Some people just have confidence. It flows from them naturally and they are always right there at the front when something big happens. They take charge seemingly leading the situation with an enviable ease. Meanwhile there are other people who just don’t have have that natural ease. They seem content to stand at the back and let the world pass them by.
Don’t be fooled — at least eight out of the ten “back-standers” wish they were that person at the front. The person in charge. The one who is respected; the one who is popular.
How come some people are so easily and naturally confident while there are others terrified to even open their mouth? Well, you see, that is where the problem starts: too often people think that every outgoing person they see is naturally confident. Some of these take-charge leaders were, in fact, once shy back-standers but decided they wanted more. They worked on their confidence, and so can you.
Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them.
– T. Harv Eker
In my book 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life, I explain that confidence is the belief that you are worthy and capable of doing something. It also has to do with being able to respect and appreciate yourself. When you appreciate yourself, you will find that confidence follows soon after.
Who am I? Am I good enough? Am I capable? The basis of true confidence is rooted in childhood. If children learn they are loved and valued they’ll be able to grow up believing that. Sadly even the most loving homes can produce children with low self-esteem if they are bullied at school or if their teachers put them down.
Recently a study revealed that girls start to see themselves as less innately talented than boys do when they are only six years old, because they start internalizing stereotypes at an early age. These attitudes rob people of choosing the chance of taking on a challenging study, applying for a job they’d be perfect for, and even of love. In short: learning how to build confidence — at any age — is essential for a better life.
Here are ten top tips to becoming the confident person you want to be.
4. Rebuild your self-image
Try to see yourself differently: list all the things you dislike about yourself and change them around. If you don’t like aspects of your character, try not to change them immediately, but re-direct them. If you feel you are too aggressive, try using up your aggression by joining a gym and working out. Here you’ll also learn how to calm down when you feel a bout of anger coming on. If you feel you are too direct or bitchy, redirect this to do good: standing up to a boss, or setting up your own company. You’ll learn to be direct but polite.
If it’s aspects of your body you dislike, it’s harder but not impossible to change it around. Of course you can tone yourself in the gym, but this takes time. Learning to love your body is key: find celebrities that have succeeded and are thought of as beautiful with the body problems you have. A big bum? Kim Karadashian and Jennifer Lopez are loved for that! Big thighs? Beyonce has them and she’s fab! The thing you think makes you ugly might be the thing that makes you more beautiful.
10. Find “the lion within”
If all else fails, roar! If you find yourself low on confidence, stand in front of the mirror and start seeing yourself as a lion. Strong, powerful and king or queen of the jungle. Imagine yourself growing stronger and more confident, then ROAR!! The rush of energy this releases will leave you feeling energized and strong.
Building Confidence As A Habit
The secret to building anything into your life is to make it a habit.
The same is true for confidence and self-esteem. It’s incredibly difficult though, because we’re naturally inclined to fall back to old comforting habits and the idea of building confidence is new and stressful for most people.
Being unconfident is a habit in itself.
One of the main reasons unconfident people stay unconfident is that they’re comfortable being unconfident. They continually live their lives that way.
So the only way to become more confident is to build it as a habit and become comfortable being confident.
The research has shown that the best way to build a new habit is to start so small it seems ridiculously easy.
Two famous examples of this are flossing one tooth per day and doing just one push-up per day. They both seem so easy, so we can get started quickly, but we naturally want to finish what we start so we often end up doing more.
This is what’s known as the Zeigarnik effect.
Here are a few very simple things you could do to start building more confidence as a mini-habit:
- Say one good thing about yourself first thing in the morning
- Say good morning to one person when you get to work
- Dress well one day a week
- Add one idea/comment at the next team meeting
- Do an easy task first thing in the morning
- When you wake up, smile and tell yourself it’s going to be a great day
One problem, is that we’re notoriously bad at judging our own confidence. We often think we’re much better than we are.
The Science Of Confidence
The research on confidence is truly interesting and shows why it’s such a hard thing to get right.
It’s normal to be scared of failing, no one likes to fail, but fear of failure is when the idea of failing is so strong that it overpowers the idea of success.
Fear of failure is a tough one to fix, because it’s on an unconscious level and they often can’t handle the idea of the shame that comes with failing.
The best way to overcome this is to start small. Find something so small and insignificant you’d be okay with failing it, and learn to accept that failure.
Imposter Syndrome is feeling like an impostor when you’re not. Like you’re a fraud and the whole world is going to find you out.
Famous people like Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Tina Fey and Maya Angelou all admit to feeling like they’re not good enough.
