For some people, confidence seems to come easily and is almost second nature.
For others, it is not so easy and can take a lot of practice.
But, what is confidence really?
In straightforward terms, confidence is just feeling sure about yourself and your abilities in a given situation.
Confidence is also a state of mind.
And fortunately, confidence is something that can be trained and learnt. In this post, we offer our top tips on how to become a more confident person.
As a child at junior school, I was supremely confident, to the point where the classmates on my table once stopped talking to me for a month because I thought I was awesome at everything and I wasn’t afraid to tell everyone about it.
Sure, I had some skills, but it seems my confidence was perceived as arrogance by my peers and no-one likes arrogance.
Hence the trip to Snubsville for young me.
In my teens, I was a bit more reserved and introverted and around the age of 15 or so, I even went through a stage when I found it very difficult to converse with strangers.
I remember an occasion when I needed to go into a shop to buy something (can’t remember what, but nothing embarrassing – honestly!) and I had to walk past the door several times before I could summon up the courage to actually go in and engage with the shop assistant.
As a fully grown adult, my levels of confidence will depend on the situation, but in most cases, I suppose you might describe me as a ‘confident introvert’. There are times when a lack of confidence has let me down and other times where I have succeeded in all kinds of interviews, presentations, performances and sporting endeavours with the help of some confidence.
Some of the time that confidence has been genuine and some of the time, I’ve faked it.
But either way, it doesn’t really matter.
Because the thing about confidence is, it’s often a, well, for want of a better term – a confidence game.
And there are two sides to confidence. One side is your own reality (i.e. how confident you do or don’t feel). And the other side is the perception of others (i.e. how confident they perceive you to be).
Your perception shapes your reality and that applies to the people observing you – their perception shapes their reality.
So, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you are not feeling confident, because all you need to do is to be perceived by others as being confident and their reality will be that your are, indeed, confident!!
And if they perceive you as being confident, the chances are, you will become more confident. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy.
You can create your own perceptions and make your own reality.
Does that make sense? Feeling powerful already?
So, the question then is: are some people genuinely more confident than others, or are they just better at making others perceive them as confident? 🙂
That’s the thing – you never really know, unless that person is you.
There are varying degrees of confidence (perceived or genuine), ranging from what you might call being quietly confident right through to wildly confident to the point of arrogance.
In fact, it can be a fine line between confidence and arrogance and being perceived as arrogant is not a cool look.
Why does confidence even matter?
Being perceived as confident will help you more in life than being perceived as someone who lacks confidence in themselves, their ability or the task at hand.
A lack of confidence can seriously limit your potential in life. Self-doubt, which is the default position for those that don’t have confidence, can hold you back in both your career and your personal life
There’s a saying that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”, which was re-phrased in a sporting context brilliantly by ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky, when he said:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
In other words, you need to take action to get a result. And often in life, a lack of confidence will prevent you from even taking the shot. This could be in any number of scenarios:
- Starting a conversation with a stranger
- Going for a promotion at work
- Asking someone out on a date
- Delivering an important presentation
There are so many areas in life where doing something with confidence or having the confidence to do it in the first place can improve the outcome.
How to be more confident
A lack of confidence can be due to various factors, such as low self-esteem, being ill-prepared for a task, or having doubt in your ability, especially compared with those around you.
As mentioned above, you may feel confident in some situations more than others. But what I am talking about here is general confidence in day-to-day life, not situations completely out of the norm, where confidence is not really going to help, like maybe being asked to land a plane as a non-pilot and be expected to do that with confidence!
Being more confident is something you can learn, so try these 8 tips and see if it makes a difference to you!
This is a big one that can be massively overlooked and underestimated.
You see, your body language and posture affects they way you are perceived. Someone standing tall, with their head up and shoulders back will automatically look more confident than someone who is slouched with their head down.
