Confidence - the result of creating patterns of success over time.
Confidence is the state of mind necessary for effective action, courage, and execution. The degree of confidence someone has is directly proportional to the sum of successes one has had. The more successes the more confidence. Recency also plays a role; if we've had great success recently our immediate confidence skews high. If we've had recent failures our confidence skews low. Though we tend to let personal experiences and random circumstances decide our confidence, we must realize that confidence is a variable under our direct control.
I've seen first hand what the damage in personal confidence can do to individuals. I've witnessed top sales performers flipped into vulnerable incompetents because of the inability to properly refine their confidence. In relationships loss of confidence tends to lead us backwards and we may seek to rekindle half-hearted romances that were never really what we wanted. Confidence is a very real and very powerful quality that must be managed and developed as much as other crucial faculties for personal, business, and social efficacy.
There is a huge tool at our disposal that we rarely make use of. That tool is our minds. More accurately, our ability to experience a scenario in our minds. Countless studies, and anecdotal reports from high performers, has confirmed that actively experiencing a success in our minds is almost equivalent to actually having the experience. Neurological studies have confirmed that through active imagination the same areas of the brain become active that become active during a real experience.
The thing to realize is that we all have different ways of visualizing. Some of us "feel" experiences. Others "hear" or "see" experience. Usually it's a mixture of all three. To properly calibrate your most effective form of visualizing you can simply recall, as vividly as possible, a time when you experienced supreme confidence. Analyze the way your recall this experience, and re-experience it in detail. Use that template to craft new experiences of success in your mind.
Napoleon Bonaparte for example, visualized his goals in intense details. In the beginning of the campaign he could see its last battle clearly in his mind. He would point out the exact spot it would end, his predictions proved uncannily correct on an ongoing basis.
Create the patterns of success in your mind, repeat it, and perfect it in your mind as well as in reality.