5 Habits That Build Real Self-Confidence

Everyone admires a self-confident person.

There’s something in the way they carry themselves, the manner in which they speak, and the self-assured composure in which they act that draws us in. Self-confident people charm us and inspire us.

Can you emulate such confidence yourself?

Of course, you can. The key lies in understanding the difference between authentic self-confidence and fake self-confidence. The former is built upon constant practice. The latter garners no foundation.

Real confidence is when you believe in yourself but are humble enough to ask for support when need be. Fake confidence is when you act arrogantly because you think you know it all and you’re better than others.

True self-confidence sprouts from taking conscious action. Fake self-confidence latches onto talk. Fake confidence is loud. Real confidence is silent.

So why is it so important to cultivate authentic self-confidence?

According to a collaborative 2004 study from Health Education Research, there is a strong relationship between self-confidence and positive mental health. Individuals with high self-confidence have a greater sense of self-worth, greater enjoyment in life and in activities, more energy and motivation to act, less self-doubt, and are less prone to stress or social anxiety. “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 a light from within.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

True self-confidence shines from your light within. It’s not difficult to cultivate a greater sense of authentic self-confidence because real confidence springs from taking action. Here are 5 habits that will help you build that higher self-confidence. They’re based on what confident people do.

1. Go into Situations Prepared

Going into a situation unprepared is not a sign of high confidence, it’s a sign of immaturity and ignorance. And anyone who claims that they have it all figured out and tries to project a persona of invincibility is faking that confidence. Here’s the reality: No one has it all figured out.

Confident people are willing to admit that and they mitigate it by building a plan. They research. They ask questions. They practice. They prepare for what’s ahead.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” — Arthur Ashe

We’re most likely to lack confidence when it comes to stepping into new endeavors we have no prior experience with. And of course, you’re not going to be confident if you’re not competent in that area of work. That’s normal. In fact, it’s human nature — you’re simply not going to feel confident when you don’t know what it is you’re doing.

But as you prepare and build a plan, your competence begins to grows. As a result, your confidence follows. That’s the natural cycle of confidence.

You’re not confident about delivering an upcoming presentation? Practice and prepare. You’re not confident about launching your business? Do your research and determine how you can mitigate your risks.

Make it a habit to plan.

 2. Believe in Your Ability to ‘Figure it Out’

As mentioned above, no one has it all figured out, but what separates confident people from others is this: They believe in their ability to figure it out.

Self-belief is what fuels your self-confidence.

Self-believe is the light that sparks your confidence. Fakeness is the clutch that impedes it.

Don’t mistake believing with faking. Believing is rooted in self-perception. Fakeness is rooted in the perception of others. When rooted in self-belief, you are brave and humble to admit that you don’t know something. That’s why it’s so easy to spot people who are faking confidence: They’re fickle and arrogant. They lie and everyone can see right through it.

Make it a habit to believe in yourself and your ability to figure things out as you go. You can weather the storm when it hits. You can adjust your sails when the wind blows. You can find a way when the obstacles mount.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Self-believe is the light that sparks your confidence. Fakeness is the clutch that impedes it. And it’s your self-belief that drives you to dive into new experiences that stretch beyond your comfort zone.

3. Seek Discomfort and Be Okay With Failure

You will not grow inside your comfort zone, so if you want to boost your confidence, you have to make it a habit to dive into new experiences that will make you uncomfortable.

Confident people don’t shy away from change; they actively seek it because they know that discomfort breeds confidence. They know that there’s no guarantee of success — but they’re OK with failure because they understand that failure is simply an obstacle along the way.

Failure is just another wave in that ebbs and flows with the tide.

If you want to grow, expand, and improve your competence, you need to step out of the green zone. You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s as simple as that.

Confident people realize that the avoidance of pain is more destructive than the endurance of it.

If you want to get that promotion, you need to get uncomfortable with walking up to your manager and asking for it. If you want to get a date with that girl, you need to get uncomfortable with walking up to her and asking her out.

Being confident is looking at uncertainty and walking into it rather than shying away from it. It’s the understanding that if you never try, you’ll never know. It’s accepting that avoidance of pain is more destructive than the endurance of it.

“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

Make it a habit to take a chance and do something that scares you. If you fail, you’ll learn. If you succeed, you’ll celebrate. Either way, this habit will reshape you into a confident person who doesn’t sit and wait for opportunities to knock on his door; he gets up, builds a door, and then opens to see what lies ahead.

4. Seek Advice and Request Feedback

Confident people are humble. In fact, if there’s one thing they’re sure of it’s this: They don’t know everything — and they don’t pretend to.

The most confident writer is the one who asks the question of how can I improve my writing? The most confident speaker is the one who asks how can I improve on connecting with my audience on stage.

Understand that you’re a student of life and you’ll begin to feel more confident. You’ll realize that it’s okay if you don’t know everything — it’s humanly impossible. You’ll accept that there will always be people with more experience and knowledge than you, and instead of competing with them, you should collaborate with them, ask for their input, and learn from them.

People who fake their confidence do the exact opposite. When stuck in a difficult circumstance, they perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness, not strength. If someone offers a hand, they reject it. If anyone shares feedback with them, they take it personally because they unconsciously see it as an attack on their ego.  Make it a habit to ask questions, seek advice, and request feedback.

5. Learn How to Manage Your Emotions

There’s a cycle to everything in life. Seasons come and go. Economies grow and contract. Some days the sun shines, other days it hides behind the clouds. And some days your confidence might be shattered.

You’re going to make mistakes. So many of them. You’re going to have days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed. You’re going to have days when you look in the mirror and all you see is a bundle of self-doubt wrapped in a fabric of fear.

Confidence rises and falls like a fog. Confident people accept this as a fact of life and don’t fight it. Rather, they simply learn how to manage their emotions.

When you feel a wave of self-doubt creeping in, ask yourself: “What is it that I don’t feel secure about?” When you fail at a task, don’t collapse in defeat. Face it and ask yourself: “What can I learn from this experience?” “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ― Epictetus

Confident people comprehend how the quality of their thoughts shapes their reality. As such, they don’t criticize themselves, instead, they practice self-compassion by accepting what is.

They’re aware of the body-mind connection and how power pauses can boost their confidence at times of struggle. According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, better posture can instantly make us feel more confident and powerful.

Make it a habit to become more self-aware. Learn how to manage your emotions and you will become a naturally more confident person.

What Matters: Do More Than You Talk About Doing. People who fake their confidence do one of two things: They either boast about what they’ve accomplished or they talk about what they’re going to do, but have nothing to show for it.

People who are genuinely confident do the exact opposite: They stay quiet because they let their actions speak for themselves. Confidence speaks in silent action. Confident people are proud but humble. They are helpful but not pushovers. They are self-assured but always eager to learn. They seek challenges for themselves—not to boast to someone else. Confidence speaks in silent action. Make it habit to do more than you talk about doing and watch as your confidence grows

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