How to Improve ConfidenceBy Adam Sinicki
Being confident is one of the greatest gifts you can possess and it's one of the most effective ways to succeed in every area of life. If you've ever stood having a conversation with someone – someone who isn't necessarily particularly important to your success – and found yourself nervous about what you're going to say next, about whether or not you might stumble on your words, and about whether or not you're making a good impression – then wouldn't it be great to just have that easy feeling of confidence. That controlled calm and that sense of ease that some people seem to exert so easily? If you can build confidence, then you can be like those guys who seem to just be at ease and command an audience wherever they go.
How Confidence Building Will Improve Your Life
Confidence will make you successful in many other areas of your life. This is firstly because if you seem to have self confidence, then people will presume that you have a reason to have self confidence. They will think that you are successful and hold the cards (or else why would you act so confident?) and as a result they will want to try and win your respect and people will want to associate with you and will place their confidence in you. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will and that's why confidence building will affect every area of your life.
In careers for instance if you use effective confidence building techniques the you'll manage to make people think that you are capable enough to be trusted in positions of high responsibility and in charge of lots of money. Meanwhile in relationships acting confident is attractive because it means you aren't afraid to flaunt yourself and to be desired, but also because people will assume again that you're confident for a reason. They'll think that they're punching above their weight because you seem so confident – you must be cool right?
It helps in other ways too though. Once you have used successful confidence tips for confidence building you will find you take more risks which ultimately pays out in higher rewards. Likewise you will find that you feel just happier about yourself, and that you are more interested in talking to people and pushing yourself and that you grow more as a person as a result. The more confident you are, the more you will test yourself, and the more you test yourself, the more confident you'll become. It's just like training your muscles in the gym (and that's why things like confidence building and bodybuilding go hand in hand).
What is Confidence?
However despite knowing that confidence building is important, many people still understandably are left asking the question 'what is confidence'? Certainly there are many different types of confidence, and it's partly where you draw your confidence from that will make you happy and fulfilled. You can be highly confident in one area of your life – say your running ability – but be a nervous wreck in the rest. Self esteem confidence then is your sense of self worth, but that won't necessarily mean you're an extroverted alpha male (or alpha female).
You need to be confident in all your abilities then, and you need to make sure that you have the ability to judge yourself by your own standards – not to derive your confidence from other people. That's where real self esteem confidence comes from. So the first real key to confidence is to work towards something worth while, to know what you're doing, to have a mission statement. Then who cares if you stutter in conversation?
That said, it can help to train your confidence in specific situations. One of the main situations most people want confidence is in social situations – and this is again really what it comes down to. It's knowing that it doesn't matter that people are watching and judging you – because hell you're judging them just as much. And if they think you made a fool of yourself who cares? You don't have to see them again. Social confidence is all about really not actually caring what other people think, and about getting your self esteem confidence from yourself and from your plans.
Here then are some confidence tips to help you build towards being that kind of confident:
Find Your Purpose: As we've said, if you know what you're doing and you feel you have some kind of mission in life then that will help you to become impervious to judgements – you're building towards your goals and that's all that matters right? Of course getting such a mission is a whole new article in itself, but try thinking about where you want to be five years from now, what you offer to the world, what you're good at, and what you really care about. Focus on that, whether it's your career or bringing up a family, and think about how you get purpose from life. And then think – who really cares if you don't 'look cool' next time you speak out? The irony is that if you speak up and say things that come from your own 'mission statement' then you'll sound confident and people will be impressed. If you try and latch onto their principles and agree with everything they say to avoid saying anything wrong then you'll look wet and you won't impress anyone. Don't chase after confidence or ask 'what is confidence' but let it flow from your sense of certainty about what you have to do.
Practice/Train: It's all very good and well to say that you need to stop worrying about what other people think and to find your mission, but really letting go of what people think is a tricky one. One of the best confidence tips out their then is to simply practice pushing your comfort zone. If you are generally concerned about making a fool of yourself in front of strangers or not being liked, then one of the best confidence tips is to try going into a shop (one you won't have to go in again any time soon) and then making a fool of yourself in front of the shop attendant on purpose. Put on a funny voice, purposefully drop your cash, and generally give them every reason to look down their nose at you. And when you notice that that wasn't so bad, then you'll be able to just relax next time you're in this situation.
