Personal Congruency… At 21? How To Be Confident At Any Age

I remember when I was in my early twenties, heck, it was only a few birthdays ago (I’m 26 now). Flashback about five years and I was a fresh out of university nobody with a degree in business management that I just scraped a GPA 4 in (this is equivalent to a pass, in Australia Universities grades are 1-7, 4 being a pass, 7 being the best). I spent most of my university days lost. Half the time doing what I needed to get through my degree, the other half of the time indulging in whatever hobby took my interest. Throw in some tennis, a handful of casual jobs and lots and lots of glossy-eyed staring at the beautiful girls on campus and you had my life at university.

It’s not a period that I would want to go through again because it was full of growth experiences and as usual growth is painful. Girls, job interviews, difficult subjects, forced studying of materials I had no interest in whatsoever, failure and success made me generally uncomfortable and unsure of myself for a lot of the time. It all ended and I came out of it alive, perhaps a little jaded, a little bitter, and of course a whole lot lost. No doubt not that unusual for someone in their early twenties.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a period of life my life that I’m glad I went through, I needed to grow as a person. It wasn’t always comfortable but it taught me a lot and throughout that period my confidence slowly blossomed with each new experience. As I’ve grown past the confusing early twenties I’ve realised more and more how vital confidence is, how a person’s congruency with themself is the most important building block for a successful life.

Where does confidence come from?

Reading about, listening to and watching the most successful people, no matter what fields they are excelling in, makes you feel that these people are special. Something about them makes them different from everyone else and you may even go as far as ruling yourself out of achieving similar success because you believe that, for whatever reason, be it luck, genetics, personality or upbringing, something about really truly successful people makes them different from you. It’s as if these people are special and you can not be like them because you lack whatever magic ingredient they have.

To make yourself feel better and gain education you read books and study the materials written about the special people so you can emulate them and be special too. You read the habits of highly successful people. You follow goal setting guides, motivational mantras and build blocks to success. For some reason it doesn’t work for you, further cementing your opinion that really successful people are special and different and you can’t replicate that magic purely through study, self discipline and by following road maps. You just weren’t born to be successful, you were born to struggle.

Famous and successful people are just people

In 1998 I had the luck and skill to qualify for the biggest event in the Magic: The Gathering (a strategy card game) calendar, the World Championships, that year played in Seattle, USA. I had played well, was lucky and made some smart choices at the Australian Nationals to land second place and a spot on the Australian World Championship team. By this time Magic had become a big deal, with three million dollars distributed as prizes each year (first place at the world Championships that year won $36,000 USD). The level of professionalism had increased greatly as a result and there were people playing the game competitively for a full time living. Magic even had superstars, players you read about in magazines, watched on ESPN and cheered for during live web coverage of the big events. In many ways a regular Magic player admired these superstars as special people, people that were very successful in life and possessed a gift or some form of unique talent, much like a young golfer might admire Tiger Woods or an entrepreneur might look at Richard Branson.

Olle Rade, a young guy from Sweden, enjoyed tremendous success at Magic, winning a Pro Tour and at that point with lifetime earnings well over $50,000 USD and he wasn’t even 20 yet. I really admired Olle. Then there was John Finkel, who back then was known as the best Magic player with well over $100,000 in career earnings. These guys were superstars, overachievers and in my mind sitting on a pedestal above everyone else.

Heading to Seattle I had my first chance to meet and play these superstars of Magic. I’m not one to gush over celebrities but sometimes you can’t help but feel a little in awe of people you’ve read about in the media. Since I knew so much about these famous players and they knew nothing about me I felt I wasn’t on equal terms, I wasn’t confident and in no way did I consider myself one of them.

By the end of the tournament I was exhausted. The little sleep I got didn’t help me play the best cards but the experience I gained was amazing. During the tournament I played Olle Rade and I beat him. It was just like any other match and he was quite upset by the end of it, celebrities don’t like losing either. I lost to some other big names and during our non-playing periods enjoyed getting to know many famous players.

