The bottom line is: Life is easier with self-confidence. When you’re confident about yourself, it just becomes a whole lot smoother to achieve your goals, dreams and desires, and you start feeling more comfortable in any situation. It gives you the power to conquer your challenges, no matter how impossible they seem. As the great English writer and essayist, Samuel Johnson quoted, “Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings,” someone who is self-confident has a strong sense of certainty and an awareness of self, which makes them assured in their own abilities.
My definition for self-confidence is “The state of being that comes from surviving difficulties while achieving the goal.”
A lot of people have low confidence because of past events in their life. Are you one of them? Do you wish you had greater self-confidence? No matter how you feel about yourself, remember that you are not broke, nor do you require any fixing. As an individual, you are naturally creative, resourceful and complete when it comes to you and your life. Stay with this perspective and you will set yourself up for improved levels of self-confidence.
Luckily, as human beings, the single most thing that differentiates us from animals and that you can ever do to make your life work is making choices. And, building and boosting self-confidence is all about making that choice. All in all, I have found five main habits to improve self-confidence.
Be a sharp dresser
Wearing torn, old, or faded clothes negatively affects your confidence. Research shows that dressing well can boost your self-esteem. You don’t have to spend an enormous amount of money on expensive designer outfits. When you are shopping you can be frugal yet buy nice clothes. You’ll probably end up having fewer pieces of clothing, but the ones you have will bring you confidence each time you leave your house. Dressing smartly is an outside-in approach, where you adopt actions to induce confidence in yourself.
Each time you notice a negative thought about yourself, replace it with something more positive. A negative thought leads to undervaluing your capabilities and drains your self-confidence. John Assaraf (a NY Times best-selling author and the founder of NeuroGym) shares a simple technique to make this switch possible: AIA. AIA stands for Awareness (or Acknowledgement), Intention and Action. With AIA, anytime you have a thought about not accomplishing something, the first step is to acknowledge it. Get familiar with it – Understand that the thought’s not you, but just a part of you. What that does is it makes you aware of your negative thoughts, and you instantly deactivate the stress circuit in your brain. Then, create an intention to move around it. Do you want to remain stressed and anxious about this negative thought? Or do you want to side-step it and move forward? Take a deep breath and state your intention to create a positive thought. So, after you have created and stated your intention the next A in AIA is action. What’s that one thing, not 10; just one thing you could do right now to move you one step towards the intention you have stated earlier? Take that action.
Speak slower, listen and focus on connecting
Although this may seem a bit strange but, research shows that people who have higher self-esteem talk slower. They take intentional and forced pauses. Remember, your words matter and you don’t have to rush them to express yourself. People who are not confident in their words tend to speak very fast and get through with their part and be done. Second, listen, really listen. This is the most important step in any conversation. Most of the time people just think about what they’re going to say next in a conversation instead of truly listening to the other person. Listening for verbal and non-verbal cues is very important in building your self-confidence. When you listen out for the other person, you can take note of what stands out, and then comment on it, or share a similar experience, or just ask questions that can miraculously launch your conversations into meaningful territories. And then, when you are speaking slowing and listening, focus not on yourself, but rather on connecting with the people you are speaking to. If there is one thing you should remember as you try to connect with new people, it’s this: People love to talk about themselves.
Volunteer more often
Volunteering can raise your confidence levels in multiple ways. First, volunteering can increase your skills. Second, it can show you that others value your work and your ideas. Third, volunteering can also help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Lastly, it gives you the ability to give back. You’ll learn to appreciate life more and that’s a boon to your self-confidence.
Yes, you heard me right – start making lists. There are several types of lists you can make to increase confidence. The first is a list of your accomplishments. Dig deep and include all of the rewards, ribbons, and other prizes you’ve won. Include things from both the past and present on this list. The second list the things that you’re grateful for right now. This list will show you that you have many things in your life that matter and make you happy. The third list is a list of affirmations or positive suggestions. This list will help instil a sense of clarity and purpose, making conditions favorable for you and helping you stay confident.
If you incorporate these habits into your daily routines, you’ll enjoy increased self-confidence very quickly. The longer you follow these strategies, the greater your new-found confidence will grow. Go Champion!