Navy Seal officer explains trick to overcome anxiety, laziness and low confidence

By Staff 6 Min Read

Jocko Willink, a retired US Navy SEAL officer, has shared his top hack for building confidence and overcoming anxiety – and it’s something you can do at home

A retired US Navy Seal officer has revealed his top tip for boosting self-confidence and tackling anxiety.

Speaking on a recent episode of the Diary of a CEO podcast, hosted by Steven Bartlett, Jocko Willink shared his unique approach. Jocko Willink, also a New York Times bestselling author and host of the Jocko Podcast, co-founded leadership training organisation Echelon Front.

Willink believes the secret to growing self-confidence is to set small tasks for yourself and gradually take on more challenging ones. As a Navy SEAL officer, he would assign manageable tasks to those lacking confidence. “I’m just going to give you small tasks that I know you can handle to build up your confidence and over time you will become more and more confident. If you do fail in a challenge, I might have to reset you a little bit,” he said.

“This this sounds like a big long process, but it’s actually usually not that long. Practice, train, study, work. Practice, train, study, work. Eventually you will increase your confidence.” Using Bartlett as an example, the former officer added: “In your book you were talking about the fact that you didn’t like public speaking. So what did you do did? You started small and you built a little bit of confidence.

“Then you went a little bit bigger of an audience and the confidence grows a little bit more. Again, little bit bigger audience, confidence grows, and you get to a point where there’s no audience that’s going to stumble you in any way.” This is similar to exposure therapy, Willink explains: “I give you a little bit, I don’t overwhelm you with it,” he continued.

“If I overwhelm you with it you’re going to be scared of it. If you lack confidence and I put you in charge of something that you can’t handle your confidence is going to go back even further, so I need to give you enough exposure that you do well, increase your confidence and you’re going to do fine.”

So what exactly is exposure therapy?

The NHS defines exposure therapy as gradually facing items and situations that cause anxiety but are manageable. A therapist will guide you through repeated exposure until your anxiety lessens, reports Bristol Live.

After repetition, your nerves won’t hit such high peaks or last as long. You’ll then be ready to tackle more challenging situations. This process should continue until you master all your anxiety triggers. Exposure therapy can involve between 6 to 15 hours with a therapist or via self-help materials or digital programmes. Regularly practicing the prescribed exercises is crucial to overcoming your struggles.

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