By the end of the week I had completely changed as a Magic player. Despite not performing well I left Seattle with confidence in myself as a player and a new perspective on celebrities. Every superstar Magic player I met was no different from me. Sure some had natural talents that I didn’t, perhaps strong mathematical abilities, but I had strengths in other areas. Magic being a game of skill rewards those that practice and study, luck and natural ability play a part, but in the end it’s people playing people and Magic stars were stars because they had done two things – they worked really hard at what they did because they loved it and they had experience from winning and loosing a lot of matches.

How to be confident at any age

If the Yaro of now sat down with myself at 21 and tried to explain the secret to becoming confident and attaining success I probably would have a lot of trouble getting through to him. It’s hard to be a believer without experience and in hindsight faith is a lot easier, but I’ll do my best to help along all those other people struggling to have faith in themself.

There is only one thing you need to understand, and in fact this is more a faith based decision about your future more than it is a tangible truth if you are young and/or inexperienced.

Your success will be determined by your personal congruency, your courage of conviction
and faith in your own abilities.

If you don’t have experience, you are young and just starting out in life, you don’t have a history of events to draw conclusions from. Books, videos, podcasts and education in general are a good starting point but you will never have success, you will never get true confidence in yourself without experience, without taking actions and learning from the outcomes.

The beauty of experience is that it comes from both success and failure. While one makes you feel great and the other makes you feel lousy, the end result is still experience and a new framework of perception you can apply to your future life. This is what experience is. This is what you draw on to create success and this is the essence of your personal congruency.

In many ways I’m very successful right now. In many other ways I’m far from it. I’m not a millionaire, in fact I have very few assets at all. For now lets avoid a discussion of the determinants of life success and I’ll simply state that I have a hell of a lot more I want to achieve and I bet you do too.

Have faith in the power of experience

Each setback in my life was usually brought upon by a lack of patience, a desire to become something else and achieve something quickly (life’s version of the get rich quick scheme). During the major catastrophes in life I accused the world of the usual atrocities, that life was singling me out to suffer, that I had somehow been selected as a victim and that it just wasn’t fair. Each new painful experience in life brings about similar feelings and despite my intellectual understanding of reality it doesn’t make the pain less painful.

Your ability to bounce back, to turn the frown upside down, to leverage failure to create success and find opportunities in the remnants of breakdown is a lifeskill of tremendous value. Don’t let your feelings of confusion and loss make you depressed. Leaving school, finishing university or quitting (or being fired from) a job are opportunities that you rarely get in life. These are powerful turning point moments that in most people’s lives only happen rarely. Major change is not a common occurrence for a typical human being so relish the opportunity when it comes along, don’t drown in your supposed lack of identity.

How to deal with confusion

If you are not sure what to do with your life dip your fingers into as many activities as you can and follow those that make you happy (and no doubt will probably make you money too). Use skills to build assets, don’t trade labour for money because it’s not a good long term strategy. Trade your labour today for asset building for tomorrow and start building passive income supports. It will be hard work and it might seem that for many years and months that you are making nothing (I know I feel like that sometimes), but your future self will thank you for it in the years to come.

An empty slate should not make you sad, it’s just space that’s ready to be filled with your energy and ideas as you test yourself to see what works and makes you happy. Have faith in the power of experience to create personal congruency. Remember that other people are just like you, even the most famous, most successful people. They are not superheros blessed with magic powers. They simply choose to fill their lives with experiences, they grew from failures and successes and eagerly jump into new activities with vigour and passion. They have confidence because they can refer back to the outcomes of events in their lives, they know how to deal with situations so they are not afraid to try. Life rewards those people that take action, who don’t follow the crowd but rather follow their passions.

Remember too that life is not quick. It’s a long ride. You want it to be that way right. Why be so eager to achieve certain things by tomorrow? What are you trying to become so quickly that you are creating frustration and stress today. Persist in the activities that you have motivation to work on over and over again, and not just for weeks, but for months and years. Become good at them and then great at them. These are the skills you will develop because you enjoy them. Eventually they will become your special talents that set you apart and you will be surprised how suddenly others look at you as if you are gifted.

