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How to Gain Confidence: 5 Strategies That Actually Work

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I recently attended a senior executive meeting for an important budget discussion. I know, it doesn’t sound too exciting. But as I sat there with the brightest at my company, it got me thinking. How are these people different from the rest of us? That is, what’s the recipe that makes someone a CEO, while another remains a mid-level employee all their lives?

Naturally, all the people in the room were well-dressed, well-spoken, and well-educated in their respective fields. However, what truly made them stand out was their confidence. That inner feeling that they were exactly where they deserved to be in life, and that they had something of value to leave to the world.

So, what can we do to get on the other side where the grass is greener and the sun is warmer? The first thing to understand is that building confidence is a process, not a point in time. It’s an evolution. Or, even a better way to put it—it’s like going to the gym. If you want lasting results, you must sweat regularly. No one else can do the job for you.

Here are 5 confidence boosters that I’ve found to work—supported by research and tested by me in real life:

1. Mind Your Body

This one is largely intuitive. It’s hardly a great secret that “spreading large,” a firm handshake, or a stable eye contact are traits of an affirmative leader, and that sitting up straight and holding our head high can be instant confidence-boosters.

Body language matters. Psychologists place its importance between 70% and 90% of all our communication with the world. What’s more, people “thin-slice” us and can draw some pretty accurate conclusions about our personalities just by looking at us for a few seconds.

Given the lasting print of first impressions, we better make sure that we present a memorable image to the world. It’s within our power, so carry yourself with dignity. Choose every detail wisely.

“Deafness has left me acutely aware of both the duplicity that language is capable of and the many expressions the body cannot hide.” – Terry Galloway

2. The Hollywood Effect

If there is anything that Hollywood can teach us about confidence, it is  the art of “showing off.” That is, emphasize your strengths and talents whenever and wherever possible. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to have certain skills or mojos to start with, that will make you stand out in the first place. Clever branding and marketing can magnify these.

People who lack confidence usually have one thing in common — they try to avoid attracting attention to themselves. A bit of “bragging” will help position our personal brand in others’ orbits with positive and lasting effects.

Success is about two things — knowing your worth, but also helping the world discover how unique you are. No matter how many special talents we may possess, if no one knows about them, what good does it do? Mention your skills often. Be proud of them. Let them shine. However, don’t overdo it. Narcissists and extreme show-offs are not anyone’s favorite folks. So, shine bright, and let the world find you by following your light.

3. Survival of the Fittest

Darwin taught us many years ago that it’s not the strongest of the species that survive but the ones that can best adapt to their environments. It’s a desirable trait to nurture, especially in terms of self-esteem.

A large part of having healthy confidence lies in meeting our human need to belong, to connect with others, to fit in—be it in a group, on the sports team, or the work outing.

Becoming more likeable is often as simple as listening to people, taking interest in their stories and having a desire to help. And no, it’s not about acting fake. It simply means developing a better understanding of others, and trying to walk in their shoes. Small gestures result in great benefits, so learn to look at the world from different angles.

4. The Zen Factor

Meditation is quite important not only for our sanity but for our self-esteem too. Science tells us that there we receive approximately one billion stimuli in our brains every second. We filter out most but there are still around 100 sensations we keep for processing.

Naturally, with such an overflow of information, it’s no wonder we let self-doubts, indecisiveness and negative thinking sneak in. This is when we can resort to the Zen masters’ wisdom—that by learning to empty our cups of all anxiety and noise, we can see the world differently from the position of strength, heightened attentiveness, and a focus on living “in the now.”

Meditation also taps into the idea of self-reflection, of taking stock of what we did well and what we can do better next time around. 10 minutes a day is all the time we need to rewire our brain so that we can become the more positive, confident and relaxed version of ourselves. In the end, breathe in calmness, and breathe out worry.

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” – Mark Black

5. Expertise and Authority

The most natural way to emit confidence is when it’s done from the position of authority or as an expert. We all tend to pay close attention to such individuals and believe pretty much everything they say because they “know their stuff.”

Building in-depth knowledge will certainly gain us lots of brownie points with others; mainly, in the form of respect and appreciation. “Knowing our stuff” will also breed confidence as it makes us better prepared to face the world, to weather adversities, and to combat self-doubt. It is up to you to find your strengths and passions in order to become the best you can at what you do.

Going back to my executive meeting. Is it possible, I asked myself, for anyone really to become the next CEO of their company, or a famous writer, or even an astronaut, if that’s what they want in life?

Absolutely. Of course, you will probably need to build the knowledge and experience first. But above all,  you need to start believing in yourself, in your stars, and in your strengths.

When you lack confidence in yourself, what do you do to boost that missing confidence? Let us know in the comments below!

Evelyn Marinoff is a writer and an aspiring author. She holds a degree in Finance and Marketing,  works in client consulting, and spends her free time reading, writing and researching ideas in psychology, leadership, well-being and self-improvement. On her website evelynmarinoff.com, she writes tips and pieces on self-enhancement and confidence. You can also find her on Twitter at @Evelyn_Marinoff.

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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