How to be more confident

How to be more confident

Everyone has stared at their reflection in the mirror wondering what life would be like if they could muster up the confidence to do something life-changing.

To confidently step away from a job or stand up on stage revealing the next big idea. It’s alluring but too big and scary to do outside of our heads.

There’s a lot of self-help advice out there about building confidence. Some are based on research others on personal experience. I take a slightly different approach than posturing or self-affirmations. Exercising your confidence.

I don’t mean the type of exercise that gym bros do to fight their inner demons but focusing on the actual muscles of confidence and strengthening those movements.

This isn’t about mere tips and tricks but a workout circuit through understanding confidence and its intimate relationship with self-esteem. 

We’ll exercise together towards mastering confident communication—essential in personal interactions and professional settings alike—and learn how to maintain this newfound strength even when times get tough.

By the end of our expedition, you’ll be armed with actionable insights on boosting your confidence levels by embracing certain activities or hobbies. Intrigued? Let’s dive right in!

Understanding Confidence

Confidence. It’s that elusive quality we all crave, but it can often feel like a mysterious and intangible concept. How do you define confidence? More importantly, how do you get more of it?

The truth is, confidence isn’t some secret sauce reserved for the lucky few; rather, it’s something anyone can cultivate with practice and persistence.

A Closer Look at Confidence

Let’s begin to construct our knowledge of assurance by defining what it precisely signifies. According to Psychology Dictionary, confidence refers to “1. Our self-assurance in trusting our abilities, capacities, and judgments. 2. the belief that we can meet the demands of a task.”

Believing in yourself and your abilities is what being confident entails.

Misconceptions About Confidence

Society often equates loudness with confidence – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Real self-assuredness comes from within and doesn’t need constant validation.

To quote Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book on introversion titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” So don’t confuse extroverted behavior with true inner-confidence.

Also, don’t mistake confidence for action. Courage is taking action despite fear not the absence of it. You can feel completely confident about your abilities to perform a task and yet still struggle to do it. I wrote about procrastination in detail here.

Nature vs Nurture Debate

The nature versus nurture debate has always been relevant when discussing personality traits such as confidence. Are people born confident, or can it be learned?

Psychology Today suggests that while genetics might play a role in our baseline confidence levels, much of our self-assuredness is shaped by life experiences. So yes, you can learn to be more confident.

The Relationship Between Confidence and Self-Efficacy

Confidence and self-efficacy, two seemingly similar concepts, have a symbiotic relationship. They fuel each other in an endless loop of positivity or negativity. But let’s not confuse the two.

Confidence is your overall sense of worth or personal value. It’s about how much you appreciate yourself for who you are. Psychology Today defines it as our cognitive and emotional assessments of ourselves across important areas of life.

In contrast, self-efficacy refers to belief in one’s abilities; it is task-specific and situation-dependent. For instance, you might have self-efficacy in cooking a meal but less so when speaking publicly.

The Interplay Between Confidence And Self-Esteem

A boost in self-efficacy can lead to improved confidence over time because succeeding at tasks reinforces your positive view of yourself. Conversely, higher levels of confidence often give rise to greater self-efficacy as people with high confidence in themselves generally believe they can succeed at new challenges.

This doesn’t mean that these traits always go hand-in-hand though. Positive Psychology explains that some people may have low confidence but display high levels of self-efficacy in certain areas due to their competence or skills therein – what we call ‘compartmentalized’ confidence.

Nurturing Both For Personal Growth

To improve both these aspects simultaneously involves understanding where your strengths lie while acknowledging areas needing improvement. Start by celebrating small victories: this will boost both immediate task-based self-efficacy and longer-term confidence.

Exercising Confidence

Here’s a very simple and fool-proof way of strengthening confidence.

Take a sock, roll it up in a ball, and place it in your hand face down. Now drop the sock.

You have successfully dropped the sock.

This might be a very silly exercise but pick the sock up and see how many times you can drop it within 10 seconds.

Most people will get faster at dropping the sock within 10 seconds and almost everyone in 20 seconds.

The Sock Drop Explained

When you want to improve your confidence, start with self-efficacy of something new but achievable. Successful repetition breeds high self-efficacy. For example, you might be scared the first time you jumped from a diving board but the hundredth time you’d be less scared.

The sock drop allows people to experience in less than 10 seconds what it’s like to improve and succeed, even if it’s at something silly.