Yaro Starak

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Nathan

    hmm, Bloglines doesn’t seem to be notifying me very quickly when you have new posts Yaro… good thing I check your blog often manually.

  • Yaro! you had me confused with your grades from college.

    When you said you barely scraped by with a 4 I almost threw my laptop!

    Then I read on and found out that in Australia you where on a different grading scale 😉

    But confidence does come from previouse failures and learning like you said. It also comes from just being confident 🙂

    If you have a widget or concept you are trying to convince someone to buy or integrate or whatever confidence is the best weapon you have!

    Confidence radiates like sunshine and people are drawn to it.

    For instance:

    You would never buy from someone whos salespitch is “please buy this product”

    It lacks confidence. Then there is the RichJerks marketing as an example of confidence and how well it translates into selling.

    This topic could have its own book collection(probibly does) but is vitale to developing personally and proffesionaly.

    I have talked about this many times over at in the “Mind Power” section.

  • Good post Yaro, thanks for writing it.

    You know, It’s no good having faith in anything if you don’t implement. Faith without works is dead! This gets down to what you say about experience as an invaluable asset and experience can only be obtained through actions.

    All the tools of life that one picks up along the way can be useful as stepping stones and short cuts to help someone achieve their ambitions, but it’s the get up and goers that are the high fliers in the long run, and a string of academic achievements alone do not guarantee success at any level.

    In my life time I’ve come across folk who could perhaps be described as the educated unemployables, and there are those too who have no academic qualifications to speak of, but their drive and ambition has armed them with entrepreneurial qualifications that can only be acquired through trial, error, determination, patience and persistence.

    I once heard a fellow say we have 2 ears and only one mouth, so perhaps it’s more important to listen than it is to speak! Listening to both the written and spoken word from those that have achieved what we dream about was a very handy tip for a mouthy git like me!


  • You have a talent for writing Yaro… great article!

  • Wow, that was a highly motivational post Yaro, thank-you. Your English is also quite admirable! Thanks for the advice – I think success does take time and experience, and I agree that failures are just as valuable as successes.

  • Hi Yaro – Having had the benefit of years of experience I can attest to the fact that past challenges and successes are useful resources to draw up. agree with you – confidence plus action are an unbeatable combination.

  • I have found that if I am not confident about something, then I will just act like I am and sooner or later (usually sooner) that confidence becomes real. Always remember to like yourself, because if you don’t, why the hell should anybody else?

  • Yaro, you’re right. I believe that being confident in your own habilities is the only way to get confident. Knowing that we can take whatever path we want and go as further as we want is the only thing that keeps moving me. If you look what you have done so far, you will know that you can choose the way your life is going to be from now on.

    Is beautiful when one finds that out, the errors of the past become the experience of the present and you can understand that knowing that you will need to “learn” some experience in the future. And is just the best thing that anyone can have.

    We are just lucky to know it, must people don’t even imagine it.

  • Well said kid. You’ve got a good bit of wisdom for someone so young…

    I like the slight turn you’ve taken here, would love to see an article like this appear now and again along side the more pragmatic stuff.

    I’m glad you’re writing.

  • Well written.

    I wish I realized what you have at age 26. Actually, I’m sure I did, but I just didn’t listen to myself. It took many more years of trial and error, and in the process becoming a personal coach, to start apply these lessons. And it is still a struggle sometimes to listen to that whisper of a little voice each one of us has inside, which tells us in which direction to go.

    Usually, we are overpowered by the big Booming voice inside our heads, which is telling us we need to make more money, be more successful, have more stuff. That is usually the conditioning of society, media, and sometimes parents. And if one keeps listening to that voice, he/she will usually end up chasing a lot of unfulfilling dreams.

    So the next time that big voice starts running it’s mouth, tell it to shut up! After all, you’re in charge, right? And then follow that small voice. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run. And you won’t have to fake confidence because you will be a lot truer to yourself.

    I think my first and second year university students will benefit from this post, so I’ll be forwarding it along to them.


  • Thanks for the comments guys.

    Ayaz – quite right, that money monkey is a constant pain always telling you to make more and more money despite happiness. It’s a constant battle.

