How to Build and Improve Your Self-Confidence
Confidence is a key determinant for success in just about anything, in business, in love, in politics… Confidence is a commonly used word, and as thus, I am certain you have an idea what confidence is, but in this article you will get to learn about self-confidence, which is perhaps the most important aspect of confidence.
Why is self-confidence important? Where does it come from? Is it natural or is it acquired over time? How can one build and improve their self-confidence? To answer these questions you must first understand what self-confidence is.
Self-confidence can simply be defined as faith in your own abilities. It is a positive attitude towards yourself and a deep conviction about your ability to accomplish your goals. We can also define self-confidence as the absence of self-doubt giving way to a positive outlook on oneself.
When you are self-confident you are generally a happier person and better positioned to achieve success because you don’t spend your time paralyzed by fear or self-doubt. Rather you are deeply convinced that you are capable of achieving your goals and this pushes you to work harder towards those goals.
Self-confidence enables you to power through even the most difficult situations and face challenges head-on. As a self-confident person you will be in a position to push through even situation in which you have neither external support nor material possessions and still retain the belief that you will come out victorious.
Self-confidence is truly powerful because it is not based on external factors or other people’s perception of you. It cannot therefore ever be taken away from you. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If they put you on a pedestal they can take you off it?” The same logic applies. But if your confidence comes from within, if it is independent of external factors, you become both happier and stronger.
The ability to maintain a positive view of yourself and your abilities in any situation and under any circumstances is a value we should all strive to cultivate. Adopt a way of thinking that constantly reminding yourself that you are a person of value and ability and; happiness, success, as well as general improvement in your life’s quality will quickly follow.
This is the purpose of this article. By the end of it you will have learnt the value of self-confidence and measures you can take to cultivate and improve confidence in yourself.
IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
Above all else, protect the belief in yourself. Self-confidence is the basis of all success and with it you can propel yourself to whatever heights you can dream of. Self-confidence guarantees that you are geared towards the success of a certain thing and that no fear or self-doubt holds back your progress. Self-confidence attracts whatever it is you desire to achieve towards you.
Failing to understand the importance of self-confidence is a big reason why some people lead unhappy lives or lead their lives as failures. These people don’t take the time to strengthen and reinforce their minds. Therefore, keep a close watch of your internal self. It determines much more in terms of the quality of your life. When you build on your self-confidence you attract success and this success further boosts your self-confidence!
In 1964, at the height of his career, world heavy weight boxing champion Sonny Liston was defeated by the less experienced and weaker but faster Muhammad Ali. Sonny Liston was considered the greatest and most intimidating boxer of his time and other boxers such as Henry Cooper even openly stated that they preferred to wait for someone else to take the championship from Liston before they themselves made an attempt at it. Muhammad Ali was however not intimidated by Liston’s reputation; he maintained a strong faith in his own abilities, even taunting the champion days before the fight. Muhammad Ali won the match and became champion when Liston conceded in the sixth round.
Unlike Henry Cooper, Ali had a strong conviction in his abilities and the possibility of victory even against a more experienced fighter who was at the time the world heavy weight boxer. This is just one example, of the power of self-confidence. With self-confidence you can achieve anything and without it even the simplest of goals can seem impossible to achieve. What are some of the other reasons why self-confidence is so important?
Self-Confidence is the ‘Chemical X’ of Success
It is highly unlikely that you will achieve any success if you are not confident. All the skill, talent, and potential in the world means little if you are filled with doubt; poor confidence in yourself casts you with fear and doubt. Fear immobilizes you and you are unable to enter action with boldness.
This may be something as simple as making a decision to start a business at an opportune time or a decision to leave an unhealthy relationship. When you lack self-confidence you become indecisive because you don’t believe in yourself nor your judgment and success cannot be born out of indecision.
Just like self-confidence breeds success and happiness, lack of confidence breeds failure, which then brings unhappiness. It is natural for human beings to crave success, happiness, and fulfillment and if you want the same your level of self-confidence is what will be your savior or your downfall.
Self-Confidence makes you Stronger
No pain no gain. We all know this, but it doesn’t make pain any more pleasant does it? What then makes some people more willing to subject themselves to pain in order to achieve certain things where other people won’t?
