How to build more self-confidence
There are many people who would like to feel more confident. There are many people who feel self-doubt. They have a nagging self-doubt that is expressed as a small voice inside their head, which tells them:
- "You won't be able to do it".
- "You can't do it".
- "If you try you will probably fail because the others are better than you."
As a consequence these people feel a lack of self-confidence.
There is a second group of people who don't suffer from a lack of confidence. Instead they have an encouraging voice inside their head: a voice that urges them forwards. The encouraging voice says:
- "If you put the work in, then you can do it!"
- "You can achieve anything you set your mind to".
As a consequence these people feel more self-confident
As a general rule you are better off if you have sufficient self-confidence.
But many people say that they lack self-confidence.
So the question we would like to answer is:
How can you develop more self-confidence?
The first thing to do is to break the question down into smaller sets. There are different aspects to self-confidence. There are at least three different aspects to self-confidence.
- General self-confidence. Your general background level of confidence.
- Confidence in respect to a specific task.
- Your ability to project and communicate to others, that you have self-confidence.
Let us make a note on each one.
1. General self-confidence. Your general background level of confidence
Your general self-confidence is a function of what you say to yourself, inside the confines of your own mind, and how you use your imagination.
You have two basic options.
- To use your self talk and imagination to psych yourself out.
- To use your self-talk and imagination to psych yourself up.
All confident people have decided to use their imagination to psych themselves up. They picture themselves as doing well. All self-doubters have (unconsciously) decided to use their imaginations to psych themselves out. They picture themselves doing badly.
You need to make a conscious, rational and committed decision to purposefully use your imagination to see yourself doing better in the future, than you have in the past.
If using your imagination to visualise successful outcomes is new to you, then stick with it.
Like any new habit it will take time to sink in.
But remember that creative visualisation is the foundation of all achievement.
2. Confidence in respect to a specific task
Confidence is context related. For example you would feel more confident about achieving the task of driving to Rome in a car, than you would if I asked you to pilot a helicopter to Rome. Presumably you are not that confident about your helicopter piloting skills.
It is obvious that confidence, to a large degree is the result of your assessment of your capabilities and skills. If you think that you are capable and skilled in a certain area, then your confidence will increase. And if you think that you are incapable and unskilled in a certain area, then your confidence will decrease. So you can say that confidence is a function of competence.
Generally, the more competent you are, the more confident you are.
So in order to gain confidence, study.
Gain knowledge. Practice. Prepare yourself. Work harder and longer. Get yourself ready in advance of the event. Don't try to conjure up confidence without underpinning it with solid competence.
If you don't know what you're doing, then how can you feel confident?
If you make sure that you do know what you are doing, well in advance, then you will feel well prepared, well organised and ready. Which is the same as feeling confident.
3. Your ability to project and communicate to others, that you have self-confidence
Some people don't come across as confident in their communication. And the reason for that is that they don't use their words, voice tones, and body language correctly.
So here are a few tips on each set.
Use confident words
Never depreciate yourself in your own speech. Don't belittle yourself verbally in conversation.
Many, many people inadvertently undercut themselves and their credibility by using self-derogatory terms when making reference to themselves.
For example I heard a woman say, last week, "Well, it was all too much for my little brain to take in".
I heard another person say, "I don't know anything about this, but, for what it's worth, personally, I think, if we can, we should try to do X".
This kind of speech carries little weight. No persuasive power. No conviction.
If you want to sound more confident, say things straight out, without qualification.
For example, say, "Capitalism is better than socialism, and here is why.........".
Or "Socialism is better than capitalism, and here is how I can prove it.......".
Confident people speak up louder.
People with a lack of confidence tend to speak quieter.
So if you want to appear more confident, try speaking slightly louder.
In relation to confidence, the most important piece of body language is your eye contact.
Confident people look at you directly in the eye, as they speak (in a strong voice tone) about their clearly stated opinions.
People who lack self-confidence often don't give sufficient eye contact.
If you want to look more confident practice looking at people in the eye.
Purposefully increase the intensity and duration and frequency of your eye contact.
Then people will regard you as a more confident person.
And those people, who feel more confident, tend to achieve more and tend to feel happier.