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The Confidence Gap

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,682 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Too many of us miss out on opportunities in life because we lack self-confidence. Whether it's public speaking, taking on a leadership role, or asking someone for a date, there are situations in which we just don't feel equipped to handle the challenges we face.

Russ Harris offers a surprising solution to low self-confidence, shyness, and insecurity: rather than trying to "
Paperback, 292 pages
Published 2011 by Robinson Publishing (first published 2010)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Carrie Mullins
After reading this book I now have the confidence to put it on my Goodreads. So I guess it worked.
Daniel Weaver
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
So I really really really hate self help books. I really just picked this book up because I put it on my audiobook wish-list long ago for some forgotten reason. However, this one wasn't too bad, and I'm glad I read it. I think the most important part is learning about "thought diffusion", where you become aware of your thoughts and catalog them. But honestly, you learn this in any self-help or mediation book (you can also learn it from Dune, which talks about similar concepts with fear). Other t ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
1. I'm not telling you to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'
2. But first I want you to feel the fear
3. Then I want you to do it anyway

You can buy the book here.

Buy Me a Coffee at
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book started out good, but went downhill fast. The latter half is basically him repeating earlier stuff, overusing acronyms, and veering off into weird ~befriend your fear "[slip] your arm warmly around its back" territory. To save yourself time, here is the main takeaway from the book: Whatever you are afraid of, just take that risk. Confidence will follow.

1. Harris takes issue with the perception that fear and negative thinking are weaknesses.
2. He also takes issue with the problema
Morgan Blackledge
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's common for people to believe that they can't do the things they would like to do because they lack confidence. But if you stop and think about it for a second, this is totally absurd. It takes practice to feel confident. If you wait to feel confident before you take a step, you're likely to stay exactly where you are. In other words; confidence the action comes before confidence the feeling.

The message of the book is that it's normal to feel anxious, afraid, reluctant etc. about trying new
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
**Filling the confidence gap**

Do you feel like a lack of confidence is holding you back in life? Do you often find yourself waiting to feel ready before you go after your goals? Do fear and anxiety keep you stuck?

If so, _The Confidence Gap_ make likely change the way you've been doing life.

Based on the principles of ACT--Acceptance and Commitment Therapy--this book offers a refreshing approach to filling the confidence gap:
"Whatever it is that's interfering with your self-confidence, the solu
Jamaul Finley
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was my first exposure to ACT and Dr. Russ Harris and I was impressed by his simple writing style and the use of examples to drive home key points.

The Confidence Gap teaches you how to gain more confidence by letting go of negative thoughts, accepting life for what it is with all of its ups and downs, and taking committed action based on values. Dr. Harris dives deep into what he calls the Confidence Cycle.

The Confidence Cycle is based on the idea that feeling of confidence only comes AFTE
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
This book is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which focuses on mindfulness and self acceptance. Although not ground breaking I did get some good stuff out of it.
-Negative thinking is normal. Instead of eliminating it one should be mindful by learning to diffuse, expand and be engaged.
-Success should not be defined by reaching an end goal but rather living by your values.

The book revolves on the following 10 rules:
Rule 1: The Actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading through the ratings I was wondering what had more truth to it. That it's yet another shallow self help book or actually provides valuable information. Well I quickly came to find out that it is not in any way shallow.

This book is hands down one of the best I have read on that matter. It is not one of these books that claim to make your life perfect just by reading it . ( and sometimes chanting some new age power phrases).

Instead it provides actually helpful techniques and guidelines on h
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook edition, and it was excellent. It addressed exactly my issues and gave me ways to deal with them that are completely different from any other books or methods. I particularly enjoyed the end parts of each chapter where the author would say "what is your mind telling you" and his estimations were dead on. This book told me that it is o.k. to think negatively and is perfectly normal to have the thoughts and feelings that I experience. By allowing this, I could now accep ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book would have probably been better as a bulleted list of steps. I truly did not enjoy the kind of patronizing tone at times inferring what I was thinking/wondering and informing me that it was "okay." ...more
This is probably the best non-fiction book I've read this year. It all makes a lot of sense. Whilst it focuses on confidence, the theory and techniques could be used for most issues where negative thoughts are problematic. ...more
Debbie Cranberryfries
This was fascinating.
Plenty of topics to find motivation.

"Fear is a powerful fuel. Don't waste energy trying to get rid of it"

Rule 1: The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.
Rule 2: Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear.
Rule 3: Negative thoughts are normal. Don’t fight them; defuse them.
Rule 4: Self-acceptance trumps self-esteem.
Rule 5: True success is living by your values. Rule 6: Hold your values ligh
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-netgalley
The latest book from the author of The Happiness Trap shows us how to renegotiate our relationship with fear using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). All too often we put off working toward our dreams because we're not feeling confident in our skills, but we will rarely, if ever, find the confidence we need if we just sit around waiting for it. The book introduces techniques that teach us how to work towards the feeling of confidence, providing compelling evidence as to why putting aside y ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciated this book. We all say we live by our values or that we understand our fears but what does it look like to get specific on both fronts? If you take the prompts seriously, reflect on the role your own belief systems play in your life, and accept that you can only transform not eliminate your fears, this book can provide some great foundations on how to embody the life you aspire to
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a useful book for me. Basically a very western way of saying some really old school Buddhist stuff about mindfulness and such. I did like it though I do think I prefer hearing it from someone like Tich Han, Eckhart Tolle or Adyashanti. Not to discount this very palatable version. It is quite good.
Zaki Shaheen
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too repetitive and non substantial and trivial.
Bastard Travel
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) differs from the gold standard Coggy-B Therapy (CBT) by picking Albert Ellis's pockets for the best parts of Rational/Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which have fallen to the wayside in the rising tide of stuffy clinical automatons desperate to crowbar psychology into the hard science category by attaching everything to a chart, regardless as to whether that chart shows anything. God willing, I won't bring any more acronyms into this book review.

