“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” -Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
If you are like me, you have had days where your level of self-confidence was high.
Then there are those days where a project deadline is imminent, or you did not have a restful night’s sleep.
You are struggling to get through the day.
You feel self-conscious and unable to muster up your levels of self-confidence.
Then there are the people who you would rather avoid but cannot. And they end up pulling you and your self-confidence down.
While you cannot always have super high levels of confidence, you may have wondered how to feel better.
You may have desired to have higher levels of self-confidence.
And then we have friends who seem to make the idea of super self-confidence seem easy and effortless. What is their secret?
How can we find simple and reliable hacks to enhance our self-confidence?
Ok, let’s dive in.
1. Walk with Purpose, And Stand Tall
“At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Yes, something as small as walking with purpose can enhance your levels of self-confidence.
In the classic children’s storybooks of Winnie the Pooh, there is a character called Eeyore the donkey. As you may remember, Eeyore is always down in the blues and talks and walks like he is feeling depressed.
How you walk talks volumes about levels of self-confidence.
One of the first things that you may notice about super-confident people is that they have a confident walk. They have an almost graceful and powerful stride.
They do not hide their self-confidence by slumping their shoulders and walking like they have nothing to accomplish.
They also walk with intention and a feeling of purpose that says that they are mindful walkers.
For a quick boost of self-confidence, walk the talk. Talk with purpose and stride with confidence.
2. Become A Confident Super Heroine or Hero: Power Poses And Conscious Body Language
“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.” ― Bette Davis
Conscious body language is a powerful indicator of self-confidence. There are several body language patterns that go along with low-self confidence.
Researcher and Body language expert Amy Cuddy says in her TED talk that when you feel self-confident, you engage in certain body language.
What are the body language signals of confidence and personal power?
- Make Yourself Big. I like to think of a tiger or a Lion. They do not shrink but occupy their own space.
- You open up and tend to occupy more space by assuming open postures.
Cuddy gives the example of athletes who after crossing the finish line have their arms in a V and their chins up to the audience.
The most compelling example that I can remember is that of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. We have all seen Bolt’s victory lap with the sign of an open bow.
Cuddy’s research has shown high power poses that enhance confidence:
- Hands on the back of the head and legs up on the desk or one leg over the other.
- Standing with hands on the waist and legs apart or “the wonder woman pose.”
Of course, do not assume these power poses while talking to someone or while in a meeting. 🙂 But you can safely do them when you have a moment alone in private to feel more self-confidence.
- Folding the arms and making yourself small with legs and hands folded and looking down.
- Touching your neck and sitting down.
Now, there is some conflicting research in the literature about the efficacy of power poses.
From personal experience, I can tell you that assuming powerful and open body posture makes me feel confident and happy.
I feel more relaxed when my body language is open when compared to crouching or constricting.
3. Dress Immaculately
“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and never give up”- Regina Brett
One piece of advice that I received from a wise friend in the past was the power of dressing well. Do not dismiss the power of being presentable as shallow and superficial.
When you are well dressed, it tells your entire being that you care about the self.
When you take the time to shine your shoes or iron your wrinkled clothes, you feel more confident.
When you put some time and effort to look your best, you will experience enhanced self-confidence.
While self-confidence should not depend on a bad hair day or a wrinkled suit, remember that we are all human. We can take every bit of help in increasing our self-confidence.
4. Eye contact and Smile for Self-confidence, And Avoid The Urban Scowl
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.”- Helen Keller
This is another tip from the favorable body language toolbox. This one is so significant that I have included this in its own category.
I recently read the Book, The Like Switch by Jack Schafer.
Schafer says that people who grew up in rough neighborhoods or grew up thinking that they needed to look tough have what he calls an urban scowl.
Now this is the opposite of friendliness and smiling when you have the intention of being self-confident and making friends.
When you naturally smile at others and become aware of the urban scowl, you appear more self-confident.
Schafer also mentions the “Big 3” friend signals of eyebrow flash, a tilted head and sporting an authentic smile.
I think that these signals make you approachable and make you look more self-confident.
Of course, it is important to have a genuine smile.
A genuine smile causes your lips to turned up and also creates wrinkles along the outer edges of your eyes. It also constricts or closes up the eyes.
When you see no movement in the upper face area, no wrinkles along the eyes and the cheeks do not move up, it is likely a fake smile.