The key is finding an aspect of the skill or action you want to become more confident in and working that out until you can expand to other pieces of the whole. Whether it’s public speaking or cliff diving, take a small part of the action like talking in front of a mirror or jumping from lower heights that is within your current comfort zone. Repetition paired with success strengthens confidence. and you can succeed at least 85% of the time for that sweet spot.

Zorro Circle

Confidence is built based on our belief we can perform actions to meet our expectations. You can’t talk about it without talking about locus of control. A great analogy is from the movie Zorro.

Zorro’s teacher drew a circle around Zorro and told him to define himself with his sword. It was only when Zorro was able to control the small circle did the teacher drew a bigger one. Once Zorro had mastered larger and larger circles he was told the world was his circle now. 

By focusing on small areas of our life we can start getting better at controlling our actions against encroaching distractions and keep on track with our tasks. 

You could start with something as simple as taping off a part of your messy desk and trying to keep that corner clear of clutter for a few weeks before expanding the taped area.

Another example is to spend just 5-10 minutes working on a task you typically procrastinate on until you can do it consistently before increasing the time to 20, 30, or 60 minutes.

Overcoming Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is like a silent whisper that questions your capabilities and worth. But it’s time to quieten this disruptive voice because the reality is – you are more capable than you think.

The Art of Positive Thinking

Fighting self-doubt requires training your mind towards positivity. Start by identifying negative thought patterns – those pesky “I can’t do this,” or “This won’t work out for me.”

Become an active challenger of these doubts. Each time they surface, confront them with evidence from past successes or positive qualities about yourself. It may feel strange at first but remember – brain plasticity lets us rewire our thinking habits over time.

Say Yes to Self-Affirmations

We frequently neglect to consider the potential impact of language on our opinion of ourselves and what we are able to do. Positive affirmations, therefore, become crucial tools against persistent self-deprecation.

Create a list of strong affirmative statements about yourself such as ‘I am competent,’ ‘I am valuable,’ or ‘My ideas matter.’ Repeating these regularly will slowly help chip away at layers of deep-seated doubt. Here is a comprehensive list of affirmations to get you started.

The Power of Action

Confronting uncertainty isn’t merely about transforming our intellectual operations; it’s also about taking action. It could be as simple as starting that project you’ve been postponing or reaching out to someone who can help with your career progression.

Taking even small steps towards your goals reinforces the belief in your abilities and diminishes self-doubt. Remember, every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.

Building Confidence Through Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations can be powerful tools to boost your self-confidence. They are simple, short statements that assert a desired state or goal as if it’s already achieved. You might think of them as mental pep talks.

Affirmations work by reshaping our subconscious beliefs and attitudes towards ourselves. By regularly repeating these positive phrases, we begin to believe in their truth and act accordingly.

The Science Behind Affirmations

There is solid science behind the effectiveness of affirmations. According to Psychology Today, repeated exposure to positive personal declarations rewires our brain patterns, enabling new ways of thinking.

This process relates closely with neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life – leading us towards more confident behaviors.

Crafting Effective Affirmations

To craft effective affirmations, they should be present-tense, positive statements about yourself or your goals that inspire confidence. For example: “I am capable”, “I handle challenges with grace”, or “My contributions are valuable”.

  • Precise: Be specific about what you want to achieve; vagueness may lead you astray from your objectives.
  • Inspirational: Your affirmation should evoke feelings of accomplishment and positivity.
  • Actionable: It must reflect something achievable for authenticity; outlandish claims won’t resonate deeply.

Making The Most Out Of Your Affirmations

To make the most out of your affirmations, consistency is key. Make it a daily habit to repeat them aloud or silently in your mind. You could also write them down in a journal or post them around your home as constant reminders.

Remember, confidence doesn’t come overnight. But with patience and persistence, these positive declarations can guide you towards greater self-belief and assertiveness over time.

Confidence in Communication

Confidence is an essential component for successful communication. But, why does this matter? Well, confident communicators are often perceived as more credible and persuasive.

The Power of Verbal Confidence

A strong voice can be a potent tool for displaying confidence. Maintaining an even tone and pace while speaking shows control and self-assuredness. So, practice controlling your vocal inflections – it could make all the difference.

You also need to get comfortable with silence. Remember that pauses aren’t awkward – they give you time to think about what you want to say next.

Making Eye Contact: A Key Indicator of Confidence

Eyes truly are windows into our souls. Direct eye contact demonstrates not only respect but also assurance in oneself.

Studies show consistent eye contact boosts perceptions of intelligence and trustworthiness too.

