Years ago, I worked with a trainer who used to wear a badge saying 'Attitude'. He thought it was the key to everything. I thought it was superficial.

Now, I think he was right.

Choosing to be more confident is useful

Sure, it's true that our confidence and belief in ourselves are largely influenced by the way we were raised and even the genetic lottery. But that was yesterday. Today it's a choice.

If we believe that success in life is largely the result of luck or fate or other people, we severely limit what we can achieve. We can simply choose to be more confident and to back ourselves. It does sound superficial if we lack confidence and self-belief now because it's hard to change. But we have to decide what's useful.

The alternative to self-defeating beliefs

Defining ourselves as someone who doesn't have the confidence to speak up at a meeting, apply for a promotion or (insert your own hang-ups here) isn't useful. It stops us growing.

It gets worse. When we avoid something because we don't have the confidence, it reinforces a neural pathway in our brain. Let's call it the 'Avoid is best' pathway. After a while the pathway becomes a highway.

It works the other way too. We can build the neural highway marked 'I can do this!', but it's a risk. We have to act the part of someone who is already confident, even if we don't feel that way.

That's where courage comes in. That's a choice too.