Genuine smiles are a sign of self-confidence. When you can look at someone in the eye and give a genuine smile, it is a great self-confidence booster.
It tells others that you are trustworthy because you make eye contact and you are self-assured enough to smile.
Even if you do not feel like smiling, you can still look at someone in the eye and give an eyebrow flash which is a sign of friendliness.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown
5. Act Confident-Fake it till you make it
“Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have.” – Brian Tracy
The old and cliched statement of “fake it till you make it” may sound insincere and artificial. But for self-confidence, this statement is a warm friend.
The body-mind connection and their influence on behavior are nothing new.
In fact, championship athletes visualize themselves running the race before the event. The idea is that the automatic self and muscle memory go along with imagination.
So why does faking it till you make it work on self-confidence? My best guess would be:
- You are engaging in a new set of body language signals.
- You are engaging in other neural networks and pathways than the usual ones.
- The body-mind-behavior continuum.
States of mind and behavior are contagious. Even if your confidence is made up in the beginning, it still changes you to a state of higher self-confidence.
“So when I tell people about this, that our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes, they say to me, “I don’t — It feels fake.” Right? So I said, fake it till you make it.” -Amy Cuddy, TED talk
6. Feeling good about Yourself, The Secret Elixir Of Self-Confidence
“Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ― Lucille Ball
This one is a no-brainer.
But you would be surprised at how many people walk around feeling sorry for themselves.
People feel sorry and resentful of their present situations.
While people have their own good reasons, it is no solution to getting out of the doldrums.
Self-confident people have a good self-image. They perceive themselves as valuable and useful to the world.
They view their opinions with some value and make it their mission to feel good on a daily basis.
To facilitate this feeling good, you can set a timer several times throughout the day and ask how do you feel when the timer goes off.
This classic psychology state testing experiment will give you a basic idea of your dominant feeling states through the day.
Self-confidence is elusive when chronic self-pity creeps in. When you do not feel good about yourself on a universal basis, it is hard to be confident.
Of course, we all have the occasional glitches and that is all right. Become aware of what or when or who is bringing you down and why.
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz
7. Self Doubt Self Check
“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” – Anna Freud
There is no bigger killer of great self-confidence than the state of constant doubt.
Do you doubt everything and have to second guess and get confirmation for all your daily movements and actions?
Keep the doubts in check. When you allow doubts to be like thoughts, or like passing clouds in the distance, you can get some relief.
Make a reality check of all the doubts that you have. How many of them came true? How many of them on hindsight were unfounded?
To get a quick boost of self-confidence, manage your doubts by allowing to let them go.
8. Triggered: Set Up Confidence Cues and Rituals
“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.” – Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
What are the specific cues or triggers that work on increasing your self-confidence?
What are some rituals that make you feel like you are on the top of the world. Perhaps it might be grinding your coffee beans with your own hand grinder.
I have a creative ritual that makes me feel super self-confident. I take the time every morning to carefully fresh grind select coffee beans and make a fantastic cup of coffee. The coffee is then french pressed. I take the time to savor the freshly ground beans and the smell of brewing coffee.
I make this ritual intentional and enjoy every minute of it. By the end of this ritual, I have a wonderful, hand-crafted mug of hot coffee that I take a few moments to savor.
What is your feel good ritual?
Another feel-good ritual is the Hour Of Power that I will discuss shortly.
9. Location, Location, Location: Environment Matters
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama
If you thought that clutter and having an unfavorable environment is trivial, this may surprise you.
All great stuff from creativity to inspired productivity happens in a context. It happens within a certain environment.
What environments make you feel good and enhance your self-confidence?
I will not stay that an uncluttered environment is right for everyone.
Contrary to popular opinion, I have had the pleasure to work with creative people with oh-so-cluttered desks and work spaces.
I think what is more significant is asking yourself the question that which environments appeal to your personal sense?
Yes, I am asking you! What moods and areas inspire your self-confidence and productivity?
Perhaps you love art to hang on your walls. Perhaps you love a cluttered desk and it brings out the most self-confident you.
Whatever your thing is, remember that having favorable environments can have an impact on self-confidence.
This is perhaps the reason why some cafes and board rooms energize us. Some places draw out our most creative confident selves. While others, not quite so and have an energy sapping effect.