You guessed it, self-confidence is the difference. Self-confidence is the reason why you will put yourself out there and take all the risk without fear of failure. This is the quality that enables you to this belief in oneself that differentiates achievement from failure.
Think about anyone you know who quit a well-paying and comfortable job to start their own business at the risk of failure. It was self-confidence that drove them to it and because of that they are self-employed and possibly living their dreams in a much better position than they were at that well-paying job. Self-confidence gives you the strength to go for what you want and keeps you focused even when times get tough. It brings out the champion in you.
You Stand Out
Self-confidence is attractive and ‘can be felt across the room. You can tell that a person is self-confident by how they talk, walk, work, and socialize, just to name but a few.
As a self-confident person you will stand out and your mere presence will seem to energize the environment around you. Self-confidence commands respect and everything will instantly start falling into place around you because the world steps aside for you when you make those sure and confident strides.
You Grow Faster Professionally
Self-confidence is also a catalyst for professional growth because it boosts your drive and determination. When you are self-confident you are able to set and achieve more ambitious goals and you are generally not afraid of taking on challenges. Many people let self-doubt get in their way and are ultimately unable to reach the heights of their potential in their professional careers.
When you master self-confidence you acknowledge the challenge ahead rather than get scared. You are driven to face the challenge head on. Self-confidence drives you to push against your boundaries and prove to yourself that you can achieve anything. Since the beginning of time human beings have consistently progressed because they dare to push the boundaries and had we been filled with self-doubt it is likely that we would be stuck in the Stone Age today.
Failures Become a Learning Opportunity
We all face failures at one point or another. This is an inevitable fact of life. Even, Steve Jobs, one of the most accomplished people of the past century, stated that,
“Failure is Inevitable; big business is often built on big failure.”
After being voted out of the company he founded, rather than despair and give up, Jobs returned to transform Apple into the 9th biggest company in the world. Steve Jobs understood that things don’t always work out how we want them to but that does not mean that it’s the end and it does not take away from your worth and abilities. His faith in his abilities motivated him to try again even after hitting such a heavy obstacle.
Just like Jobs, master self-confidence and every time you are faced by failure you will be able to objectively identify where you went wrong and readjust to be able to handle the situation better the second time. It was Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed, I have just found a thousand ways that do not work.” This is the mentality that self-confidence brings out in you.
Promoting Independence and Self-Reliance
Don’t get me wrong, self-confidence does not make you a snob but it does eliminate the need for acceptance and approval of others, which may in most cases derail you from your own goals.
When you are self-confident you believe in your dreams and visions and you do not necessarily need validation from others. When you are self-confident you believe you are on the right path and this gives you motivation to pursue your goals even when your peers do not believe in you.
“Reinvent yourself and become something no one ever thought you could become.” – Unknown
It is okay to listen to other people’s opinions, in fact, in some cases you may stumble upon some real value on those opinions but when you are self-confident you will not find those opinions dictating your decisions or actions. Like a wise man once told me, ‘Consider other people’s opinions, but make the decisions yourself.’
Self-confidence enables you to overcome obstacles and achieve success by maintaining your faith in your own abilities. It therefore keeps you driven even in the face of failure and rejection, pushing you further towards your goals when a less confident person would have thrown in the towel. Self-confidence is power that no one can take from you because it comes from within and mastering it makes you an unstoppable force of nature.
AMAZING STRATEGIES TO BOOST AND IMPROVE YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
Self-confidence is essential for the success of just about anything you decide to pursue in life. Unfortunately, self-confidence is not in-born, it is not hereditary, and it is something we acquire, learn, cultivate, and constantly improve on.
So how can you build and improve your self-confidence?
The good news is that your level of confidence is in your hands. Once you have realized the importance of self-confidence, you must then take measures to better your own confidence in yourself. Self-confidence is like a muscle and the more you train the stronger you get.
What sort of training do you need for your confidence muscle? What practices can you adopt to boost your self-confidence?
Recognize your Personal Strengths and Change Negative Self-Perceptions
This does not mean that you ignore your imperfections. As am sure you can agree, we all have weaknesses, no one is perfect and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But we also have strengths and probably a lot more strengths than weaknesses but somehow we place so much focus on our weaknesses. We even forget that we have positive attributes at all.
