How to build confidence on the bike

Confidence is SO important when it comes to riding...and 
it's definitely NOT something that comes naturally to me.
I'm certainly not the type of rider who can throw myself
off any descent, any jump or any huge drop with no fear.

I'm the obvious.

If I'm hitting a steep trail i'll be nervous for the whole climb 
and have to really psyche myself up before hitting it.
Now over the past year or so I've found I'm riding MUCH 
better and hitting steeper descents with much more confidence.
I'll still end up pushing down sometimes when better descenders
I ride with will fly by...but the important part is that I feel I'm constantly 
And that's my point for today's email : 
To get more confidence on the bike you need to do it GRADUALLY.
If I look back at what I used to think was a scary steep trail 
last year. Or a super technical descent. It seems like childs
play now. I'll think to myself on the way down "how was I ever 
scared of this?" 
And I'm sure I'll think the exact same way next year about the trails
I struggle on now.
The key is to always improve, but don't rush it.
Ride within your ability and push your boundaries 
bit by bit on every ride.
Try and go a little faster.
Try a slightly bigger jump or drop.
Try a slightly steeper descent.
The key, if you are anything like me, is to build it 
up gradually and be patient.
Congratulate yourself on every progression.
If you try and ignore the fear and ignore the voice in your head
saying 'this is too tough' and just go for it anyway...then sure 
sometimes you will clear the descent by the skin of your teeth...
but eventually you'll be coming over the bars and having a big crash
which will set back your confidence. want to think "Ooh...that looks sketchy, but I reckon I 
can do it". It should make you nervous. Give you a tight stomach.
And shit you up a little. But you shouldn't be thinking "This is 
WAY WAY WAY beyond my current skill level"
Getting that sweet spot...hitting it...clearing it...and then doing something 
slightly harder the next ride is how you build your confidence.
Slow and steady.
Constant progression.
And patience.
That's the way! :) 

Matt Mooney