Short selling yourself can be a roadblock in your personal and professional life if it isn’t tended to immediately. How often do you downsize your achievements, or meet a compliment with a half-hearted smile or even a “Nah, I’m just okay”? If modesty is your best policy, it’s about time you changed your rule book.

Most people have the misconception that not being vocal about your own prowesses is a trait by itself; inevitably, you’re only short selling yourself. Of course, there’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance but, if you don’t recognize your plus points then, you cannot really expect anyone else to either.

For example, do you remember all those times someone said “Hey, you’re really good at this!” and instead of replying with a confident “Thank you!” you ended up saying “Nah, I could do more” or “XYZ does this so much better than me”? Sure, you may think you’re displaying humility and all that but, the truth is, you’re not basking in your moment of glory while the chance presents itself to you.

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of perfectly capable people who lost out on massive opportunities, simply because they were too shy or modest to recognize their own plus points. And of course, like the one who preaches but cannot walk the talk, you would’ve advised them to go out there and get what they deserve. Question is, why are you getting onto the short selling wagon and how long to you plan to stay on it?

Here are some examples where you end up short-selling yourself and how you can stop, ASAP:

1. When you turn down a compliment

It’s obvious that someone isn’t going to compliment you just for the heck of it, especially if it’s not about something superficial like your looks or attire. If they’ve taken that extra minute out to praise a trait of yours that they consider praise-worthy, it only makes sense if you too, take a minute out to say more than just “No, I think you’re just being too kind” or a plain “Thank you.” This is how you’re short selling yourself.

It’s perfectly okay to talk briefly about why you’ve worked on this trait of yours and how it’s important to you. As long as your tone and diction don’t come off as arrogant, it’s okay to revel in your compliment a little.

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2. When you don’t take an obvious Opportunity

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There will be a considerable amount of times when opportunities will come knocking on your door, so make sure you open it. Most opportunities aren’t born purely out of chance; they come to you because you’ve earned it or because you have the potential to make something out of it.

On the other hand, if modesty forces you to turn it down and leave it open for someone else, be rest assured that it won’t come around to you again. Short selling yourself when chances come knocking on your door is a mistake you do not want to make. Know your strengths and harvest them when the opportunity comes your way.

3. When you downsize your skills

“I’m good at this and this but… I wish I could be better.”

This one sentence or a similar sounding one could put you down in many ways. The “but…” only signifies that you possess a certain talent, but haven’t put in that extra effort to make yourself better at it. Right there you’ve sold yourself short, making you seem lethargic or even careless about your own traits.

“I’m good at this and this and… I’m working on making myself even better”, is a much better way of putting it across and seeming both confident and humble at the same time.

4. When you constantly compare yourself to others

Yes, it’s nice to acknowledge your competition and even be a sport about it, but it’s not nice to your own self when you constantly compare yourself to another and put yourself down while doing so. Praise another, that’s completely okay, but stop at that.

There’s no need to then pit one person against the other and create a complex which will only reduce your own morale and self-esteem. Negative reinforcement is a technique which doesn’t bode well with most, contrary to popular belief. You can, however, take another as inspiration to do better and grow personally.

This video might just help:


5. When you don’t give yourself a second chance

We all have our inherent flaws and we all do make mistakes as well. Instead of refusing to give yourself another shot at rectifying your errors or at least learning from them, it’s better to accept your mistake and analyze it, after which you can make note of what you could do differently to not repeat it. By cutting yourself short from learning from your errors, you’re not only short selling yourself but also stunting your growth as an individual.

Take the plunge, take that second chance!

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6. When you forget to pat yourself on the back

All those times when you know you’ve overcome an obstacle and delivered a satisfactory (or more than so) result, before you even think of accepting a “Well done!” from someone else, you have to remember to pat yourself on the back first. Self-appreciation is a sure shot way to success if short selling yourself is something you want to eliminate from your lifestyle.

So, the next time you see yourself running into a familiar situation where you may have made the above-mentioned mistakes, call yourself out on it and carry more pride! No king ever hesitated from wearing his crown so, neither should you.

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Ashna Arif

The author Ashna Arif

21 year old writer, singer, dancer, avid reader, liberalist and optimist who believes in radical thinking, equality and appreciates the importance and freedom of art in all its forms. Also the author at which features articles on self help, self actualisation and touches on important and thriving social causes, all with a message and meaning for all. "They say that life is short but, if you do it right, it's more than enough."