Constantly reminding yourself everyday what your strengths are, what sets you apart and makes you unique will grow a positive attitude within you and give you the drive to give your goals the best shot. The easiest way to do this is to write down all your positive attributes and strengths on a sticky note and place it on your refrigerator door or on your mirror where you can see them every morning.
Answer questions like: What can I do better than anyone? What do I like about myself? What do others like about me? When am I at my best? How can I better myself even more?
Include affirmations such as, ‘I love myself’, ‘I am good in at my job’, ‘I am a success’, ‘I am deserving of my dreams’…
Once you stop focusing on your weaknesses and start paying attention to your strengths you gain your own approval and that is the beginning of true self-confidence. Remind yourself of all your strengths and continue to cultivate those strengths and attributes and you will find yourself acting more positively and getting more comfortable and confident in your own skin with each passing day, giving you the strength to go relentlessly for your goals.
Channel Another Person’s Confidence
It is said that we are the average of the five people we interact with the most. This might be true in the sense that human beings are creatures of observation and imitation; it is more than likely that 90 percent of who we are is just attributes that we have gradually picked as we’ve continued to grow. We learn a lot of what we do from modeling other people, whether in the negative or positive.
Therefore, one effective way to build and improve your self-confidence is to model an individual you know to be truly self-confident. It could be a friend, a colleague, a grandparent, a historical figure or even a religious figure. Identify an individual or individuals you know to be self-confident and try to keenly observe how they walk, talk and or interact. Emulate them.
There is a lot you can learn and borrow from self-confident individuals, even if you have to borrow their character at first, which might involve a little acting on your part. You will eventually find your own balance and your own confidence will come out naturally.
Smile More/Make Eye Contact
Have you ever heard that when you smile you automatically feel better even if you were not particularly happy before? It’s true. When you smile more at other people you exude a certain happiness about you that makes them comfortable and even happier interacting with you, which makes communication much easier.
The same applies for eye contact. When you look people in the eye you give people an impression of being confident and genuine. This helps you to easily create a rapport with others, which leaves you feeling happier and more confident.
Learn to make eye contact and smile more when you talk to others and your interactions will naturally improve and along with them, your self-confidence.
Another way to build your self-confidence is to continuously set small, achievable, and realistic goals that will boost your confidence over and over again. As mentioned above, self-confidence is heavily rooted in the faith that you have in your own abilities and this faith needs to be regularly fed.
People who believe they can accomplish a certain task are more likely to do so because they approach the task with enthusiasm and determination rather that uncertainty and doubt.
Prove to yourself on a regular basis that you are capable of success by setting small goals and ensure that you reach them, make the goals just a little more challenging each time and watch your self-confidence gradually increase. As you continue to accomplish your goals you begin to trust yourself a little bit more each time.
Create a Sacred Living Environment
The place where you live should be a place of peace, a place of comfort that recharges your batteries and clears your mind of all worries. Even though the place you are currently living in is not your dream house, that’s no problem, no one starts out in their dream house. Find a way to keep it neat, clean, and free of clutter. You might not have noticed, but your environment affects the way you feel inside a lot and that is especially true about the place you call home.
Subconsciously, you might be uncomfortable with how untidy you have let your home get and this will affect the impression of yourself when you walk out that door.
Therefore, make your working environment as comfortable, attractive, and inspiring as you possibly can. I know there are people out there that might feel that they are more comfortable in a slightly chaotic environment and that is okay too just find what works for you and tailor your home to fit that.
The Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui teaches us the importance of having a harmonious ambiance around you, so whatever your definition of harmony is, make sure you incorporate it in your home.
Look for the Positive in Others
This sounds like a strange way to build on your self-confidence, right?
However, when you learn to recognize and appreciate positive attributes in other people, it shows that you are confident enough in your own skin to take the time to appreciate the beauty in others. This is not to say that you impose false flattery, but rather that you learn to recognize genuine positive traits in other people.
It may not come so easily at first but when you have mastered this you will begin to recognize beauty not just in other people but in all aspects of life including yourself. As you gradually grow this positive outlook on life and on yourself, confidence in yourself continues to grow and shine outwards onto the world.