Another good technique is to purposefully crash and burn. To do this, simply make the biggest fool of yourself possible. I used to get nervous pissing in public urinals. I'm not sure why but my thought process went 'If I stand here too long it will look weird. People will think I'm just hanging out here to look at their dicks. It's already weird'. The first step to solving this problem was realising that everyone in the loo in a pub (where it tended to happen) is drunk so probably wouldn't notice how long I'd been there. Then I subsequently realised that even if they did – so what? Being the guy who stares at dicks in the loo is just funny. So then I tried it: I stood in the loo and just stayed there for ten minutes doing nothing and smiling at people as they came in. And you know what? There were no big repercussions big surprise! You can break almost any anxiety disorder this way.
Finding these situations funny is also a great way to solve the problem – stutter all you like and make a mess of things sometimes. It's just funny. If you take things less seriously then you won't be so nervous – simple.
So you can purposefully say the worst things possible, or stutter so much you fall completely silence and this will ironically be great for confidence building. At the same time though you can just put yourself in situations you wouldn't normally – sing karaoke, go to interviews for the hell of it (when you don't need the job), go to big parties and start up conversations (to prevent the awkward silence just ask what they did today, and what they're doing tomorrow), and accept any invitation to test yourself.
One of the best confidence building experiences anyone can do is to get a job working with the public. It forces you to interact and after not long you learn you can do it fine. Even if you don't need the money then, taking up a small day job is a great plan.
Positive Affirmations: Positive affirmations are a confidence building exercises used in cognitive behavioural therapy which consist of repeating positive statements to yourself. The idea then is that these become habit and you start to generally think that way. These then replace thoughts like 'I'm going to choke' with 'I'm great at talking'. What I actually prefer to use instead of positive affirmations are 'indifferent affirmations'. These confidence building exercises consist of things more along the lines of 'who cares if I choke?'. These are a lot less wet and they're easy to believe if you have low self esteem. So I replaced 'people think I'm looking at their dicks' with 'who cares... maybe I like looking at their dicks?'.
Enjoy the Challenge: You should also learn to just enjoy the challenge of these tests. Whenever you're in a situation where you're nervous this is training. It's like the gym. And who doesn't love the gym? In other words then when you're giving a presentation or mingling with people you don't know, relish the opportunity to try and impress them. Focus on the conversation and on coming up with witty answers and enjoy the fact that it's building your abilities further. Little things like talking more slowly can help to make you present better so just enjoy testing these things and seeing what works. If it doesn't work then who cares – you've learned and you can move on. It's like tennis, or chess and you are in competition with the other person. The great thing is that they probably don't even know it. Advantage: you.
Know You've Just As Much Right to Judge: Often we're unconfident because we want approval, or because we're afraid of putting a foot wrong and getting in trouble. But understand that we live in a democracy where all men and women are equal – just because someone is higher up in the chain of command doesn't mean they are superior to you and you are certainly just as important. You may well be smarter than them, younger than them, and generally have more going for you. So if they judge you or shout at you don't get upset – judge them as rude.
When it's someone who's not your boss it's so much easier. Recognise that most people are just as nervous talking to you as you are to them. And think – what are they honestly going to do if they don't like you? Shout a bit, but as soon as they see you don't care it will be empty. They might walk away, but you'll never see them again. Who cares?
Have Contingency Plans: What really helps is to have a contingency plan and a backup plan. I have high confidence partly because I'm self employed. This is just great because it means no one can fire me and I'm my own boss. Technically I can get away with claiming I'm a CEO (though I have no staff...) so that means I'm important right? Maybe... But regardless of the reality it means that if something doesn't go right for me I'm not going to lose everything. If I intend an interview for a fitness modelling gig or something (it's happened!) I don't need it quite as badly for my financial well being. People can sense that too – and because you're not needy they'll be more likely to want you as they'll think you have something great to offer. When it comes to relationships have the same thing – until you have found someone you really like and want to try dating then make sure you have a few options open – messaging people and flirting with friends etc. Make sure that you organise your life so that you don't desperately rely on anything.
Look the Part: Lastly just looking the part is a great way to be confident and feel better about yourself. To achieve this all you need to do is to put some time into your appearance. You'll feel like you should be in a better job and so you'll start to act like it, and eventually it will start to become a reality. So get an expensive haircut, go to the gym (this also means you can be physically confident – knowing that if it came down to it, you could beat someone up), buy a jacket to throw over your shirts and t-shirts to make them smart, buy a nice watch (it can be a knock off no one will know) and exfoliate. It will all just create an image of someone who has it all together and your confidence building will flow from that.