Many years ago when I was a very young man I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu for a time. The training was quite brutal and effective. The gym was located in the city center at the bad end of town. Late one night I emerged from some hard training and walked down the dimly lit street alone. I had just bested two tough fighters at the gym. Three aboriginal men of my own age were approaching me on the deserted street. Their body language was aggressive and I prepared myself for the worst. But then their posture changed, and the three of them smiled and nodded their heads at me. One even lowered his head in a gesture of submission. I nodded and walked past them. I felt no fear when they were behind me – the situation had changed.
If the same event had played out on any other night of that same week then the outcome may have been radically different. But that night I was charged with positive masculine energy and the three of them felt it and backed down. Your body language is a reflection of how you feel, and how you feel is important.
Many men who are insecure struggle with the concept of developing self-confidence. That single night gave me a glimpse into the power of having confidence, but it was not until I became a whitewater rafting guide that I truly conquered my inner feelings of insecurity. But for those of you who do not have such obvious opportunities to develop self-confidence it is necessary to find other methods.
A very good method is how you walk down the street. In particular, how you interact with other pedestrians, especially on a busy sidewalk. There are four types of people who walk down a street – those who get out of other people’s way, those for whom the waters part, deadwalkers using cell phones, and lost tourists. You want to be one of the pedestrians who always finds an unobstructed path, and you do this by body language. In other words, self-confidence.
Now I’m not talking about just walking down the street and knocking people over. In fact, if you bump into someone then you will have failed. The objective is for them to get out of your way before there is a collision. The person who steps to the side is the person who recognizes that their pedestrian opponent is far less likely to step aside than they are. So let’s look at the best way to go about this.
Firstly, make sure you are walking on the correct side of the sidewalk. In the USA this would be on the right, while in Australia it is on the left. In other words, you walk on the same side that you drive cars. This gives you an intrinsic basis of righteousness. If someone does bump into you it will mean that they have failed to follow the rule. In that case you can simply spread your arms wide while giving them the condescending look of, “don’t you know which side of the street to walk on?”
Now for the confidence part. Visualize the other pedestrians getting out of your way. You can do this even before you go out on the street. Practice in your mind the route you will take and how you will feel. To gather the feeling of self-confidence, think of something you do that you are really good at doing. How do you feel when you are around other people who do the same activity but are not as good as you? Capture that feeling. If you are not good at anything at all then you better start getting good at something.
Remember, life is a stage and all the men and women merely players. I have known many theater actors who were hideously lacking in self-confidence but when they walked out on stage they were able to fake it. You are also attempting to fake it but on the stage of real life. Have you ever come out of seeing a tough guy movie and walked down the street with more purpose to your step? That is the feeling we are trying to harness. Square your shoulders, feel strong inside, know that you have every right to your side of the street and walk with speed and deliberate purpose.
There is another little trick you can use. I talked about in on my piece on deadwalkers.
For I have stumbled across the secret to defeating the deadwalkers. Now I make them scurry out of my way. They amble towards me on the footpath, their head down as their thumb busily slides across their phone’s surface. They are confident that I will get out of their way. Their selfishness is superior to my comfortable use of the sidewalk. But with my new-found ‘deadwalker-slayer’ power, I summon the Gods of outrage as I enact my spell:
I look vaguely up and to the side. What am I looking at? Something high up on a building? Perhaps a billboard has caught my eye? Is a damsel in distress about to leap from an upper window?
No. I am looking at nothing. I am walking purposely whilst not looking in their direction. Which means we are about to collide. Out of the corner of my eye I see them briefly look up. They register that they have an immediate problem. They look down again in an attempt to will me to step out of their way. This fails. At the last moment they weave to the side and I pass through their space without even a slight movement of the shoulder to avoid them.
You can use this trick not only on deadwalkers but also on your pedestrian opponents who look like they are not going to yield. Once you have mastered this art you can really test your inner self-confidence by walking down a busy sidewalk on the wrong side. If people get out of your way when you are at fault then you really have your inner Alpha working. Go out and test yourself and see how confident you really are.
This is a self-confidence builder that you can literally use every day. Practice being a man by walking like a man. And to walk like a man you need to feel like a man. Every step counts.