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Personal Fundamentals

How To Be Confident: 10 Ways You Can Build Self-Confidence

This comprehensive self-development guide teaches you how to be more confident by providing proven strategies and tips for building self-confidence.

Confidence is one of the most valuable skills to have, so much so that many successful people credit their success to their confidence and overall sense of self. 

I didn’t have a lot of it while growing up, and you probably didn’t either. In fact, most people are not confident and everyone can use a little bit more confidence.

While it can sometimes feel like the people around you are sure of themselves, rest assured that they too have their doubts. 

Fortunately for you and me, confidence is something that can be created and developed. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on it for years. 

So whether you want to gain confidence to land a job, get a promotion at work, ask out a girl you like, build a successful business, be the life of the party, or all of the above, this guide will teach you how to be more confident.

But first, let’s look at what it means to have self-confidence and why being confident is important.

What Is Confidence?

Having a positive mindset is key to learning how to be more confident.

The dictionary defines confidence as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”

That’s a good starting point for what it means to be confident, but there is a bit more to it than that. 

It’s nearly impossible to define self-confidence without looking at a person’s feelings of self-worth and self-doubt. Why? Because, at its core, confidence is our capacity to believe in ourselves and our strength to succeed.

Sure, being good at something can be a source of confidence, but true confidence has less to do with skill and talent and everything to do with the way you feel about yourself.

How to be more confident? Understand that you don’t need to be the best at something or know everything to feel confident or have confidence in your ability to succeed.

Is Confidence Natural, Or Is It Learned?

We all know that one person who oozes so much confidence that nothing seems to derail his or her optimism, be it criticism or embarrassment.

He or she isn’t afraid to take risks or try new things and doesn’t hesitate to get back up and try again after failing.

Now, was this person born oozing confidence, or was it something he or she learned? From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s usually more the case of the latter than the former.

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In other words, while some people may be genetically-predisposed to be more confident than others, confidence is for the most part something you learn, cultivate, and develop. 

It involves changing the way you feel about yourself and your ability to get what you want out of life.

How to be confident? Realize that although confidence might have a genetic component, you can definitely learn how to be more confident than you currently are. Every confident person you know developed their self-confidence one way or another.

Why Is Confidence Important? 

Why is self-confidence important, and why is it your duty to develop it? Simple really: Self-confidence is linked to almost every element involved in a happy, productive, and fulfilling life.

Learning how to be confident is important in every part of your life, but especially in times of difficulty and when you feel like giving up. 

Here are 5 key benefits of self-confidence:

  1. Makes you less fearful and anxious about life: The more confident you are, the more you will be able to silence the voice in your head that says “I can’t do it.” 
  2. Gives you greater motivation:  The more confidence you have, the more driven you are to stretch your abilities and pursue greater and grander things, therefore expanding your potential.
  3. It gives you more resilience and inner-strength: An increase in confidence allows you to better handle and cope with setbacks and failures should they happen.
  4. It improves your relationships: Confidence is the opposite of insecurity. The more confident you are, the less focused you are on yourself and what others might be thinking about you, and the more relaxed and empathetic you are in your relationships.
  5. Gives you a stronger sense of who you are: Confidence connects you to your authentic self, allowing you to more easily accept your weaknesses and embrace your strengths. It aligns your actions with your principles, giving you a greater sense of purpose.

Basically, self-confidence helps you become the best version of yourself by making you more fearless, driven, resilient, likeable, and in touch with who you really are. It lets you show up, stand up, and speak up!

How to be more confident? Accept that your happiness, success, and overall fulfillment is largely dependent on how much confidence you have. The more confident you are, the more happier and fulfilled you will be.

How To Be More Confident: 10 Effective Ways To Build Self-Confidence

A confident man tearing his shirt apart like superman.
Confidence is like a superpower that makes your whole life better, so learning how to be more confident should be a life priority.

As you can see, your self-confidence is in your control. If you have low self-confidence like I once did, or if you believe that you are not very competent, smart, very attractive, etc., you have the power to do something about it.

The key is taking control of your life.When you take concrete actions that improve your competence, your self-image, you can increase that self-confidence, even without the help of others.

The following principles and life hacks will help you do just that. No single one will do the trick by itself, so make sure to go over all of them.

1. Visualize Yourself Being More Confident

How do you gain confidence in yourself? When you see it, you can sometimes believe it. 

Visualization has been proven to be an effective way to transform your thoughts into reality, and has given many of the world’s high achievers what seems like superpowers.

Elite athletes, the super-rich, and peak performers in every field you can imagine use it, and so can you! 

What does the more confident you look like, and how would he or she behave in the difficult situations that have troubled you in the past?

How to be more confident? You are what you see yourself. Create powerful images of yourself being more confident in order to become more confident

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Action Step: Take some time everyday to visualize yourself acting confident and self-assured in difficult situations that make you fearful or anxious. See yourself crushing those situations.

2. Think Positive, Affirm Your Confidence

To quote Tony Robbins, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Put another way, what you focus on becomes your reality.