Gestures Speak Louder Than Words Sometimes

Your body language is another essential aspect of communicating confidently. Firm handshakes, open postures, expressive gestures — these non-verbal cues help convey confidence without uttering a single word.

  • ‘Power Poses’, such as standing tall with hands on hips (think Superman), can actually increase feelings of self-confidence according to researchers at Columbia University.
  • Smiling not only makes you seem approachable but also exudes self-assuredness.
  • Nodding in agreement shows engagement and can encourage the other person to open up more.

Acknowledge Your Worth

Confidence is rooted in understanding your value. Acknowledging your skills, knowledge, and strengths helps build this inner confidence that will shine through when communicating with others.

In short: be kind to yourself. Confidence comes from within, so start appreciating who you are today.

Maintaining Confidence in Difficult Times

When the going gets tough, keeping your chin up can feel like a Herculean task. But it’s during these trying times that our confidence needs us the most. So how do we hold onto it?

Embrace Failure as Part of Growth

No one enjoys failure, but embracing it as part of growth is key to maintaining confidence. Every misstep offers valuable lessons that help us improve and grow stronger.

J.K.Rowling’s TED talk on “The Fringe Benefits of Failure”, for example, beautifully encapsulates this idea.

Acknowledge Your Strengths

In challenging times, remembering your past victories can boost your morale significantly. Reflecting on moments where you overcame adversity helps rekindle self-confidence when things seem bleak.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

The people around us greatly influence our mood and outlook towards life. Purposefully surrounding yourself with positivity will foster an environment conducive to maintaining high spirits.

Invest Time in Self-Care

Tending to one’s physical needs can have a significant influence on emotional health. Regular exercise not only keeps you fit but also releases endorphins which are natural mood lifters.
Eating healthy food gives you energy while adequate sleep allows rejuvenation—both crucial components to staying resilient through rough patches. 

Persist, Don’t Desist

Maintaining perseverance in the face of difficulty is essential. Keep pushing forward no matter how hard it gets. Remember that diamonds are formed under pressure; your resilience will shape you into a stronger individual ready to take on any challenge life throws at you.

To sum up: maintaining confidence in difficult times requires acceptance of failure as part of growth, acknowledging strengths, fostering positivity around oneself, investing time in self-care, and most importantly—persisting against all odds.

Confidence-Boosting Activities and Hobbies

Participating in activities or starting a leisure pursuit could be an effective means of enhancing one’s self-assurance. Attempting activities that could offer a boost to one’s assurance may be worth exploring.

Public Speaking Practice

Public speaking is often intimidating, but it’s also a powerful confidence booster. Joining clubs like Toastmasters International lets you practice communication skills regularly, leading to increased comfort and assurance when addressing others.

Sports and Physical Activities

Sports don’t just improve physical health; they build mental resilience too. For instance, running has been shown to increase confidence as individuals see their progress over time (source). Similarly, yoga promotes mindfulness which helps foster inner peace and self-confidence.

Cooking Classes

A culinary journey can do wonders for your confidence. Cooking classes not only teach valuable life skills but let participants create something tangible – boosting feelings of competence. Plus, sharing your dishes with friends adds social validation.

Mindful Journaling

Mindful journaling, recording thoughts without judgment or distraction, provides clarity about personal strengths while highlighting areas for growth – both crucial components of building true self-confidence.

Remember that consistency matters most when it comes to these activities – so stick with them even if initial results aren’t as dramatic as you’d like. Confidence is a muscle that needs regular exercise to grow stronger, so keep at it.

FAQs in Relation to How to Be More Confident

How can I improve my confidence?

To boost your confidence, start by setting achievable goals and celebrating wins. Practice positive self-talk and embrace failures as learning opportunities. Surround yourself with uplifting people who encourage you.

Why do I lack confidence?

Lack of confidence often stems from negative experiences or beliefs about oneself. It could be due to criticism, failure, societal pressure or even perfectionism. Understanding these causes is the first step towards building self-confidence.


So, you’ve explored the depths of understanding confidence and its link with self-esteem.

You’ve discovered how to conquer self-doubt and use affirmations as powerful tools for building confidence. Impressive!

Nailing confident communication? Check. Learning how to be more confident in professional settings? Done that too.

Maintaining your cool during difficult times can seem like a challenge…but now, it’s within reach.

Picking up new hobbies or activities to boost personal confidence levels is no longer an unknown terrain but a fun adventure waiting for you.

In short: You’re equipped with all you need on this journey towards heightened self-confidence. It’s time to put these insights into action! So go ahead, embrace the courage within and let it shine bright!

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