in arguments and refutations, instead of using their time productively.

These judgments need to stop. They are wasting the ummah away and weakening us. How many generations have been lost in tribal, sectarian and racial wars? How many families have suffered from seeing one parent mistreat the other? How long will we continue to fight each other over the smallest of things?

Arrogance is destroying the ummah, but confidence can actually unite us. A confident individual feels no need to compare himself to others. He is focused on pleasing Allah and being the best he can be. He knows everybody else is traveling on a similar road but at different levels. He tries his best to be his best, and help everybody he meets to do the same.

The Key Difference

By now, you can see a trend. Arrogance by its nature is destructive and leads to problems and chaos. Confidence, on the other hand, is productive and leads to good for oneself and whoever you interact with. The two concepts are not linked. In fact, many psychologists link arrogance to low self-confidence. In reality, confidence is actually linked to humility, not arrogance.

Humility Explained

Just as arrogance is misunderstood, the same can be said about humility. When we think of a humble person, many people picture a poor man in shabby clothing who is weak and content with his current situation. Yet, this is not how the prophets, companions or great scholars lived and they were the greatest role models of humility.

The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) dressed well, worked hard, supported a large family, walked with confidence and led by example. He was the very example of a confident, yet humble, individual. His companions were the same.

The problem is that many of us look at humility as an external condition indicated by a person’s dressing and behaviour, while in reality humility is a state of being, a condition of the heart. Humility means to free your heart from prejudice and judgment, to look at all people as equal with equal potential of a good or bad ending, and to be willing to accept correction. In short, it is the opposite of arrogance.

Humility has nothing to do with how you dress, walk, talk or work. These may give away whether a person is arrogant or humble, but the heart is what matters. People can spot when someone else is faking humility. Their true self gives itself away under the fake smile and pretense of piety. If you wish to become humble, you shouldn’t focus on what you do, but more on what you think and feel about others. Changing that is essential, and it is directly linked to confidence.

The Best of Creation

When Allah told the angels to bow to Adam, it was a symbol that humans are the best of Allah’s creation. Allah informs us in the Qur’an that those humans who choose to live lives of obedience to him are “The best of creation”[4] while those who choose to disobey Him are “The worst of creation”.[5]

If you are striving to be the best of creation, be confident that Allah has given you the ability to do so. We must also understand that we are Allah’s creation and we are not allowed to mistreat the Creation of Allah, and that includes our own selves.

Just like we are not allowed to harm ourselves physically, we are also not allowed to harm ourselves emotionally. Negative thoughts are a trick from Shaytaan to stop us from excelling and being the best we can be.

Shaytaan knows that people with low confidence can’t accomplish much, so he whispers evil thoughts into our minds and tells us that we are weak and sinful and that we will never be good enough for Allah. In this way, we believe our own minds and give up on our noble pursuits. If we can recognize these evil whisperings of the devil and learn to ignore them and block them out, our confidence in our ability to be better will increase.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us many things that help us to remain confident and all of it is proof that confidence is part of Islam. He taught us to walk properly, sit up straight, groom ourselves, wear our best clothing, treat people with respect, be dignified in our manners and speech, keep positive names for our kids, avoid negative speech about anybody including ourselves and to think positive thoughts about our Creator, as well as His Creation.

All of these points that be found in Hadiths too numerous to list here. These teachings are clear evidence that believers are supposed to be confident, just like the companions were confident. Our confidence is directly linked to our trust in Allah as will be explained later in more detail.

On one occasion, when the Muslim army was greatly outnumbered, the great military leader Khalid Ibn Waleed rode right through the enemy ranks and back to boost the confidence of his army. Khalid Ibn Waleed was an excellent example of the confidence of early Muslims. On another occasion, he needed to take his army from Iraq to Syria via the shortest route possible.

