Self-confidence has little to do with intelligence or intellectual capacity and our society bear this fact. There are so many educated people with PhDs and certifications that lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. In fact, most people who experience what psychologists call imposter syndrome are educated. So, what has that got to tell us about self-confidence?
Self-confidence has little to do with external factors but has more to do with our mindset, how we see and perceive ourselves. The stories we tell ourselves have a way of impacting the way we think about ourselves. Those who have confidence in themselves have over the years developed their mental strength, they appreciate themselves and their abilities.
For those who lack confidence, it can be attributed to a lack of trust in themselves.
Before we proceed with the definition and meaning of self-confidence, kindly take a look at the following statements and see if any applies to you.
- You care too much about what people think or say about you.
- You always stay in your comfort zone, and always afraid of looking foolish in front of your friends or pairs.
- Fear failure, and consciously avoid taking a risk at work, relationship, school, business, community, club, etc. because you can’t bear the thought of being a failure or perceived as so.
- You’re constantly worried that you’re not good enough.
- You compare yourself with others and wish you were like them.
- Undercharge for your services.
- You consciously avoid confrontation and let people take advantage of you.
- Easily dismiss compliments, and avoid taking compliments for your actions.
- You constantly look for praise and approval from others, and not getting it makes you feel bad.
While it is true that we can’t all be confident in every area of our lives, the question is, are you confident in areas that matter the most in your life. Are you daring and going after what you desire in life or are you letting fear immobilize you from enjoying the good things of life?
“There’s no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” ~ Nelson Mandela
If I have learned anything in life, business, and in public speaking, it is that your level of confidence says a lot about who you are and what you’re capable of, it is what determines how far you go in life and the level of success you go on to achieve. Intelligence alone is not a prerequisite for self-confidence.
What is Self Confidence?
Self-confidence is defined as the feeling of trust in one’s abilities and capabilities without self-doubts. Self-confidence is what guarantees that we’ll go after what we want in life.
Why do People Lack Confidence?
“Throw a man into the water over his head and the experience might teach him how to swim. The same experience might cause another to drown” ~ Maxwell Malts.
Self-confidence has to do with experiences – past experiences of things, and events. Most of our lack of confidence stems from our early childhood. The criticisms, insults, and past failures we encounter while growing up all goes into destroying one’s confidence in themselves.
There’s nothing that hurts a man’s ego like failing. While some people get to discover themselves during challenges and failures, for many, it destroys their self-worth. Self-worth is what determines our values, and our values determine our level of confidence.
Another reason why most people lack confidence can be attributed to the excessive comparison. They unfavorably compare themselves to others who they perceive to be doing very well. It creates doubts and forces one to avoid taking on risk.
Why is Self-Confidence Important?
The major cause of sadness, resentment, and unhappiness in our world today has to do with people not living their true potential. This has to do with the fact that most people are too scared to go after what they want in life.
The following are a few reasons why self-confidence is so important:
- Self-confidence primes one to take on risks necessary for actualizing the desired goal in life.
- Your earnings have a direct correlation to your level of self-confidence in life. Imagine if you are in the service industry and you don’t trust yourself or you lack the necessary confidence to act or market your services or products. The chances of making profits are low and you’ll always find excuses or reasons not to sell.
- Many people today end up either lonely or with people they don’t actually love just because they lacked the confidence to approach the person they admire or love. Having confidence in yourself is what determines if you love yourself enough to ask that special someone out for a date.
How to Develop Self-Confidence
There are many ways in which we can increase our confidence level, and the majority of the approach falls under controlling our thoughts, and also developing good habits.
Psychologist has proved beyond reasonable doubt the efficiency of visualization. It is said that our brain and nervous system cannot tell the difference between real experience from our imaginations. Our minds will always accept and act upon what we give it.
“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill
For someone who lacks the necessary confidence, the best way to develop one is to visualize yourself as being confident and deserving of whatever you want. It revolves around developing an image in your mind of who you want to become, and acting it out.
Life is all about perceptions, and the reason why you are lacking confidence is that you’re having the wrong perception about yourself, and your abilities. Change it.