10. Get Prepared
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”- Arthur Ashe
If there is a powerful way to boost your self-confidence, it is becoming prepared.
Plan your day the previous night.
Get all the ingredients together before putting up a presentation.
Practice speaking to an empty room before you speak in public.
The caveat here is not to be so prepared that you are stifling creativity and novelty. Instead, prepare the best that you can and enjoy the elevated feelings of self-confidence.
“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” – Richard Kline
11. Be Decisive With Your Life
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”- Madame Marie Curie
This is a very powerful idea for increasing self-confidence. We have all known people who are rapidly changing their minds.
It is not that every decision has to quick and without thought. But when we are so caught up in being indecisive with our choices, it decreases self-confidence.
How can you be confident when you cannot even trust the power of your own decision-making process?
Confident people do not always make the right decisions. But they decide and experience things faster than indecisive people.
This gives them a success edge because they can improvise and change directions and get a better experience.
Unstuck yourself from indecisiveness and feel a burst of self-confidence.
“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” – Peter Mcintyre
12. Do the Thing You fear And Put Fear In The Right Context
“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash
Fear can decrease self-confidence.
We all have fear and confident people know that they have to act despite the fears.
Great confidence comes along our way if we decide to place the fears in a proper context and move ahead. We often find out that the things we feared and the imaginary failures did not quite happen.
When we do the thing we fear, we develop resilience and confidence in other spheres of life. This is also demonstrated in willpower research where effects of willpower bleed into other areas.
For example, I have a project and some phone calls that I have been putting off. If I focus on the project, complete it and make the phone calls, I feel greater levels of self-confidence.
This confidence bleeds over into other areas of my life and I play my racquetball game with more determination.
Are you afraid of presenting in front of people? Seek out public speaking opportunities.
Are you shy? Go out more with friends and seek out social settings.
Do the things you fear and see your self-confidence grow.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”- Eleanor Roosevelt
13. Celebrate Differences And Acceptance: Being Yourself And Owning Your Story
“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.”- Jodi Picoult
Being true to yourself and owning your own story is a powerful self-confidence measure.
So celebrate your differences and be proud of your uniqueness. Your song matters and the authenticity of your message increases your self-confidence.
When you are true to yourself, you avoid what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance happens when you hold two conflicting views at the same time, kind of like an ideal reality conflict.
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” -Brene Brown
Owning your own story takes courage. Singing your own song makes you feel worthy and self-confident.
Many of us feel ashamed of owning our true stories. Like Dr. Suess so wisely says that you need to be youer than you. Become crystal clear on what matters to you and how you can use your strengths to express that.
“Always be yourself, express yourself have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” -Bruce Lee
14. The Psychology Of Attention
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Many of us feel a lack of self-confidence because we feel like the world is watching us. We feel like we are under scrutiny.
We feel judged. This chips away at our self-confidence.
A quick and easy way to get self-confidence is to stop caring what others think of you.
Realize that most people do not have the attention span or interest to think about your weaknesses at length.
Set yourself free by unhooking yourself from the perceived opinions of others. Instead, focus your attention and energy on personal thriving and happiness.
“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions … Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”― Tina Fey
15. Believe Yourself And Trust Yourself
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” -E.E. cummings
Belief and trust are powerful catalysts in the path of self-confidence.
Do you believe that you are important and do you have the trust to see that belief through?
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir
Imagine talking to the most confident person that you know.
Now tell me if they believe in themselves? Do they trust their opinions and do they trust in their actions?
I believe that the answer is a big yes.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
16. Exercise and HOPE
A powerful and science-backed way to enhance well-being and self-confidence is to work up a sweat.
If you have special medical needs, clear it with your medical provider first, and develop a workout routine that works for you.
I can speak with personal experience that exercise is a wonderful way to enhance your self-confidence levels.
Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good molecules.
Another way to increase your self-confidence is by developing an Hour of Power Everyday (HOPE) routine first thing in the morning.
My HOPE includes cardio, yoga, gratitude, meditation and affirmations. This routine defines my day and makes me feel great.
Deep breathing exercises also work wonders for self-confidence. Mindfulness is another way to increase awareness and self-confidence.
Simply breathe in and breath out and become aware of your in-breath and out-breath.
Remember to take radical self-care for radical self-confidence.