The guides explained to him that the shortest route was very dangerous and smaller groups died along that route, so an entire army would not be able to survive. Yet Khalid was confident in his army’s ability to survive the route, he made some plans to deal with possible setbacks and led his entire army to Syria in record time without any casualties. This is an amazing example of the confidence of the early Muslims, and the kind of confidence their leaders instilled in their followers.

Confidence and Arrogance should not be confused. One is a positive trait necessary for success, the other is a negative trait that will destroy you and anything you attempt. This book will focus on confidence as understood from an Islamic perspective, free from ego and arrogance and rooted in Tawheed because for Muslims everything goes back to Allah, The Creator, and Master of the universe.

This article is an extract from Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, which is currently available on sale for only $2.50 here. To learn more about self-confidence in Islam, purchase the full ebook here.

Best of Creation Ismail Kamdar
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[1] Surah Al-A’raf 7:12

[2] Surah An-Nazi’at 79:24

[3] Saheeh Muslim 1:91

[4] Surah Al-Bayyina 98:7

[5] Surah Al-Bayyina 98:6

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Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Sometimes it can be really frustrating to read self-development material. You may read an article/book/course on self-confidence, digest it completely, feel a momentary boost, then…nothing. It just doesn’t work. You are still stuck as the same self-hating loner as you were before you read the book.

So what went wrong? And does everybody have the same experience? I’ll answer the second question first. No, not everybody has the same experience. Take me, for example. When I was a little kid, I was a shy quiet boy with no self-confidence. This remained the case right into my mid-twenties. Then I read a series of self-confidence books and everything changed.

Today, I am a confident public speaker, teacher, author, freelancer, and entrepreneur. I have even written a book on self-confidence that has helped 1000s of readers do the same. But I’ll get to the book later. Let’s discuss the bigger issue; why don’t these books work for everybody? Well, I have several theories. Let’s see if any of them apply to you.

1. You skimmed through the book

Action-based books like self-confidence guides are meant to be studied in-depth, analyzed, understood and implemented. if you just skim through the summaries of each chapter, you will not get the full and proper benefit from the book. The book must be read and studied seriously in order to thoroughly boost your self-confidence.

2. You thought reading it is enough

Even if you read a book thoroughly, it isn’t enough to boost your self-confidence. Books like these are meant to be acted upon. It isn’t enough to read the book, you must try everything the book suggests, and implement as much as possible. This is where the real work lies. In order to boost your confidence, you must take action. There is no other way.

3. You missed some crucial sections

It may be that you read the book and tried your best to implement it, but for some reason, you may have skipped a paragraph or two that was necessary for understanding its content. Try going back and reading the book again to find if you missed anything necessary to improve your confidence.

4. You just need an excuse to not take action

Its easier to blame a book for not being beneficial, than to hold oneself accountable for not taking action. The actions required to build one’s confidence can often be scary and difficult. This is why many people find it easier to simply say that the book/course wasn’t beneficial than to put in the effort to upgrade to the next level of life.

5. You haven’t read the right book yet

Some books are all fluff and theory and don’t give enough action points to actually make a difference in your life. This is why I wrote Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence. This book was designed to give you practical advice that is simple to implement and genuinely works. Over the years, thousands of readers have benefited from Best Of Creation, and now it is your turn.

Today, I am offering you an eBook copy of Best Of Creation with two huge bonuses; an accompanying workbook full of practical activities to boost your confidence, and 10 video lessons based on the eBook. The total package is worth more than $100, but I am offering it today for only $10. You can learn more about this offer here.

Best Of Creation eBook
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6 Crucial Self Confidence Tips

6 Crucial Self Confidence Tips

Here are six crucial self confidence tips. These tips are extracted from my eBook: Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide To Self-Confidence. To read the full eBook, grab a copy here.

Thinking Straight

The human mind is such that if we are not monitoring our thoughts, we tend to think negatively. Perhaps it is Shaytaan trying to cause us to despair, but the idle mind is a dangerous thing and is often susceptible to negative thought patterns.