Think and speak negative things, and bad things will happen to you. Think positive things, and good things happen.

That’s because thinking positively shifts your focus away from what you don’t want towards what you do want. It changes your attitude and state of being, and this allows you to more easily change your life.

Affirmations are also another powerful way to turn your thoughts and feelings into reality. Verbalize your positive thoughts using affirmations — literally talk to yourself — to silence your inner critic.

How to build self-confidence? Replace your negative thoughts and words with positive ones, and start seeing the bright side of any challenging situation or negative outcome.

Action Step: Observe or, ideally, write down any negative thoughts that arise when thinking about an uncomfortable situation, challenge the reasonability of these thoughts, and develop specific positive affirmations to counter them.

3. Develop A Growth Mindset

People often make the mistake of thinking that confidence is the byproduct of past accomplishments. That is, you can only know how to be confident in yourself after you have achieved some level of success.

Although prior success can be a source of confidence, that sort of thinking is very self-limiting and stops you from growing and reaching your potential. 

It’s worth reiterating that self-confidence doesn’t come from your outward achievements – it comes from within! Being confident means not being afraid of failure. It means being able to pick yourself back up when you fail and trying again.

Once you begin taking actionable steps toward your goal of being confident, your positive beliefs and feelings about yourself will gradually strengthen, emboldening you to expand your horizon and try new, more challenging things.

How to be confident? Adopt a growth mindset and start believing that you can learn how to be more confident. Embrace failure as a learning experience, and use it to propel you towards your goals.

Action Step: Learn to hear and challenge the voice in your head that makes you doubt yourself whenever trying something new. Instead of playing it safe out of fear of failure, choose difficult tasks and set higher and higher standards to stretch yourself.

4. Improve Your Body Language

As a wise man once said, “where your body goes, your mind follows.”

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As important as words are in shaping your reality, they are just the tip of the iceberg of communication. Your body language makes up the biggest chunk.

How you conduct yourself, your mannerisms, and even how you breathe communicate to the world the kind of person you are, so make a conscious effort to govern them.

Studies show that fixing your posture and adopting a power pose by standing up straight, squaring your shoulders, and opening up your chest, as well as walking with brisk and purposeful strides, and making eye contact, will make you feel stronger and more assured.

How to be more confident?  Making a conscious effort to improve your body language will make you look and feel more confident, increasing your chances of getting that job, that date, or simply coming across as a more engaging and genuine person. 

Action Step: Pay attention to everything you do, when you do them, and why you do them. Study a confident person you admire, and copy him or her. Fix your posture, make eye contact, and walk with a sense of purpose.

5. Love And Appreciate Yourself

Many people never learn how to develop a healthy level of self-love growing up, effectively stifling their confidence early in life. They unconsciously adopt limiting beliefs about their capabilities, thus undermining their ability to live a happier, more fulfilling life.

They settle for low-paying jobs they hate, toil in unhappy relationships, wallow in self-pity, and engage in self-sabotage

If that sounds like you, know that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to build self-confidence and self-worth without first loving yourself. Self-love might even make it easier for you to find a girlfriend and fall in love.

Loving yourself means having a deep appreciation for who you are, including accepting all the different parts of yourself (e.g. your peculiarities, embarrassments, weaknesses, and strengths).

How to build self-confidence? It’s not selfish to love yourself. In fact, considering that confidence is about how you feel about yourself,  it’s nearly impossible to be confident without first learning how to love yourself.

Action Step: Identify and heal the childhood wounds that have made you feel insecure (consider seeing a therapist), learn to care as much about yourself as you do for others, develop and maintain personal boundaries, and find what makes you feel good and do it.

6. Take Pride In Your Achievements

Confident people often make more money in the workplace and are generally more liked by others for one simple reason: They’re not afraid to take credit for their achievements, especially when it really matters.

Most people try to resist the sense of pride that comes from succeeding at something, but resisting such a powerful feeling is counterproductive. That’s because pride can be a very good source of fuel for your self-confidence, motivation, and success.

If you made a contribution that accomplished a goal for your company or led to another positive outcome, pointing it out to your manager or CEO doesn’t make you boastful, arrogant, or conceited. You’re stating a fact!

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As long as you express it in a matter-of-fact way, it will make you look good, as well as feel good.

How to be more confident? Becoming more conscious and prideful of your achievements can boost your self-confidence, possibly leading to better performance, more success, and, consequently, even more confidence.

Action Step: If you want to be successful, you need to put yourself out there. Think about that the next time you feel compelled to hide your accomplishments.

7. Practice Gratitude

Have you ever stopped and thought about all the good things you have going for you, be it your well-functioning body, your friend and family, the food that you eat, or the roof you have over your head?

Expressing gratitude on a daily basis helps you appreciate your positive life experiences, improve your sense of self-worth, and reduce negative emotions like fear, anger, and bitterness.

Gratitude is also an effective way to be in the present, cope with stress and trauma, and build and strengthen social bonds. It is a great source of happiness, which boosts mood and self-esteem.