2. Question Every Negative Thought
We are often our worst critics. We criticize ourselves over little things, judge, and place labels upon ourselves because of past events. Someone who failed at something can be quick to label themselves as failures without questioning that thought. Supposed you failed at school, or relationship, or whatever the case. Does it truly mean you have failed at every other thing in life?
Does it mean you’ve never done anything worthwhile in life?
Of course, it’s not so.
Congratulate yourself whenever you achieve something meaningful no matter how small it might be, be grateful and always appreciate yourself.
3. Engage in Positive Self-Talk
“Affirmations are a powerful tool to deliberately install desired beliefs about yourself.” ~ Nikki Carnevale
Self-talks are affirmations that send a message to the brains about how we feel about ourselves. This process has been psychologically proven to increase our mental strength and our level of confidence.
For every negative thought or comment, you make about yourself, list out ten positives things that make you great. Say it loudly to yourself and believe it as you say it.
Exercise has a great way of improving our self-esteem and self-image. It is psychologically proven that exercise can improve our mood, and also performance. It is natural that when you feel good about yourself, you also become confident.
If you’re lacking confidence, it could be that you’re out of shape. Or maybe you need a mood enhancement. So, try exercising regularly because it can help you develop the confidence you need.
Exercise builds your mental strength and helps you to be more resilient.
5. Try Something That Scares you
One of the best ways to overcome our fears is to face it head-on. You’ll be surprised that your fears are usually false beliefs.
What differentiates people who are confident and those lacking confidence is that those who are confident have familiarized themselves with a lot of uncomfortable situations and have mastered them. And the best way to go about it is to do something that scares you often. Push yourself, you’d be surprised at what you can do and achieve.
Confidence can only be built when you step out of your comfort zone.
6. Improve on your Physical Appearance
Changes in appearance have more to do with how your dress and how you carry yourself. People who dress smart are usually by default perceived as important. And the feeling of being important also has a way of boosting our self-esteem and also confidence.
Dress smartly, and improve on your physical posture because your physical posture says a lot about your level of confidence. Slouching sends a strong signal to other people that you are either weak, sad or lacking confidence.
So, if you’re lacking confidence, try dressing properly, and practice self-love. Take good care of yourself.
7. Avoid the Comparison Trap
“Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Comparisons are one of the greatest disservices we humans do to ourselves. When you compare yourself to others, you don’t only reduce your confidence; it also has a way of destroying your self-worth.
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ~ Marilyn Monroe
Understand that you’re unique and no two people on earth are the same, everyone has their own unique abilities and talents. Comparison only breeds resentment and envy which can also lead to you feeling bad about yourself. When you feel bad about yourself, you limit your ability and destroy your level of confidence.
Appreciate who you are and stop the unnecessary comparison.
8. Avoid Negative Environment and People
It is said that you’re the average of the five people you spend your time with.
Negative people have a way of impacting our lives negatively. They’re always pessimistic about everything, and they know ways in which things will never work.
Take out time to evaluate your circle and your relationships, evaluate the people you spend time with including your family. Understand how they influence your attitude and thoughts. And If they impact on you negatively then it’s time to disassociate from them.
9. Start Small then Scale (Get Started with small goals)
One of the major reasons why most people fail in life is because they set goals that are too big for them to achieve. When they fail, they feel bad and it ends up hurting their confidence level.
Starting small is a way of compounding your successes, these little successes then make an impression on your mindset and it reinforces the fact that you are good enough, and that you have what it takes to achieve more successes. It’s called the power of the compound effect.
10. Practice Self-Love
“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” ~ Parker Palmer
We all make mistakes in life, and we’re all going to experience some form of failure in our lives. How we perceive the failures or mistakes we make determines how we’ll treat ourselves. If you feel stupid for failing or for making mistakes, you’ll only send a message to your subconscious mind that you’re unworthy. This can have a strong effect on your self-image and confidence level.
Always forgive yourself when you make a mistake, accept the outcome as it is and avoid putting on negative labels to it. Appreciate your uniqueness, and treat yourself nicely.
You only have one life to live, so enjoy it and take good care of yourself.
Self-confidence is like a muscle, and like every muscle, it can be expanded. If for any reason you feel you’re lacking confidence, don’t beat yourself up. Simply work on it. Appreciate yourself and avoid negative self-talk and environments.
You’re Unique, embrace your uniqueness.