The key to overcoming this is to monitor your thoughts and be in charge. Keep a diary for a day of the kind of thoughts that pass through your mind. Mark them down as positive or negative, compare the amount of positive and negative thoughts and identify causes.

Once you are away of your thought patterns and the triggers, the next step is to replace a negative thought with a positive one. If your mind is telling you that Allah will never forgive you, remind yourself that Allah forgives all those who sincerely seek forgiveness. If you are thinking that you will never be successful in life, remind yourself that Allah is in control of destiny and He can help you succeed in miraculous ways.

Make a list of positive thoughts and remind yourself of them daily. For common negative thoughts, write down a positive response and remind yourself of it whenever the negative thought comes to mind. It also helps to look in a mirror and talk confidence into yourself.

It is Allah’s mercy that He does not hold us accountable for the thoughts that stray into our mind, but we are accountable for the thoughts we choose to entertain and act upon. Be an active thinker and don’t leave room for the whisperings of the devil.

Avoid the Blame Game

When developing the habit of positive thinking, it is important to weed out and remove negative thought patterns. A common negative thought pattern that causes low self-confidence is the blame game.

Many of us do not want to accept responsibility for our actions, so we look for something or someone to blame for our failures. This is also known as the victim mentality, were one feels one’s entire life is just being a victim of circumstance. It is a very fatalistic attitude and this unislamic.

Here are some common examples of the blame game in action:

“Society will never accept me if I do, so why bother trying,”

“The world we live in works with a certain system, I can’t try something outside that system,”

“My parents expect me to do this kind of job for the rest of my life, I can’t disappoint them by doing what I want,”

“The world is a bad place and there is nothing we can do about it,”

“I was raised like that, I can’t change who I am or what habits I developed”

“This is the local culture, and there is nothing we can do to change it,”

As you can see from these examples, the blame game creates an attitude of defeatism. Having something or someone to blame for one’s failure to act is easy, and eases some of the guilt one feels for not doing what you needed to do.

As Muslims, we cannot blame others for our shortcomings. Allah has created each of us with the ability to do well, and to be our best. Nobody is to blame for our failure to act except our own selves. We must accept responsibility for our lives and decisions, only then will we feel empowered enough to move forward.

Be Yourself as long as being yourself is Halal

This is my personal motto. I spent my teenage years in a Darul Uloom whose culture was such that everybody was bullied into dressing alike, speaking alike and pretending that we are all the same, stripped of any individuality. This environment made me grow rebellious and I would upset the status quo with small attempts at being different.

As I studied Islam more deeply, I was amazed at how Islam has room for so many different personality types. The companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were diverse in their personalities. They included scholars, warriors, leaders, businessmen, farmers, strict people, funny people, thinkers and followers.

This led to me formulating my motto: Be yourself as long as being yourself is halal. Allah does not ask us to be robots: looking alike, dressing alike and behaving like we don’t have any unique attributes. At the same time, we all have evil within us that needs to be suppressed, and that part of us should be controlled.

Be yourself. Do not worry about what people say, just be yourself whether that means being strict or humorous. Don’t pretend to be strict because others are, and don’t pretend to be funny because other people want you to.

Let your natural personality flow and you will feel confident and happy. If you need to change anything, change it for the sake of Allah to grow closer to Him. Base your life changes on pleasing Allah, not on pleasing people.

Be your genuine and best self and not only will you grow in confidence but people will appreciate your honesty and courage and will eventually follow in your footsteps.

Write Your Thoughts

Thoughts are very powerful, but often confusing. The human mind is not completely logical. Most of our thoughts and decisions are based more on emotion than logic, and it often isn’t clear whether we are thinking straight.

This can be very dangerous when it comes to negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often exaggerated, emotional and unrealistic. But because we don’t really analyse them, we tend to believe our own minds too easily. One of the ways to counter this is to write down your thoughts.

