Self-confidence is an important precondition to success and happiness. Learn more about how you can improve your self-confidence and what benefits you will reap along the way.
I, like many other introverted Northern Europeans, have always had a difficult relationship with self-confidence. Now this is not to say that I was not aware of its importance. It is pretty obvious that it is better to face a task with a can-do spirit instead of being anxious and unsure. What tends to put people off from building or boosting their self-confidence is the risk of slipping into the trap of arrogance.
Arrogance is a genuine worry, but trust me – for most of us struggling with lack of self-confidence, becoming arrogant is an exceptionally unlikely outcome, especially if you build your self-confidence the right way.
I hope this blog post will encourage you to give self-confidence a shot. First, I’ll outline the main reasons why self-confidence matters. Second, I’ll offer some advice on what you can do to improve your self-confidence.
Self-confidence is one of the preconditions for a happier, more fulfilling life. Self-confident people are more likely to be successful as they are more willing to take on challenging tasks and push themselves to reach the best results.
If nothing else, confident people are more attractive friends and partners, not just because they are rarely drags, but also because we as humans are evolutionary and biologically wired to prefer confident people to the non-confident sort, simply because the former were more likely to succeed in the past.
Here are some of the main reasons why healthy self-confidence is great to have:
Confident people are far less likely to feel uncertainty, fear, or worry. Sure, fear is another handy evolutionary tool, but whenever we let it dominate for too long, it starts to take charge, stifling us from moving towards progress and growth. This, in turn, can lead us to withdraw from the world and even succumb to anxiety or depression. Self-confidence helps us overcome these negative feelings whenever they are looming close.
Self-confidence gets you out of the house – doing and achieving new things. Once you get things done, both your self-confidence and your motivation grow. That motivation drives you to achieve more thus subsequently building your confidence up even more.
An important thing that self-confident people have going for them is being able to lift themselves up after a failure. Life hits all of us hard from time to time. Confident people are just as likely to fail (if not more so) as any other person. However, instead of beating themselves up about a setback, confident people are more likely to get over them, learn from the mistakes, grow, and try again. Without self-confidence and the resilience that comes with it, the world would be many an innovation poorer.
Confidence tends to give people another valuable trait in the fast paced 21st century – decisiveness. Confident folks are unlikely to waver and doubt their skills. This makes them more likely to take on new challenges and opportunities.
If you think that this is a recipe for failure, as a lot of confident people will take on tasks they are not competent in, I would beg to differ. Decision making also involves the ability to say “No”. Oftentimes it is those who are less confident that end up taking on the greatest physical or emotional burdens as they are too shy or insecure to turn down an offer that might not be in their best interest.
It is pretty nice to be around and engage in conversations with confident people. These days people tend to be very consumed with themselves – their supposed inadequacies and flaws. This makes them constantly worried of what others will think of them. Interestingly enough this makes them more self-absorbed and less attentive to the needs of others.
The long and short of it is – to be a more engaged, empathetic, interesting, and generally laid-back person, get your own mental house in order. Build your self-confidence to be a better partner, friend, relative, and colleague.
Now that we are on the same page regarding the importance of self-confidence, it is important to understand how to properly build it. Here are the main steps to build your self-confidence right:
Every journey towards proper self-confidence starts with people accepting themselves. This is hard, especially nowadays when everyone around you seems to be having the time of their lives, at least according to their social media feeds. Chances are that people who are constantly showing off have either too little self-confidence themselves or are unbearably arrogant.
Accepting yourself is an important precondition to self-confidence as it shows that there is no need to imitate someone else’s life to reach perfect contentment. You have your own unique interests, dreams, talents, and weaknesses. Trying to copy the lives of others gives a false sense of fulfillment that may end up leaving you feeling as an imposter.
One thing to remember though – accepting yourself should not mean complacency or stagnation. Regardless of your current situation in terms of career, health, or schooling, accepting yourself is not the same as putting the stamp of approval to the status quo. It just helps you to establish the right starting position from which to strive towards improvement using the resources at your disposal.
Figuring out your strengths or talents may be pretty easy for some and quite difficult for others. In fact, I and probably many of you know more people who struggle with it rather than the other way around. Still, despite the time and difficulty, you should put in all the time necessary to establish what your talents and strengths are.
Even if you can’t come up with anything in particular, think about your hobbies and other things you love to do. From these you’ll be able to derive concrete things that you can further develop and invest in to become a genuine pro in a certain field or activity.
Why is this important? Understanding that you are good at something and coming to the realization that you can use that skill or talent to make the world a better place is a real motivation and confidence booster.
In addition, since many of our talents are closely linked to our identity, getting affirmation that we ourselves can make a change is an absolutely empowering feeling. Finally, when you have perfected your craft or knowledge, others will respect and pay heed to what you say, which without question is good for your self-confidence.
Failing to keep up is a pretty confidence sapping experience. Just like with our first piece of advice – complacency is the enemy. Don’t take your knowledge and skills for granted. Work to better them keeping up with the newest technology, business trends, and best practice. It may be hard, especially the older you get, but maintaining your competitive edge in this day and age is a feat that will score you plenty of confidence points.
In addition to keeping yourself sharp, don’t shy away from hard tasks. Taking on new challenges or setting ambitious goals may lead to a great deal of struggle, maybe even failure, but the experience you gain, relationships you form, or records you break will create feelings of achievement and fulfillment that, in turn, will do wonders to your self-confidence.
I’ve already written before about the value of struggle and failure to personal development. The same is true with self-confidence. You shouldn’t reproach yourself for failing, but lift yourself up for trying.
Think about it this way – if you have made a mistake once, you are unlikely to repeat it; if you have struggled with a certain task once, you will do it with ease the next time; if you fail at something, you come out stronger and smarter. All of these are immensely valuable things that should not be underestimated as they make you more resilient and competent – characteristics of any self-confident person.
Last but not least – gratitude and humility are the main things that separate confidence from arrogance. None of us are perfect right off the bat. Nor are we solo artists achieving fame or success by working at it alone. It is important to remember where you came from, how you struggled, what opportunities you were given, and who or what helped you along the way. This helps you retain perspective and humility. After all, you may have succeeded on your journey to self-confidence, but there are countless others still struggling.
By understanding that your own journey did not happen in a vacuum, you may feel encouraged to give something back and help others around you build up their self-confidence.
Author: Lote Steina