Researchers consistently find a correlation between success and self-confidence. Self-confident people are generally perceived as more attractive, better salespeople, and more commanding in front of a crowd. They also believe that they can take more risks and they’ll be able to handle whatever life may throw their way. This naturally leads to more opportunities.
Here are some steps you can take to build these characteristics in yourself and eventually feel more confident:
- Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of you.
You’ll never know what other people truly think of you. But less-confident people are often overcome by self-doubt based on what they think others think of them. They can’t be fully present, and they’re not comfortable with their true selves. They’re constantly beset by self-doubt regarding their confidence, intelligence, appearance, and success. When you catch yourself worrying about it, concentrate instead on the confidence you want to communicate.
- Look other people in the eye when you speak to them.
- Turn small talk into a constructive conversation.
- Ask good questions.
- Stand up straight and smile.
It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking: smiling will communicate confidence. It also highly correlates with a person being perceived as likable or not. On the other hand, slouching conveys a lack of faith in yourself. If slouching is a habit of yours, post a note on your bathroom mirror or your computer monitor’s bezel with an upward-pointing arrow drawn in thick red marker. This will remind you to correct your posture.
- Roll your shoulders back.
- Imagine a string is being pulled from the top of your head.
- As the string pulls your spine elongates and your chin raises into a naturally forward-facing position.
- Finally, smile!
- Build your physical strength.
Strength training doesn’t necessarily require a significant investment of time. As little as 20 minutes once or twice a week can markedly affect your level of self-confidence. Strength training can help you lose weight, as your metabolism increases with more muscle mass. It also tones your core muscles—your abs, back, and hips—which helps align and stabilize your spine and improves your posture. See #2 above.
- Invest in your looks.
People who look nice naturally feel better about themselves. When people think they’re physically attractive, they believe they belong to a higher social class, regardless of their true social status or how good looking they naturally are. Here are some easy and basic upgrades you can consider.
- Buy a new outfit.
- Get a flattering haircut.
- Fix your dental problems.
- Consult a professional skincare specialist.
The investment will be worth it. Your newly confident self will thank you!
- Talk more positively to yourself.
How would you feel if someone sat next to you said that you’re ugly, fat, slow, dumb, and so on? You wouldn’t take it from them, right? Don’t take it from yourself, either! Pay attention to what you say to yourself inside your head. The key is to step outside of yourself and listen to your self-talk as if you were somebody else. Then, when you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, such as, “There’s no way I can do this,” turn them into positive thoughts, such as “I can do this. I’ll do my best.” Encourage yourself in your thought life in the same way you’d encourage somebody else. You’re worth it.
- Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Learn from them.
Confident people understand that nobody is perfect, so how you handle mistakes is important. No matter how badly you just messed up, the world is not going to end. Ask yourself how important the mistake will seem in three months. If your mistake was made at work, acknowledge your error, take responsibility, and vow you’ll do better moving forward.
- Improve your public speaking skills.
If public speaking isn’t your forte, building this important skill will boost your self-confidence. Take a public speaking course, or just write a speech and ask a group of family and friends to listen. It may feel awkward, but you’ll learn valuable skills like streamlining what you want to say and appearing in front of a crowd.
- Participate in an improv workshop.
This may sound intimidating, but it’s especially effective. Improvisational theater is a skill that can help build success both in the business world and in life in general. In improv, you’re typically given a situation and a location and must create a worthwhile story while interacting with several other people. This type of acting forces people to react quickly, listen carefully, and increase their comfort level with uncertainty, all traits that self-confident people possess. Plus, it’s another way to get up and speak in front of an audience. See #7 above.
- Be inquisitive.
In the spirit of becoming a better conversationalist, show interest in other people. Here are some good questions you can ask to help people start talking about themselves:
- What are you excited about at the moment?
- Are you struggling with anything right now?
- What’s next on your schedule?
Also, be prepared to answer such questions yourself. This brings us to #10…
- Always have a good story ready to share.
You should always strive to answer the query “What’s up?” with anything besides “Not much.” This is true even if your life is calm and lacks drama and adventure right now. Confident people are skilled conversationalists. Here are some questions you could use to get your storytelling juices flowing.
- Are you looking forward to a vacation?
- Do you have any home improvement projects underway?
- Where do you need to drive your kids next? Which work projects are going on?
These should help you have interesting things to talk about when somebody else starts a conversation with you.
Self-confidence doesn’t depend on other people’s approval. You define it and you create it, so it can’t possibly rely on the perception of others. You are the only person who can genuinely boost your self-confidence.