This is the reason why many people keep diaries. Writing down your thoughts can be very powerful. It gives you an outlet to get all those thoughts and emotions out of your mind without hurting anyone else. It also gives you a chance to look at your thoughts from an outside perspective and analyse them in an unbiased manner.

The next time you have negative thoughts, try writing them down. Write whatever comes to mind, and read it later when you are in a better mood. You will then be able to discover what went wrong in your thought process and how untrue most negative thoughts really are.

Be in charge of your emotions

Humans are emotional creatures, and our emotions affect our confidence and productivity a lot. This is why it is important to constantly stay in control and feed yourself positive emotions.

Sometimes we allow others to control our emotions. We allow people to make us angry, to upset us, to depress us, to irritate us and as a result we head down an emotional roller coaster because of what someone else said.

Reality is that nobody can make you do anything, because you control your emotions. People can do what they want, but you choose how you react. You don’t have to become angry when someone insults you, you can choose to feel sorry for him instead. He must be having a hard day and took it out on you. You don’t have to be depressed if someone is not happy with how you live your life. You answer to Allah, not that person, so why worry?

Emotions affect our confidence is a major way. From today onward, tell yourself that you will not allow other people to dictate how you think, feel or behave. You live to serve Allah and if He is happy with your lifestyle, it doesn’t matter what people say. Don’t let them affect you, focus on what is important and don’t give people the keys to your emotions.

Be comfortable with who you are

Stop worrying about the shape of your nose, the way you walk, the tone of your skin or the sound of your voice. Allah made you exactly as He wanted you to be. Embrace that and be happy with it. Life is after all about pleasing Him and He doesn’t look at all that, He looks at our hearts and actions.

Become comfortable with your human flaws. Yes, you may have a stutter or a weak immune system. It’s all fine in the long run, stop worrying about that and focus on all the good Allah has blessed you with.

The day you stop worrying about all this and embrace your natural self is the day you stop killing your own confidence with negative self-talk. Replace it positive talk. You are as Allah wanted you to be, you can improve your thoughts, deeds and character so you will focus on that and not on the things that don’t matter.

To continue reading, purchase the full eBook here.

Crucial Self Confidence Tips

Learn more crucial self confidence tips by reading the full eBook.

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Dealing with Setbacks: A Different Perspective

Dealing With SetbacksDealing with Setbacks: A Different Perspective

There are many ways of dealing with setbacks. But as Muslims, we have a unique approach that gives us strength and optimism, even when facing the biggest challenges.

And We will surely test you with something of fear, hunger and a loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient, those who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the rightly guided. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:2:155-157)

It is not possible to live in this world and fulfill our goals without dealing with setbacks and obstacles along the way. This life is not perfect. And it is not possible to have everything we desire in it. Certain setbacks are unavoidable. We have no control over life and death, natural disasters, wars, crime or even the daily weather. This is something we have to learn to live with and accept as a part of life.

When you understand that the world is not perfect and that setbacks are inevitable, the next logical step is to prepare for any potential obstacles you will face in life. If you have a high goal, there is no doubt that you will face many obstacles on the way to achieving that goal. When we chase a worthy goal, we are first tested regarding how badly we want it before the opportunity to get it opens up.

A Different Perspective

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One way of dealing with setbacks is to restructure how you look at them. You can look at them as obstacles or as challenges. Challenges are meant to be tackled and overcome. They force us to grow, help us tap into our true potential and develop our strengths. Without challenges, we will never grow or gain the skills needed to accomplish our goals. As the English proverb goes, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”.

Every difficulty that we face contains an opportunity, a chance to learn something new, to grow, to reach the next level of life. Stop looking at the obstacles and start looking through them at what you want to accomplish, and how overcoming this obstacle can help you accomplish it better.

