All other things being equal, self-confidence is usually the single ingredient that determines whether a person is successful or unsuccessful.
Self-confidence is not something you are born with; it is acquired. Having self-confidence means you know what your talents are and believe that these talents will help you achieve your goals. It is having faith in your own abilities. It is how you feel about yourself.
To build a successful life, self-confidence is even more important than talent, knowledge, and hard work. When you are confident, you are more likely to take action on your goals. The success of any undertaking starts when you believe in your ability at the start.
How you see yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. When you are self-confident, you are more determined, better equipped to establish positive relationships, and more likely to achieve your goals. Self-confident people are usually more positive, and as a result, more fun to be around.
Your self-confidence is demonstrated in your behavior, your body language, how you look (bearing), how you act, what you say, and how you say it. When you look, act, and sound confident, you will be confident. Since how you look, how you act, what you say, and how you say it are behaviors, self-confidence can be learned.
People who are self-confident are willing to take calculated risks and do more than others might think is possible.
Perhaps you were belittled as a child by your family, teachers or friends for your looks, lack of athletic ability, or for some other reason. These experiences can shake your self-confidence and lead you to believe that you are not worthy of success.
Perhaps you have had some serious set-backs financially, physically, mentally or in one or more relationships. These experiences can also reduce your self-confidence.
Perhaps, for whatever reason, you have fallen into the trap of using negative self-talk such as, “I’m not good at math,” “I’m a poor reader, student, athlete, etc.;” “I’m not very coordinated.” Focusing and dwelling on what you perceive to be negative traits or lack of ability only adds to low self-confidence and keeps you from achieving what you are capable of attaining.
Many people are harder on themselves than they are on other people. We get down on ourselves for relatively small mistakes. We believe that other people are smarter than us, are better in some way, or are more confident. This trend can be damaging to our self-confidence and ability to create a successful life.
You can learn to be more confident just as you learned to read, write, to drive a car or anything else you’ve learned. Listed below are twenty things you can do to increase your self-confidence and create a more successful life.
To increase your self-confidence:
- Look at your past accomplishments. Write down all the things you’ve accomplished thus far in your life. We take a lot of things for granted and overlook, or discount, many of the things we’ve accomplished, e.g. we’ve learned to walk, talk, ride a bicycle, drive a car, use a computer, and much, much more.
- Look at your strengths. What do you do well? What do you have a passion for? What comes easy to you? Which of your talents gets the most attention from other people?
- Know your limitations. Everyone has limitations. When you recognize an area that is holding you back, you can take positive action to overcome your limitation or in some way compensate for it.
- Think about your goals and what you want to accomplish and what you want your life to be like.
- Think about what’s important to you – family, friends, good health, a good job, and other things you value.
- Monitor your self-talk. Avoid negative self-talk by substituting positive self-talk. You are where you are and what you are because of the dominating thoughts that occupy your mind. Make sure you fill your mind with words that will help you have the successful life you want. Make a list of the positive things you want to be true about yourself and read your list on a regular basis – and especially after any setback.
- Be a life-long learner. Read books, attend seminars, workshops or night school courses, listen to personal development CDs, and seek out people who are already skilled in the areas you want to improve.
- Develop the habit of setting small goals and achieving them. Then, continue to set progressively more difficult goals. Each time you accomplish a goal it puts a positive bump on your self-image and boosts your self-confidence.
- Spend time with positive, supportive people. Notice the words they use, what they talk about, their posture, and other indicators of confidence. See what you can learn from these people. They were probably where you are confidence-wise at some point in their lives.
- Learn to handle set-backs, defeats, and failures and put rejection in proper perspective. Most of the time people reject our proposals, not us as a person. Many times we boost our self-image more by bouncing back from these set-backs than we do from easy successes.
- Maintain a presentable appearance, including appropriate attire and grooming. This will make you feel better about yourself, which will add to your attractiveness and improve your confidence.
- Practice good posture, e.g. stand and sit up straight, keep your chin up, and make eye contact.
- Think positive. What you think on the inside will project on the outside.
- Look for the best in others. Compliment them. Be positive. Avoid getting involved in gossip or complaining.
- Maintain a high energy level by staying physically fit. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and get the proper amount of sleep, rest and relaxation.
- Make a list of your past and current accomplishments and add to it on a regular basis.
- Make a list of your strengths and use affirmations and positive self-talk to encourage yourself.
- Smile. It will not only make you feel better about yourself, your smile will make others feel better toward you. As you enter a room, begin a meeting, meet another person or start any major activity, pause to smile. Oftentimes, a smile will be returned which will enhance your confidence.
- Improve your skills and increase your knowledge. Learning something new and improving a skill are great self-confidence boosters.
- Help someone else. When you help someone else, you momentarily take your mind off yourself and your troubles.
INCREASING YOUR CONFIDENCE
Success is never final and failure never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
I have more confidence than I do talent, and of the two, confidence is the main achiever of success.
There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.
The single most important difference between champion achievers and average people is their ability to handle rejection and failure.
Believe in yourself. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience that you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do that which you think you cannot do.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.
As long as you’re going to think anyway, think big.
Act as if it were impossible to fail.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
Fear knocked; courage answered; and, no one was there.
Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well, too.
All other things being equal, self-confidence is often the single ingredient that distinguishes a successful person from someone less successful.