When others tell you to be more confident, you think: “If only it were that simple.”
In truth, it is.
Take the belief that you are valuable, worthwhile and capable, also known as self-esteem, add in the optimism that comes when you are certain of your abilities and then, empowered by these, act courageously to face a challenge head-on. This is confidence. It turns thoughts into actions.
There are several factors that impact confidence. One: what you’re born with, such as your genes. Two: how you’re treated. This includes the social pressure of your environment. And three: the part you have control over, the choices you make, the risks you take and how you think about and respond to challenges and setbacks. It isn’t possible to completely untangle these three factors, but the personal choices we make certainly play a major role in confidence development.
So, by keeping in mind a few practical tips, we do actually have the power to cultivate our own confidence.
Tip 1: A quick fix
There are a few tricks that can give you an immediate confidence boost in the short term. Picture your success when you’re beginning a difficult task, something as simple as listening to music with deep bass; it can promote feelings of power. You can even strike a powerful pose or give yourself a pep talk.
Tip 2: Believe in your ability to improve
If you’re looking for a long-term change, consider the way you think about your abilities and talents. Do you think they are fixed at birth, or that they can be developed like a muscle?
These beliefs matter because they can influence how you act when you’re faced with setbacks. If you have a fixed mindset, meaning that you think your talents are locked in place, you might give up, assuming you’ve discovered something you’re not very good at. But if you have a growth mindset and think your abilities can improve, a challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. On average, people who have a growth mindset are more successful, and do better in the face of challenges.
Tip 3: Practice failure:
Face it; you’re going to fail sometimes. Everyone does. J.K. Rowling was rejected by twelve different publishers before one picked up “Harry Potter.” Studies show that those who fail regularly and keep trying anyway are better equipped to respond to challenges and setbacks in a constructive way. They learn how to try different strategies, ask others for advice and persevere.
So, think of a challenge you want to take on, realize it’s not going to be easy, accept that you’ll make mistakes and be kind to yourself when you do. Give yourself a pep talk, stand up and go for it. The excitement you’ll feel knowing that whatever the result, you’ll have gained greater knowledge and understanding: this is confidence.
Eric Faria is an Emotional Intelligence Coach. He has participated in self-development trainings since 2005, using these tools in his professional coaching. He graduated from an International Coach Federation program in January 2014. Eric lives in Connecticut, and in addition to working with private clients, he gives motivational talks. For more information, or to contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org