7 tips you can apply now to feel more confident
Not long ago, a man had a vision. He wanted to create the 8th Wonder of the World: a bio-diverse marvel that would transform the way we see our place in nature. Starting off with next to no cash for his dream, he convinced backers to hand over £130 million.
That man was Tim Smit. His dream has now become real: The Eden Project in Cornwall, home to the largest greenhouse in the world; a sustainable collection of giant spheres encasing beautiful and diverse plant life from all around the world.
Sheer self-confidence and vision enabled Smit to get £130 million in backing for his "crazy scheme", but in the years since Eden opened it has already put £800 million back into the Cornish economy.
Taking time to build your self-confidence will get you places
It's not that the project just needed self-confidence to make it happen, but this man's conviction in the face of mass initial doubt certainly meant the dream could start to live.
Self-confidence isn't there just to make you feel good. We need self-confidence to drive our aspirations to make them real; it's as much a vehicle as a destination in itself. What's more, when you are self-confident others feel it and can't help but respond.
So how can you build your self-confidence starting now?
1) Laugh a little but don't doubt
Really self-confident people don't take themselves too seriously; they're so confident and comfortable in their own skin, they don't need to. Human beings waste lots of energy trying to be seen as like other people around them, but self-confident people don't have to be like everyone else.
Self-confidence means allowing for your own differences, so learn to relax with your peculiarities, idiosyncrasies, and eccentricities. And know that recognizing your own differences doesn't mean you have to doubt your decisions.
Knowing your weak areas and being comfortable with knowing what you are not so good at is a cornerstone of self-confidence. Don't be blinded by 'experts' over common sense and remember that so many great things have never come to pass because people let doubts grow.
2) Be prepared to fail with confidence
Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person. We hear a lot about having the confidence to be successful, but it takes self-confidence to fail and manage that failure in ways that don't damage your self-esteem.
This is important: Self-confidence doesn't consist of knowing for sure something will go well. It has more to do with relaxing with the certainty that you can handle uncertainty, even if that means some kind of failure. Real self-confidence imbues you with an overriding sense of "whatever happens, I'll be okay!" It's bigger than both success and failure.
3) Focus on your strengths
It's so easy to dismiss or forget what you've achieved, what you're good at, your personal positive attributes. Regularly take stock and take time to dwell on all the stuff you know do well. Don't dismiss things because they seem natural or easy to you: "Oh, anyone can bake a cake, write a piano concerto, help make an upset friend feel better, make others laugh!"
Write a list now of absolutely everything you know you can do either well or just proficiently. It might be as simple as driving your car or giving a speech, writing neatly or knowing how to sing. But remember: don't dismiss it because whatever it is, millions of people can't do it.
The essence of self-confidence is having faith not only in your own abilities but also in your own potential.
4) Build self-confidence though self-hypnosis
People who are under-confident misuse self-hypnosis without even knowing they're doing it. So many people waste time imagining how awful they'll feel 'when' things go wrong. They worry about how they'll cope with humiliation, defeat, failure, or being thought of as weird or 'a loser'. No wonder they fear to even try.
This is a destructive, uncontrolled form of self-hypnosis. Misusing the imagination to rehearse feeling bad about yourself is a fast-track route to self-doubt. Get into the habit of doing the opposite.
Think about when you want to feel confident specifically. Close your eyes and rehearse feeling and acting boldly with decisiveness and focus. When we stop worrying about what might go wrong, we can start focusing on what might go right; and when we do that, things are more likely to go well for us.
For a taste of positive self-hypnosis, click on the free audio below, listen, and relax.
5) Enough analysis; just go for it!
Over-thinking, having to analyze all the possible ifs, buts, and maybes, can become an unconscious excuse not to do anything at all.
I'm not, of course, advocating blind action with no thought or planning whatsoever, but there comes a time when "now is the time!" Rather than always thinking: "What might happen?", how about: "Let's find out what happens!"
Self-confident people are adventurous experimenters who keep an open mind and don't assume that something will go badly - or even well. They simply enjoy making a start and finding out later.
The more you try in life, the more you build self-confidence through discovering how to manage lots of different situations.
6) Look to others, then forget about others
Self-confidence can be 'picked up', almost through the ether, by observing other self-confident folk. Learn about what confident people do, how they see the world.
Think carefully about how they would live your life if they were in your situation and circumstances. Write a 'short story' of maybe 800 words about someone in your position, living your life, making a series of very self-confident decisions and taking confident action. What kinds of ideas do they generate, what decisions do they make, what actions do they take?
As you build your self-confidence, then you can forget about other self-confident people because you'll be the one people will want to emulate.
7) Look to your beginnings
You may not think of yourself as a self-confident person because you haven't been that way in the past. But I'd like you to dwell on the idea that self-confidence is more of a reclaiming of how you would have been had you not learnt self-doubt, diffidence, and fear of failure.
Self-confidence is your natural state, before you learned to imagine what others 'might think of you' or how something bad happening might be the 'end of the world'.
We learn to doubt ourselves, but where it matters in life I want you to start trusting in yourself.