Some of the most successful people in the world exude a confidence that seems otherworldly. Think of Steve Jobs wearing the same pair of jeans and the same black polo neck every day yet ruling a technological empire that has changed the world. Think of the easy confidence of Mark Hamill as he addresses thousands of fans with a humorous anecdote and barely blinks at unexpected interruptions. How do these people do it?
Many people believe confidence is the cornerstone of success. And no wonder: in professional psychological circles it is defined as “the degree to which you think and “feel” you actions will achieve positive results”.
It is clear then that confidence is something innate, something that literally has power over the outcome of situations through sheer positivity and self-assurance. This “feeling”, this premonition of your own success, seems to have an amazing power in the lives of those who exercise confidence and almost guarantees a positive outcome.
Because of this, confidence is a highly sought-after commodity. So, is confidence something you simply have, or can you nurture it? Confidence is something you had but lost at some point in your life. When you were six, you knew you could be anything you wanted to be: a policeman, an Olympic medal-winning swimmer – it didn’t matter that you could be killed any minute of the day or that you couldn’t swim; the confidence was strong enough for you to believe you could do it. It is only when you were socialized and warned about the pitfalls of policing society or jumping into the water that you stopped to think about the negatives instead of focusing on the positives.
We should then be able to train ourselves to be confident again, but how?
Well, try to appraise your skills realistically. Many parents have raised their children by praising them for everything they do. This had the intention of building confidence but really simply gave them a hollow idea of their actual skills and disappointed the child in the end when they could not achieve anything. If you know what you are truly good at, you can work from there instead of trying to catch up with a false perception of your skills.
You also need to see yourself and what you do in a positive light, and also see yourself at the end of the line, the success that you will be. View all criticism as constructive and use it to improve your skills, which will only make your success more achievable.
Take note of your successes and use them to empower you as you move through your trials and failures. If you celebrate the small successes, you’re building up the expectation that you deserve the big success, aiding in your optimism and building your confidence.
Also, try to exhibit your confidence. Many times we are told that showing courage in an idea or in our skills is arrogant, but often putting ourselves out there is exactly what we require to build our confidence. This is particularly true when we know that we have a great idea or are excellent at a skill but are too concerned we may come off negatively if we say something – this, on the other hand, is a confidence breaker. We can also fake confidence a little by having an easy smile, dressing the part, remembering our posture, and shaking offered hands firmly.
Finally, the most important aspect of confidence is trusting yourself. This world of science and technological advancement has emphasized logic over emotion, but intuition is actually an important aspect to self-confidence. We have trained ourselves to ignore our intuition and instead work on a basis of pros and cons when the most successful people have relied much on their instinct when it came to making business decisions. Retraining ourselves to trust our intuition is a much more difficult task, however, requiring a serious commitment to meditation and self-observation.