Lessons From History

When Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was thrown in a well by his brothers, it set off a chain of events including slavery, temptation and imprisonment that eventually ended in him becoming the ruler of Egypt. He needed to go through all those obstacles and challenges. Through which he learned many important things, before he became the ruler, a position in which he needed all those skills.

When Abu Salamah was martyred, his wife Umm Salamah was left devastated. She was now a widowed young mother with many kids, and had lost the most beloved man in her life. She began to pray to Allah to grant her someone better, while thinking to herself who could be better than Abu Salamah. Eventually, she received a proposal from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself, and her prayers were answered. Her challenges, and the patience it built, helped prepare her for her new role as a Mother of the Believers.

Allah promised us in the Qur’an, “With hardship, there is Ease, definitely with hardship there is ease,” (Surah Ash-Sharh 94:5-6)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained, “One hardship cannot overcome two eases,” (Fath Al-Qadeer, p. 1918) meaning that for every challenge we face in life, there is double the amount of good in that situation.

Every difficult situation we face is surrounded by many blessings, followed by many blessings and contains many lessons and blessings. It’s a gift from Allah wrapped up in a layer of hardship. Beneath that hardship is beauty. So much of it that you will thank Allah later for sending those challenges your way.

This is, without a doubt, a guarantee from Allah. When he puts you in a situation of difficulty to test you, you will experience ease as well.

Ease During Difficulty

For example, When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was facing great trials in Makkah, Allah had granted him the companionship of his beloved wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib. They were there to make the test easy for him. And they supported him financially and emotionally, and Abu Talib’s influence kept his enemies from physically harming him. So they were an ease during a difficult time.

When migrating to Madinah and hiding in a cave. Allah assisted the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by veiling him from the eyes of his enemies and keeping Abu Bakr in his company. Providing him with this ease during his difficult journey.

You might find this happening in your own life, perhaps you are going through a period of unemployment. Allah helps you in many ways during this time. Perhaps by someone helping you out financially, or reducing your financial responsibilities, or by sending some good people into your life to offer you a new job or opportunity. Allah’s help comes in amazing ways that we do not understand.

Allah makes a way out

“Whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out, and provide for him from where he never imagined. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, He is Sufficient for him,” (Surah At-Talaaq 65:2-3)

Whichever way you look at it, hardships and setbacks are challenges which contain blessings and are necessary for our growth. After overcoming a challenge, you will feel stronger, more confident and closer to Allah. In that way, challenges are necessary for building our self-confidence. When dealing with setbacks in this way, they become a blessing instead.

This is an extract from the eBook Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, available exclusively at Islamic Self Help.

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Outside the Comfort Zone: Official Webinar Recording

Outside The Comfort Zone – Online Webinar

This is the official recording of yesterday’s webinar on overcoming fears and stepping outside the comfort zone the Islamic Way, which was attended by +1000 people, and is based on my book, Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence.

Those who cannot access YouTube can watch the recording on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/143492106

Outside the Comfort Zone is based on our ebook Best Of Creation:

Through this e-book, you will:

  1. Gain practical steps and tips for boosting your confidence
  2. Gain the necessary confidence to pursue your life goals
  3. Understand the role of Tawheed, Tawakul, and Sabr in boosting confidence
  4. Learn the difference between confidence and arrogance
  5. Overcome myths and misconceptions about confidence
  6. Understand the causes of low self-confidence
  7. Over 190 pages of confidence building content

What our readers are saying:

“Ismail Kamdar’s new book provides exactly the right balance between Islam and the psychological aspects behind confidence, Masha’Allah. The author of this book does a brilliant job in offering action points that are easy to implement, regardless of your knowledge of Islam and level of practicing.” (Aisha – IOU Blog)

““Best of Creation” by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar is such a refreshing read. It goes to the core of things by firstly establishing the importance of realising our reason for existence.” (Zarina – Muslim Women Exposed)

Don’t delay! Begin your journey towards Islamic confidence right now!

Outside the comfort zone

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