ACT, like
Murali Vig
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
What I got from it:

1. When confronted with a task we don't want to do our mind often creates reasons to justify why we cant to do it (ie its too large an obstacle, we predict negative future outcomes, we judge ourselves, and we view ourselves being inferior to others). Negative thoughts are completely normal. The goal is to dissociate yourself from thoughts that don't help you reach your goal.

Techniques to dissociate from not useful thoughts:
a) Instead of thinking "I am a loser," think "I not
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall I did enjoy the book, my favorite part being the concise list of key points that some chapters had, which will make them easier to refer to later. Notice how I said only some of the chapters had these lists though, which is one of my cons. There were a select few chapters in which I felt like I didn't learn much at all to be quite honest. He delineated from the overarching theme at times which was slightly frustrating. This didn't occur too often but often enough that I definitely notice ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very well done. It's probably best to read The Happiness Trap first, but this book has many useful insights most every one could benefit from. ...more
This book had invaluable information. Loved his style of writing. While I didn’t agree with everything he said, I gleaned much from the book. Excellent read.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is where I am coming from - I love self-help books, I have read a ton of them, and I try hard to believe in a benevolent Universe governed by, perhaps even created by, the power of thought that is the God in all of us. I even have personal experience of 'creating my own reality' through setting a goal and envisioning it to be already in existence. Having said that, I do get tired of books that tell you to just believe, and even to believe without wanting, because in the wanting you are tell ...more
David Good
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've did ACT via a therapist over 5 years and I will probably keep seeing one my whole life. In that time I went from doctors recommending me to get electroshock therapy because no medication would treat my depression to almost making a 6 figure income thanks to ACT (the income increase happened from 0 over a 2 year period after I had been on long term disability for over 10 years. hourly rate started at 25 per hour in 2014 and then increased to average of 75 per hour last quarter of 2015). I al ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommend
Reactions to fear of taking action can be described by the acronym EMITS:

Emotions (the anxiety you feel)
Memories (remembering a failed attempt)
Images (picturing a failed attempt)
Thoughts (thinking that you'll fail)
Sensation (getting sweaty palms)

Essentially these are feelings and thoughts that hold you back from taking actions. However, realize that your thoughts aren't reality. For example, you have thought you wanted to strangle your lazy co-worker. But you don't do it. Your mind is const
Henk Devos
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I find it a bit hard to understand why this book has such high ratings. I didn't find any original idea in it. When you check his references, you'll see that they are pretty much limited to biographies of people like Nelson Mandela and Lance Armstrong, and lacking scientific background. Most of the book is a repetition of the same over and over again.
Since one of the main point of this book seems to be "mindfulness is good", you would be better off reading a decent book about mindfulness.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best self help books I have ever read and I have read a lot of self help books! The author is very engaging, practical & sympathetic. He uses real life examples to motivate the reader to take control of their life despite a lack of confidence.
One of the best messages I got from this book was: True success is living by your values. I think that's a really good point because its very easy these days to strive to reach goals & be successful in areas that do not align with what we really
AnnARegina Enyedi
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Favorite main thoughts from The Confidence Gap:
*Live every hour of your life by your VALUES, not only by your GOALS. That is what leads to success.
*The actions of confidence come first, the feeling of confidence comes later, just how the comitted action comes before the feeling of motivation.
*If you want to become good at something, you have to practice it. You will be good in what you are practicing.
*Set your very short-term, short-term, long-term and very long-term goals based on your value
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I have not read many (any?) self help books. I only read (listened) because it was free on Audible for Amazon Echo users. Mindfulness is at the core of this book's philosophy. Now that I have a better understanding of what mindfulness is, I don't much care for it. Apart from that, the author does give several rules which will help one in the "confidence game." These were the take home points for me, along with some memorable anecdotes. ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good intro to mindfulness, if a bit dry. The author doesn't add much to this field except that he explains why things like "The Secret" are ridiculous. Confidence comes from competence.

A very unfortunate feature of this book is the repeated reference to that supreme liar/cheater/jerk Lance Armstrong as a paragon for the rest of us.
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Dr Russ Harris is a medically-qualified doctor, stress consultant, executive coach, trainer, author, and a leading authority in the powerful new paradigm of Psychological Flexibility. (This is a revolutionary new development in human psychology that enhances performance, reduces stress, and improves health and wellbeing.) Dr Russ regularly presents workshops on Psychological Flexibility at both na ...more

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“TEN RULES FOR WINNING THE GAME OF CONFIDENCE The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later. Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear. Negative thoughts are normal. Don’t fight them; defuse them. Self-acceptance trumps self-esteem. True success is living by your values. Hold your values lightly, but pursue them vigorously. Don’t obsess about the outcome; get passionate about the process. Don’t fight your fear: allow it, befriend it, and channel it. Failure hurts—but if we’re willing to learn, it’s a wonderful teacher. The key to peak performance is total engagement in the task.” 18 likes
“Rule 1: The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.” 13 likes
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