Not only does posture affect they way we are perceived, but it can also govern the way we feel about ourselves. Now, whether people stand tall with shoulders back because they are confident or whether standing tall with shoulders back makes them feel confident doesn’t really matter. The two appear to be linked and while posture is not the only factor involved when it comes to being confident, walking ‘tall and proud’ and sitting upright can’t do any harm.
At worst, it just looks so much better than slouching or walking around with ‘nerd neck’.
You can even go as far as doing something called Power Posing. Check out Amy Cuddy for more interesting theories on how body language governs the way we think and feel about ourselves.
2. Mindset + Action
I was once told that using daily morning affirmations was a really effective way to develop the mindset to become more confident, but frankly, if it’s just words without action, looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you are awesome is simply not going to work.
Because the truth is, we’re not always as awesome as we think we are or may want to be.
No amount of telling yourself you can fly is going to give you the power of flight.
I truly believe in the power of the mind, but, no matter what those guys selling their sales programmes tell you, there are limits – especially when physics is involved.
So stop deceiving yourself and first of all, try forgiving yourself for not being perfect.
Be at peace with that fact, because none of us are perfect.
Secondly, if you want to become more confident in certain areas of your life, take control. And that means taking meaningful action to become better at whatever it is you are convincing yourself you are awesome at.
Mindset is crucial, but you need to create habits with it.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle.
3. Just be you
Being confident isn’t about being right all the time, or being the best or winning all the time. It’s about how we carry ourselves. How we present ourselves and how we treat others around us.
It’s also about being honest and open with those around you.
If you’re feeling nervous in front of an audience, don’t be afraid to say it. Often, being like that will help to create a connection and break the ice.
Being confident doesn’t mean that you have to be invincible. It is about being comfortable with yourself and who you are.
Visualisation is a proven technique used by Olympic athletes and professional sportspeople the world over. It is basically a mental rehearsal. You go through a performance or race or event in your mind and let it play out the way you want it to happen in reality.
You repeat the process again and again every day and experience it as if you have already done or can already do it.
It’s a trick that affects the subconscious mind and can even affect our bodies physically, enabling us to achieve our personal goals. Check back in at All Sussed later for my post on visualization techniques.
5. Ditch the negative thoughts
Quieten your inner self-critic and get out of a negative frame of mind. You need to address this if situations that occur in your life leave you saying things like,
“Story of my life.”
The negative stuff will erode your self-confidence, so ditch it.
Ditch it now.
Yep, exercise and activity seems to help with all kinds of things!
Work out regularly. Endorphins make you feel good and looking fit and healthy will boost your self-confidence.
Related ~ Top 20 Ways To Get Fit Without The Gym
Related ~ Ultimate Fat-Burning Workouts: Tabata
7. Document your victories
Keeping a diary or sharing your little daily or weekly triumphs on social media can really help boost your confidence. And committing to this activity has double benefits.
Firstly, having a record of victories you can look back on and remind yourself of is a great resource when your confidence is low. Simply read through your past victories will remind you that you can do it and will help you get back into the ‘victory’ state of mind.
Secondly, if you know that at the end of the day you need to have something to write in your Little Book of Victories, it might push you to get through something that requires confidence that you otherwise might have avoided or put off.
8. Look good, smell good
It’s an obvious one, but you’d be amazed at how many people walk around looking like a bum and smelling like they haven’t bathed in a month.
Take care of your presentation and this will affect the way you feel about yourself and the way you are perceived by others. If others think you look more confident, the knock-on effect should be that you FEEL more confident.
So dress well (that doesn’t mean it has to be formal) and squirt on a bit of your favourite cologne/perfume, so that you smell good too.
Check out how Brian Fantana from Anchorman does it – confidence, he lacks not.
All in all, if you can do these 8 things above, you’re on the track to become that confident person you’ve always wanted to be!
What tricks or techniques do you use to feel more confident?
Recommended reading ~ Confidence Creator by Heather Monahan
Recommended cologne ~ Anchorman Sex Panther Cologne 1.7 oz