Learn to be Optimistic
“Learn to be Optimistic, It feels Better.” – Dalai Lama XIV
Are you an optimistic or pessimistic person? When things don’t go your way do you give up or do you get up and dust yourself off? Do you have absolute faith in the possibility of your dreams?
As mentioned earlier, failure is inevitable, everyone fails sometimes and it’s nothing to be worried about. There will be times when you will encounter unforeseen obstacles and your ability to still look to the future with hope in times of failure or uncertainty is crucial for staying confident, adaptive, positive, and resilient.
There are those who will argue that pessimism protects us from disappointment but the truth is optimism is the only thing that will keep you focused and confident in your abilities and the possibility of your dreams. Knowing that you are capable, courageous, and deserving despite any current obstacle is the backbone of self-confidence.
Maintain Company that Empowers You
Avoid people who constantly criticize you or make sarcastic and demeaning remarks about you. Such constant negative feedback, especially from anyone you consider a friend will hinder you from seeing the good in yourself, therefore negatively affecting your self-confidence.
Therefore, carefully look into your circle of friends and be extremely selective in who you choose to keep close. Spend time with people who believe in you and your visions, people who inspire and motivate you, and people who make you feel valued.
You will especially need positive people around you on days when you are feeling low on energy. Note, however, this is not to say that any criticism is bad, learn to distinguish between healthy and malicious criticism and accept constructive criticism from people who want the best for you and who intend for you to better yourself and you will gradually grow in confidence.
Always Be Prepared
No matter what you are undertaking, make sure you are prepared. Preparedness sufficiently familiarizes you with the subject matter of the task at hand, for example, a presentation or a speech, and this leaves you feeling confident enough to handle it. Preparedness reduces fear and self-doubt that may creep in when your mind knows that it is not ready to handle the task in front of you. This allows you to reduce the fear associated with stepping into the unknown.
The more tasks you handle in a well prepared mindset, the more you realize your own capacity to succeed and the more your confidence in your abilities grows. You realize that you are capable of handling challenges, and your confidence in yourself grows.
For example, if your fear is public speaking, identify why this gives you the jitters. If, for example, it is because you fear forgetting your points, create notes to jog your memory and practice your speech.
Whenever you forget refer to your notes just like you would in the actual speech. This will give you confidence in the fact that even in your worst case scenario you will be able to regain your balance, and this preparedness hence boosts your self-confidence during the actual speech.
In today’s highly demanding and competitive world, self-confidence is an asset that guarantees you success in just about anything you choose to do.
For example, even in a job interview you will have to exhibit confidence in yourself and your capabilities in order to land a job. Self-confidence attracts attention and attention attracts opportunity, opportunity that puts you in a position of success. Constant success in turn breeds happiness, energy, and efficiency, which then builds on your self-confidence and the cycle continues.
Ensure that you are always in this beautiful loop by building on your self-confidence. It does not take much and it isn’t magical. Confidence takes practice just like your body needs exercise to stay healthy and strong. Believe in yourself, believe that you deserve the success you are looking for, trust that you are capable because when it comes down to it,
“The ones who change the world are the ones crazy enough to think that they can.”
Building your self-confidence does not just happen with the snap of a finger, it takes patience, it takes time, and above all else… consistency. Self-confidence is not in-born or reserved only for a few privileged; it’s cultivated and grown over time by constantly practicing a few learned behaviors. You too can adopt these behaviors and you can start by practicing the above discussed measures on a daily basis until it is second nature and your self-confidence is at a constant high.
Once you have cultivated self-confidence you will be happier and more motivated to handle any challenges that come your way and as a result you will be more geared for success.
By even considering the above strategies you have also showed great potential for high-level self-confidence because truly confident people take charge of their lives. Now try implementing these strategies and notice your self-confidence begin and with it the general quality of your life.
Your wings work, get to flying, take that leap!!
Have you ever heard that when you smile you automatically feel better even if you were not particularly happy before? It’s true. When you smile more at other people you exude a certain happiness about you that makes them comfortable and even happier interacting with you, which makes communication much easier. The same applies for eye contact; when you look people in the eye you give people an impression of being confident and genuine. This helps you an easy rapport with others, which leaves you feeling happier and more confident.
Learn to make eye contact and smile more when you talk to others and your interactions will naturally improve and along with them, your self-confidence.