Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

“No one will believe in you unless you do.” – Dr. Ivan Joseph

Dr. Ivan Joseph is a sports psychologist and Director of Athletics at Ryerson University in Canada. But earlier in his career when coaching Graceland University’s soccer team, the critical asset he sought in incoming players was confidence.

Joseph defines confidence as “the ability or the belief in yourself to accomplish any task no matter the odds, no matter the difficulty, no matter the adversity.” He believes it was the most important skill as a player because“ without that skill, we are useless as a soccer player because when you lose sight of belief in yourself we’re done for.”

While some people believe that individuals are simply born with or without bold and assured personalities, Joseph insists that confidence can be trained. Here are five ways anyone can build a winning mentality, according to Joseph.

Repetition, repetition, repetition

Patiently and consistently practicing what you want to excel in is key. “The problem is we expect to be self-confident, but we can’t be unless the skill or the task we’re doing is not novel–is not new to us,” Joseph says that we want to be in the situation where we’ve practiced our tasks a thousand times and have mastered them.


Self-affirmation starts by stopping yourself when you notice you’re having a negative inner dialogue. Next, convert those negative thoughts and words to positive ones that acknowledge the full credit you deserve.

Joseph likes to repeat the mantra, “I am the captain of my ship and the master of my fate.” He does this to reinforce confidence, because if he doesn’t say it or believe it, “no one else will.”

Get away from the people who tear you down

If someone brings you down, it can trigger negative thoughts. “There’s enough people that are telling us that we can’t do it; that we’re not good enough,” Joseph says. “Why do we want to tell ourselves that?”

Avoid negative energy as much as you can, and instead, find supportive friendships to help bring more positive energy into your life.

Acknowledge what’s good

When people are only shown what they did wrong they tend to underperform. Similarly, they tend to thrive when they’re reminded of what they’ve done right.

Knowing that we all make mistakes and can potentially dwell on those errors, Joseph asserts the importance of finding ways to appreciate ourselves–especially during the most difficult times.
Joseph once wrote a letter of self-confidence to himself when he was in high spirits. The letter listed several positive aspects of his life and character, including the wise choices he’d made and his accomplishments. When he’s going through tough times, making mistakes or receiving criticism, Joseph makes sure to pull the note out and read those words.

Self-confident people interpret feedback to their benefit

Joseph notes that self-confident people tend to put a positive slant on the feedback they receive. If they hear there’s a 98% chance they will fail at something, the self-assured will interpret the 2% as a good chance of success. This encourages them in their efforts because success is possible regardless of the chances. This kind of thinking is something Joseph hopes everyone will make a habit of.

Dr. Ivan Joseph is credited with making great advancements wherever he’s employed and with inspiring pride and spirit in others.

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