The best way to overcome this is by not being afraid to pat yourself on the back. You don’t want to be arrogant, but it’s important to understand that you had a lot to do with where you are right now. You should be proud of yourself for your accomplishments.
We’re actually naturally inclined to be optimistic.
The Optimism Bias is our tendency to overestimate our likelihood of experiencing good events in our lives and underestimate our likelihood of experiencing bad events.
While I encourage everyone to build up confidence and have a high self-esteem, some reality needs to be taken into account as well. We need a healthy dose of both optimism and precaution to set ourselves up for success.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias where less competent people rate their competence higher than it actually is, while more competent people rate theirs lower.
Like I mentioned earlier, we’re horrible at judging our own skills at something.
This is a tough one to fix, but if you’re more competent, focus on understanding the value you bring to a team or organization.
While you might naturally think you’re worse than you are, you’re bringing a ton of value, and you should be proud of that!
Ways To Improve Your Confidence
The secret to making this work is persistence. It’s so easy to just give up after one or two tries if you see no results, but results take time.
Here are a few things you can do to help improve your confidence.
Dress well, shower, shave, etc. Take some time in the morning to make sure you’re looking your best.
It might seem superficial, but it’s crazy how much of an effect it can have on your confidence when you think you look good.
There’s two parts to this. First, think positive thoughts. Second, remove any negative thoughts.
In the morning, say out loud “you’re a great person, you look incredible, and you’re gonna have a great day today!”
When a negative thought comes in your head, argue with yourself. Keep reminding yourself how good you are.
You want to express confident body language.
Stand tall, speak clearly, talk with your hands, don’t fidget, look people in the eyes, practice active listening, etc.
Similar to the idea of looking good, you want to feel good about yourself, and exercise is great way to achieve that.
Besides all of the other amazing health benefits that exercise has, giving you more confidence is one of them.
Helping others makes you feel more confident in your abilities.
Always offer your help to other coworkers that need it, and seek help from them. You’ll be helping them gain more confidence as well.
And don’t worry about feeling like you don’t have enough time, when we help others, we actually feel LESS time constrained.
Free Bonus: Take the quiz to see how confident you are.
Finding Solutions: How to be Confident
Being confident or having low self-esteem tends to develop from childhood and build patterns of positive or negative thinking and behaving. These patterns reinforce self confidence, whether low or high, and become habits. In some cases, these habits can be very destructive, causing us to feed and nurture feelings of low self confidence even when there are no reasons for it. In other words, things in our lives may have changed significantly since childhood and we may no longer be subject to the influences and stored memory that contributed to our low self confidence, yet we perpetuate it by our low self-belief and behaviours and negative thinking – we forget how to trust in ourselves and to be confident.
How to be confident
Some Easy Steps
I. Appraising yourself
Being able to raise your confidence is about liking yourself and appreciating your talents, abilities and attributes, such as problem solving and finding solutions to life’s challenges. This does not mean becoming egotistical or vain. It merely means acknowledging your good traits and qualities. The self concept – how you think about yourself – has a great deal to do with your confidence. If you continually tell yourself you are a failure, a loser, a poor student or whatever terms you use to put yourself down, you are feeding your lack of confidence and you will create a negative attitude. You are reinforcing what others wrongly caused you to feel about yourself. If you accept that they were wrong, or perhaps ignorant in doing this to you, why would you chose to do the same thing to yourself? It is time to be positive and build a more confident approach to life! It is time to believe, trust and have faith in yourself!
II. Basic solutions for bettering yourself and owning the key to success
Being able to build good levels of confidence commands action; it is not an item you can wish for, buy or borrow. There are solutions you can engage in every single day when learning how to develop self belief, faith and trust and how to be confident.
Listed here are just a few steps to being more confident:
- try out positive thinking “be confident”
- just imagine being successful every single day
- accept admirations and place confidence in them
- look for new solutions through challenging times
- recognize your beliefs and build on them
- value your targets and be confident in them
- be straightforward in expressing your strengths, competences, and skill-sets
- profit from positive feedback
- write your achievements each day and build a diary of your successes
- allow yourself praise day after day
- take action on solutions you trust in
- encourage your corporeal, cognitive and non physical self to take action and be more confident
- forgive those people who have abused you
- make time for building self improvement and self belief every day
Learn more about building self belief: Positive Self Talk
Take The Free Confidence Assessment Test – What is Your Score?
About Thinking Positively
Firm Your Handshake
A good handshake can set the tone for your following interaction with another individual. The best handshake starts with you holding your hand in a vertical position, with your fingers together and your thumb extended upright. Then, when shake your partner’s hand, it must be a close, assertive connection in which the web of your hand meets his web.