17. Surround yourself With People Who See Your Potential
“Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are.” – Jo Blackwell-Preston
If you want to be self-confident, you may have to consciously choose to spend quality time with positive and uplifting people.
Make a list of people who uplift you and make you feel great. Begin spending more time with people who energize you and who bring out the best in you and more.
Hang out with people who challenge you to become your confident best. While you cannot avoid negativity and negative people, you should at least decrease spending time with people who bring you down.
When all somebody has to offer you is negativity, pessimism, blame and complaints, you may need to change your company.
“The tragedy is that so many people look for self-confidence and respect everywhere except within themselves, so they fail in their search.” – Dr. Nathaniel Branden
18. Get Busy, Practice, and More Practice
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
Take concrete action today. Make a list of the most impactful things that you need to accomplished and then do them.
Put in some more time to practice that skill you have been trying to develop.
When you get busy and take meaningful action towards your goals, you feel a surge of self-confidence.
Make a list of things that you have been putting off and start scratching away at the list by completing each item.
I always call my “to do” list as “inspired to do” list.
Get inspired to do things with enthusiasm on your list and you will see your self-confidence levels surge.
I believe that each task left undone or left for later on leaves behind a tenuous thread of incompletion. These threads hang as incompletions and burden our free and confident movement.
When we strive to complete or let go of these incompletions, we free up a lot of stuck up energy.
19. PMA and ANTS, a powerful confidence boost
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale
One of my favorite teachers, the late Rev. Norman Vincent Peale taught a powerful idea that he called “Positive Creative Expectation.”
Other ways of looking at increasing positive energy in your life is to remember the simple acronyms PMA and ANTS.
PMA as you might know is Positive Mental Attitude.
ANT is automatic negative thoughts and is from psychology studies. I have bolstered the ANT to make it into ANTS. ANTS is Automatic Negative Thoughts Shoo as in “go away.”
You can also say “not so,” to mental patterns and thoughts that decrease your confidence. This tip is from Rev. Michael Beckwith.
20. Modeling and Listing and Visualizing Past Successes, Create Confidence Anchors
“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”- Thomas Carlyle
Visualizing and Modeling past successes can give you huge self-confidence boost.
Many of us practice deflective behavior. We crave for praise and confirmation from others.
But when we receive success and a pat on the back, we sometimes deflect it and say that it was nothing. We undermine the warm feelings of success.
We do not allow the feelings of accomplishment and success to permeate us and bask in those good feelings.
Then, we seek the next success to access those feelings again but we have not enjoyed the previous ones completely.
In NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming, you can vividly remember and feel a past experience and set up an anchor or a reminder to access it again.
Remember and feel the last time you were successful and felt great. Then anchor in those feelings by a simple physical cue such as touching your thumb and index finger together.
With practice, you can vividly experience the flood of good feelings. This simple cherishing and recollecting past accomplishments can become an instant self-confidence booster.
Dr. Richard Bandler, The co-inventor of NLP says that whenever we are in a state of a certain emotion, there is a certain set of feelings, thoughts, and actions in the mix.
These elements set the stage for the feelings to be maintained and supported.
Dr. Bandler says in his book, Get the Life You Want:
“We defined thinking in several different ways: thinking in pictures, thinking in words, and thinking in feelings, tastes, and smells. Since then, I’ve taken it a step further by breaking each of those systems down into their various components and qualities. The qualities of images, sounds, and feelings are known as submodalities.”
So ask yourself: What cues, images, sounds, and feelings make you self-confident?
Perhaps there is a reason why music and motivational images work wonder for your self-confidence.
In a nutshell, cherish Your successes. You can also make a success and good cheer box that you can access for a quick boost of self-confidence.
Of course, you can have a digital set of memories and images to enhance confidence.
21. Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Compassion
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
Sometimes, When our self-confidence is low, we hope that someone else is there to uplift us. Turn this idea on its head and you become the messenger of smiles, good cheer, and compassion to others.
Always remember that there are other people in a similar boat or perhaps with even greater problems than you.
When you uplift others and practice kindness and compassion in action, you rub some of the good stuff on yourself.
Open doors, assist a friend, contribute to your favorite charity, try to understand and empathize with another point of view.
Whatever your method, practice this kindness in action and see your self-confidence skyrocket.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank
This is the end of the post on confidence and the floor is yours. What are some of the ways that you boost your self-confidence?