    Mr Larson – I do occasionally write articles like this, not very often judging by the mere 8 entries in my philosophy, spirituality and growth category –

  • […] You can read his article by clicking here. While you are there please look over his blog, it is one of the better blogs on the internet. […]

  • Thanks Yaro, I look forward to reading into that category… I’ve obviously been captivated by your other stuff and overlooked it!

    BTW, the podcasts keep getting better. As long as I’m making requests (forgive me), love to see more of those as well. I suppose you’ll have to sell for $10 mil to make the time to lay around in a silk robe recording more podcasts for us.

    My oh my, isn’t Larson demanding today…

    Take good care Yaro.

  • Motivating post.

    My mom said yesterday, “At the end of the day, before I go to bed, I ask myself, ‘Was today a productive day?'”

    She brought up a good point. At the end of any day, ask yourself this question. If the answer is no, you have some work to do. If the answer is “hmm, not sure”, you need to fix it.

    In one’s opinion, we can characterize a “productive day” as being something that helps us achieve a goal or commitment.

    For the entrepreneur, try to make each and every [work] day as productive as possible. Take the necessary breaks but in the end – I guess the saying is true – you get out what you put in.

    Life is what you make it.

  • Larson, half a mil would do for BetterEdit, then I could sit here and podcast and write all day, and not have to worry about how to make money and everything would be grand.

    One day…

  • Very good article. Really enjoyed it.

  • […] How To Be Confident At Any Age » by Yaro Starak Interesting article on confidence (tags: confidence attitude) […]

  • Just discovered your blog, Yaro. Stellar post and very insightful! You use the term ‘personal congruency’ as if it is in general lexicon already but I think its’ the first time I’ve heard it. Perhaps you could explain why you used the term and what you mean by it. Thanks!

  • Hi Lisa, thank you for visiting.

    Personal Congruency is a term I’ve heard thrown around a bit, along with personal congruence etc. I recently heard it again listening to a Podcast ( to be precise) and it inspired me to write this post.

    For me personal congruency means alignment with oneself, to be confident in your own reason for existence, purpose and ego. Simply put it’s self confidence but I don’t find that term quite all encompassing enough so I prefer congruency as a more apt label.

    I hope that makes it clearer for you. It’s a hard term to feel completely at one with since I don’t believe any human can attain perfect congruency. Perhaps enlightenment is equivalent but I’ve not experienced that to know. I wonder if a person attained enlightenment, what would be the purpose of their existence from that point on? Once there are no challenges left to overcome, once one has complete congruency with themself then there is nothing left to learn and in essence, no purpose to their existence.

    Perhaps after enlightenment the only task remaining is to teach others to reach the same level of fulfillment.

    Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent here. Back to your regular viewing…

  • […] We chatted a bit while I was trying on sandals and it turns out she just graduated a Business degree with a major in PR/Advertising. She was a little forlorn regarding her future job prospects, lamenting on the difficulty of finding work in her newly qualified-for industry, especially without experience. Her shoe selling job was quite casual and clearly she was suffering in the “just out of university and I don’t know what to do” phase of life (I feel the need to mention this article right now – Personal Congruency… At 21? How To Be Confident At Any Age ). […]

  • Thanks for this great motivational piece, Yaro. Truely an inspiration for me – who is currently 21 years old and having that same exact confusion of what to do with my life. 🙂

  • […] Choosing the focus and direction wasn’t very hard.  I just had to take a quick look at my life.  I spend inordinate amounts of time reading entrepreneurial, marketing, and personal growth blogs.  I constantly listen to audio books.  I’m in a transition period in my life.  I’m serious about breaking out of the 9–to-5 grind.  I’m a relative newbie to the world of the internet entrepreneur, but I’m a fast learner.  And the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn.  All this points me towards an entrepreneurial-centric blog that chronicles my personal growth and my experience as I attempt to break out of the grind and achieve a new measure of freedom and personal congruence. […]

  • “Remember too that life is not quick. It’s a long ride. You want it to be that way right. Why be so eager to achieve certain things by tomorrow? What are you trying to become so quickly that you are creating frustration and stress today. Persist in the activities that you have motivation to work on over and over again, and not just for weeks, but for months and years. Become good at them and then great at them. These are the skills you will develop because you enjoy them. Eventually they will become your special talents that set you apart and you will be surprised how suddenly others look at you as if you are gifted. ”

    I love this last paragraph — so powerful! Well, I’m 22, finishing my degree in Business Management. When I first read this, I thought you were talking about me. =) hehe.