Be sure you approach their hand as evenly as possible. When someone’s hand is facing down, it means they want to control you. And if their hand is facing up, it conveys that they are submissive.
If you want to go the extra mile to convey confidence, try “anchoring” the handshake. This means using your other hand to touch the person softly on their forearm between their wrist and their elbow.
Done correctly, and this move can give an impression that you are fully committed to speaking with the person. Just be sure to not go any higher than the elbow, as this could make the person feel like you are invading their personal space.
Source: Tony Robbins
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The Confidence Conundrum
If you’ve always lost in life, then how could you ever rationally expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus the cycle of suckage continues.
This is the confidence conundrum, where in order to be happy or loved or successful, first you need to be confident; but then to be confident, first you need to be happy or loved or successful.
It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. Or Dominos ordering its own pizza. You can spend a lot of time cuticle-gazing trying to mentally sort everything out, but just like with your lack of confidence, you’re likely to end up right back where you started.
We know a few things about confidence just from observing people. So before you run off and order that pizza, let’s break this down quickly:
- Just because somebody has something (tons of friends, a million dollars, a bitchin’ beach body) doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is confident in it. There are tycoons who totally lack confidence in their own wealth, models who lack confidence in their looks, and celebrities who lack confidence in their own popularity. So I think the first thing we can establish is that confidence is not necessarily linked to any external marker. Rather, our confidence is rooted in our perception of ourselves regardless of any tangible external reality.
- Because our confidence is not necessarily linked to any external tangible measurement, we can conclude that improving the external, tangible aspects of our lives won’t necessarily build confidence.Chances are that if you’ve lived more than a couple decades, you’ve experienced this in some form or another. Getting a promotion at your job doesn’t necessarily make you more confident in your professional abilities. In fact, it can often make you feel less confident. Dating and/or sleeping with more people doesn’t necessarily make you feel more confident about how attractive you are. Moving in together or getting married doesn’t necessarily make you feel any more confident in your relationship.
- Confidence is a feeling. It’s a state of mind. It’s the perception that you lack nothing. That you are equipped with everything you need, both now and for the future. A person confident in their social life will feel as though they lack nothing in their social life. A person with no confidence in their social life believes that they lack the prerequisite coolness to be invited to everyone’s pizza party. It’s this perception of lacking something that drives their needy, clingy and/or bitchy behavior.
How to Be Confident – The Three Pillars of Confidence
The three pillars of confidence were created when I had to pull myself from the darkest time in my life all the way to the brightest, and it was from these pillars that I have created the confidence I have today and the confidence that I share with others. The three pillars on built on the idea that all things can be boiled down to a simple form, and those pillars are: mental confidence, physical confidence, and spiritual (if you are an atheist, don’t worry, this works regardless) confidence.
Mental Confidence is the built up of your inner voice, self esteem, perception of yourself and those around you, your judgement of yourself and others, your mental toughness, and your goal setting abilities. Mental confidence is the most important of the pillars, in my opinion, because it focuses around how you see yourself (which is basically the idea behind confidence). The base principal of confidence is found in mental confidence (more on that later). Once you can truly and honestly practice mental confidence, you will have a foundation to learn how to be confident.
Physical confidence is your health, nutrition, and fitness, and appearance. Physical confidence helps us evaluate our life and take strides that will help boost our confidence from the inside out by using our body’s hormones to make us happier, more confident, and more committed. If you have ever exercised and felt like you were on top of the world, then you have experienced the happiness hormones that come from exercise and exhaustion. Lifting weights increases testosterone which can help you become more confident (both sexes), and nutrition can help your body create what it needs to feel better, fix itself more, and look better than ever (which definitely affects your confidence). We don’t all have to be models to be confident, but we do need to help ourselves look their best to get the best of what we have. Physical confidence is a great building block for your confidence base, and learning how to be confident through physical confidence is icing on the cake.
Spiritual confidence is hope, inner peace, and following of your God (or if atheist, role model). The idea here is to have hope in the future to have confidence in the present (I believe Zig Ziglar said that in a recording, and if you aren’t familiar with him, I would highly recommend his books/audiobooks!) Having hope keeps you happy, committed, and confident. Inner peace helps you understand that life has its ups and downs but you don’t need to let them destroy you, and in fact, it is part of life. Following your God is simple – if you have a God that has rules (or commandments), pick the most relevant to our day and age and do them (such as Jesus’ golden rule). Following your God will help you know that you are going to the right place when you die and there is even confidence in the afterlife, giving you confidence in the present. If you happen to be atheist, find a role model, and try to act as they act (this will give you an anchor to always go back to if you stride too far off of your path to confidence).
Now, lets move on to the “base” of our confidence.