How to be confident? Gratitude can instill a feeling of happiness that raises your self-esteem and self-confidence. Be grateful for every good thing in your life, however small it may be.

Action Step: Write down as many things as possible that you are grateful for right now, and go over them. Take some time everyday to express gratitude for the things you have, including the positives in the challenges you face.

8. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

To build confidence and raise your self-esteem, you must step outside your comfort zone and take risks.

Oftentimes, we lack confidence in our abilities because we don’t try to challenge ourselves, usually out of fear of failure or rejection. However, it is only when we confront our fears or are presented with new challenges — whether big or small  — that we challenge the existing model of who we are and what we’re capable of. 

Rejection and failure don’t hurt you — they build you and make you stronger!

How to build self-confidence? By purposefully putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable, you become more confident in the specific activity that you fear, as well as in your ability to take action, face your fears, and persevere through any challenge.

Action Step: Try something new everyday, especially something that makes you uncomfortable (e.g. public speaking, asking a girl out). Consider taking the 100 days of rejection challenge.

9. Do The Things That Excite You

Have you noticed how listening to certain music just amps you up and pumps you with adrenaline? Well, a study by Kellogg School of Management found that people who listen to “high-power” music are more proactive than those who don’t.

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The same can be said about exercise. Research shows that  working out makes you more confident by improving your mood and mental health, specifically how you feel about yourself.

So, If you need a quick boost in confidence, listen to a high-energy, motivating song; hit the gym for a workout; or do something else that fires you up. Better yet, why not make them a regular part of your life?

How to be more confident? Turn up the beats, pump some iron, go on an adventure, or do anything else that energizes you. 

Action Step: Find the things that get you excited, and incorporate them into your life as much as possible

10. Develop Your Skills, Get Better 

Remember, confidence is harnessed from within, and a crucial part of it is having the belief that you have the capabilities and SKILLS needed to succeed. But don’t be mistaken: Competence also breeds confidence.

I mean, wouldn’t it be easier to believe in your skills if you actually had those skills? Indeed, getting better at what you do, and consistently practicing it, is one of the best ways to become more confident.

Insecure about public speaking but have a speech to make? Prepare and practice for the speech. Same goes for a networking event, a job interview, a date, or any other occasion that makes you nervous or anxious.

How to be confident? Get good! Becoming a better, more competent and skilled man or woman will take your confidence to the next level.

Action Step: Become a flexible, T-shaped man or woman by sharpening your core skills and learning other new life skills. What is something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t yet?

Confidence Vs. Arrogance: What’s The Difference?

A man who is confident due to self confidence quotes
Confidence opens doors to new opportunities; arrogance closes them.

Imagine that you are interviewing someone for a job, and as you started to explain the opportunities for advancement, this person interrupts you and says: “The only job I want is yours!”

Some people might see such behavior as arrogant, while others might consider it super confident. Regardless, this example demonstrates the fine line that exists between confidence and arrogance.

As we explained in the previous sections, confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that comes from having respect, appreciation, and humility for your abilities or personal qualities. It is rooted in experience and expertise.

Arrogance, on the other hand, is characterized by having an exaggerated sense of your importance or abilities. Not only does it lack humility, but it is also often grounded in nothing.

Whereas confident people are open to learning from others, arrogant people believe they know everything and fight tooth and nail to be right just for the sake of being right.

Confidence attracts, arrogance repels. More specifically, confidence attracts positive people, fosters collaboration, and promotes progress, while arrogance breaks down trust and hinders collaboration.

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Because it’s a magnet for positivity, confidence opens doors to new and wonderful opportunities as opposed to closing them like arrogance does.

Keep all of this in mind when on your quest to become more confident. Walking the fine line between confidence and arrogance can be challenging at times; fortunately, it’s a line you don’t have to walk.

All you have to do is be a good person who makes an effort to keep his arrogance in check.

How To Be More Confident: Takeaways

Portrait of handsome and confident man giving two thumbs up.
Self-confidence is feeling that no matter what happens in life, you have the skills needed to handle and cope with it.

Discovering how to be more confident in yourself and your abilities takes time and dedication, but it is one of the most important and valuable skills anyone can learn. That’s because your happiness and fulfillment largely depends on how confident you are.

Being confident isn’t going to solve all your problems (like everyone else, you will still have bad days), nor is it about knowing everything or being completely sure of yourself at all times. 

Self-confidence is about having an unshakable belief that no matter what happens in your life — no matter the obstacles or setbacks — you’ll be able to handle it and learn from it.

By changing the way you feel about yourself and your abilities, improving your skills, and shifting how you physically present yourself to the world, you can create the confidence needed to achieve your goals.

The path to becoming more confident is in your hands. Take action now to boost your confidence, and kick start the life you have always wanted!

So, do you now know how to be confident? If you found this guide helpful, share it with your family, friends, or anyone you think might need it. And get more personal development guides like it from here. 

Written By

Kwame Owusu is a personal development coach and the founder of Too Manly. He holds an MBA from a top business school and is committed to helping men all around the world look, feel and live the prime of their life.

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