    Good job Yaro! You’re blog is awesome!

    Thank you!

    – Evsion

  • Heya Yaro – I keep meaning to post on here instead of just lurk and I keep getting distracted.

    I love the phrase you used – Personal Congruency. I have found that most people lack the conviction to assess, define, and execute on their definition of who they are, what they REALLY want (and wanting successes is not a valid answer) and taking appropriate actions (small steps) to make it come true.

    It’s not a catch 22 – you don’t need experience to make it – you need the fortitude to go out and declare to people that you are ready to learn – and ask them to teach you – to take you under their wing and give you a chance.

    Great post as always 🙂

  • […] Right now I like that my blog can give without necessary expecting anything in return. I like that I’m in a position with my finances and my personal congruency to be comfortable investing so much time into a project that currently has a financial return of about $1 an hour. […]

  • […] Do You Want To Run Your Own Business? Read This First! How I Have Made Money Online The Top 8 Search Engine Optimization Techniques How To Be Confident At Any Age – Personal Congruency More Articles… […]

  • Hey Man,

    Nice post, I like to see these positive messages out there on the net. keep up the good work!


  • Orton

    Hi Yaro,

    Your article is very nicely written, as well as being interesting and inspiring. Like you said, I do constantly want results quickly. Perhaps this is because of a lack of belief in the value of experience that can only be gained over time. I suppose it’s easier to be true to oneself if failures or even successes are seen as experiences to learn from rather than signs of the quality of oneself.



  • Hello,

    I was looking for some resources on personal motivation and achieving goals for a resource list I’m putting together for my readers and future blog visitors.

    I’m glad I’m came across this post 🙂

    I’m oging to be adding this as a good “read” for my visitors and what not.


    Success in life, love and business is something we all have in us – we just need to learn how to bring it out and except it

    To Your Success,
    – RM

  • Hi Yaro
    You really write so well – That’s not all – you make it understood in a plane other than the mere – what do I say – intelect ?

    – not sure – may be – comprehendible in an elevated plane.
    You are blessed – keep going.

    Wish I knew you then – Now going on 54.

  • I discovered your site yesterday Yaro. Awesome content – you seem to be a natural writer. I thought the “Use skills to build assets, don’t trade labour for money because it’s not a good long term strategy” part was most inspiring.

  • Wow Yaro this really explains me…graduating from McGill…barely scraping by..

    I’m definitely encouraged by your post. Thank you very much.

  • WOW! great post.

    all I have to say is one thing.

    I’m tired of learning.
    I’ve been doing that long enough.

    Time to go get some real real world experience!

    thanks for the post yaro!

    David “Be” King

  • This is the most inspiring article article I’ve ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks a lot, Yaro.

  • That sounds real familiar I have seen that life, well parts of it somewhere before… in the mirror; the only thing missing is do you get bored real easily. Because I get bored very easily with pretty much everything. I haven’t however done that well with MTG but I have cards and have played before, lost each time, but nothing so prestigious as nationals.

  • Yaro, this is a very motivating post. I am glad you have such inspirational articles on your blog…thank you.

  • Thanks Yaro,

    I’m currently listing what my passions are and brainstorming how I can monetize them. Your words are insightful and inspirational.


  • Saw this post from the free e-book you sent. Learning to have patience here, the fact that sometimes we want to see results tomorrow only makes the waiting time longer.

  • Awesome inspiring article Yaro. I love them all.

    Patience is a virtue and one who has it will have great success sooner then the person who has no patience.

  • Thanks for that Yaro, its a good motivator.. Sometimes i’m too internalized in my head & need something to motivate me to get up & do it !

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