How To Be More Confident
By Leo Gura - February 12, 2014 | 16 Comments
Uncovering the root of your confidence issues and practical steps you can take to become more extroverted.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this quick self-help segment we’re going to talk about how exactly to be more confident. Alright, this is a personal issue for me because I’ve had a lot of confidence problems that I’ve worked out over the last five years, and I’m still working on some.
But I think I have some good insights for you on how to develop your confidence and to help you understand where you’re coming from if you’re not feeling confident. Why it is you’re not feeling as confident as you see other people being and how to flip that around. So let’s crack into it.
I’m actually going to give you a recipe that you can follow in the next fifteen minutes to get yourself back on track and become the confident person you want to be.
So, confidence. Let’s understand why you’re not so confident. Let’s actually back up one step and talk about the idea that if you’re not confident right now, you’re feeling meek, if you’re feeling very introverted, if you’re feeling you’re not assertive, you’re not decisive with people and in social situations, whether it’s in intimate relationship or you’re at work or with your friends, all of that can be flipped around. All of that can be changed.
You’re going to have to do some deep personal work, some personal development, to get yourself to the place you want to be at, but you can certainly do it. I’ve done it in my own life. Where I started out from, was that I was overweight for much of my childhood and up through college. So, that really crippled my self-image as far as how attractive I was, as far as how confident I could be in social situations. Both in relationships with the opposite sex, but also in work type situations or even when, say, I was interacting with a grocery store clerk.
The level of assertiveness I had there was not the level of assertiveness that I wanted. I realized I needed to get this handled. So I started using some of these principles that I’m going to show you, and really made a lot of progress.
I really want to encourage you to not tell yourself you’re just an introvert, you’re a shy type of person. Maybe you have been up to this point, but you can change all of that. All of that is changeable. So, let’s talk about why you’re not confident. The bottom line, the reason you’re not confident, is that you have some limiting beliefs that somehow got instilled in you.
Whether you instilled them yourself, or the environment you grew up in as a kid or even as an early adult, instilled them into you, somehow they got into your system. So, limiting beliefs. Beliefs about, for example, caring about what other people think of you, trying to get approval from other people, worrying that you’re somehow going to make a fool of yourself, somehow you’re going to get rejected or somehow you’re going to get embarrassed, or somehow you’re going to get disapproval in some way from the people that you’re talking with.
Or somehow what you have to say is not as valuable as what other people have to say. Or you see yourself as naturally shy, or an in-your-shell type of person. All of those can be real stumbling blocks towards developing your confidence. How do they get into your system?
Well, they get into your system because as you’re growing up you have different conditions that you’re put into. And many times we literally have one or two traumatic events in the past that have suppressed our natural extroversion. I don’t remember who exactly the author was, but I was reading in one book, and I loved the brilliance of this, the author said that we are all born extroverted and all of those who are introverts are only introverts because something happened to them to obscure and block their natural extroversion.
I find that to be true. For me, I had various incidents in my past which caused me to be very introverted. You, I am sure, have your own set of incidences. Maybe it was the way your parents treated you. Maybe it was the way your siblings treated you. Maybe the way that things happened at school. Maybe a friend rejected you. Maybe someone broke up with you. Something traumatic like that, that caused you to retreat and go back into your shell.
And now what happens is that it’s ingrained somewhere in your subconscious and you don’t want to come out. You don’t want to express yourself. You feel like if you are going to be your natural self, and you’re going to be assertive with people, that somehow it’s going to come back to hurt you. So you feel insecure around people, whether in relationships intimately, or at work, or anywhere else. So that’s the bottom line of it.
Get Clear About Your Insecurities
If you want to be more confident you have to dig into these limiting beliefs. It’s the fundamental solution. What you’ve got to do, is start identifying, and here we’re getting into the recipe of how to build your confidence. This is the first step. I want you to start identifying areas in your life, specifically, where you lack confidence. Don’t just say, “I’m not a confident person.” Identify where you’re not confident.
Maybe you’re not confident when you’re on a date. Maybe you’re not confident when you’re in a bar or a club. Maybe you aren’t confident talking to the opposite sex. Maybe you’re not confident at work when you need to stand up for your beliefs. Maybe you’re not confident when you’re interacting with a manager or a boss. Maybe you’re not confident when you’re in a large group of people. Maybe you’re not even confident when you’re in the grocery store buying your groceries and just talking to the cashier.
Where are you lacking confidence? Maybe all of the above? Probably, I’m guessing, somewhere more specific. One or two of those are specifically causing you the biggest trouble. So I want you to sit down and write down what are all the specific areas in life where you’re encountering this. When you get that specific, you’re going to start to see some patterns emerge and you will start to identify the problem more specifically. Just a general lack of confidence is very abstract and generic. So first you’re going to hone that down.
I want you to really identify the specific actions that are happening. So even when you’re not confident, let’s say, on a date. What exactly is causing you insecurity there? Think about that. What actions? Is it the beginning of the date when you first meet? It is kind of awkward and you don’t know that person too well? It’s awkward, like, “Should we hug? Or should we kiss? Should we handshake?” Like that? Or is it you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself and you feel like you can’t hold a conversation naturally?
Or maybe you feel unconfident about the stories you have to share about your life and you feel like the person will reject you for them. Or they’ll think that you’re weird. Or you’ll get embarrassed. Or maybe you feel some other hang up there. So where exactly are you feeling unconfident on, on a date?
In your work situation, where are you feeling unconfident there? How exactly is that being manifest? When you’re sitting at a meeting, at a group meeting, and people are standing up and voicing their opinions, and you’re sitting there and being quiet and meek, make a note of that, if that’s you. Or maybe it’s when you see an opportunity in your job maybe to step up or put yourself in line for a promotion and your mind tells you, “No, no, no, don’t do that. Stay safe, stay in your current place.” Maybe you’re lacking confidence in that way.
Focusing On Alternative Actions
Maybe you’re lacking confidence in voicing your thoughts and you can’t get those out. Or you’re finding that you have to hold back your thoughts. Make a list of all these different ways that you are not being confident. Then what I want you to do, is to analyze each one of those situations you’re facing, and say, “What is an alternative set of actions that you could be taking? What would a confident person be doing?”
So let’s say, on that date situation, what would the most confident person, someone really confident with the opposite sex, what would he or she do? How would he or she think? Jot down some specific points. How would he talk about his stories? How would she be thinking about this situation? How would he or she be carrying himself? What would the body language be like? What would their thought process be?
Same thing with the situation at work or anywhere else. Make a list of alternative actions that you could be taking that would feel confident to you if you took them.
So that is going to be your game plan. You identify the situations, and you identify the alternative actions, you kind of know what you need to do. Basically what you need to do is start changing your behaviors. You need to start practicing and living in those alternative actions.
I’m going to give you a couple techniques that are going to go along with this process to make it a bit easier for you. So, you’re going to want to baby step this. This is not something that you’re really going to solve in a week. It’s not even going to be something you solve in a month. Just tell yourself that this is something worthwhile to work on.
Even if you don’t fix it in a month, just slowly chip away at it. In a year or two, you’re going to find yourself really raising your confidence level. Just by chipping away at every day, every other day, every week. You’re naturally going to be able to do this because you will always be interacting with people. You have these little opportunities every day or a couple times a week, to boost up your confidence level by taking a new set of actions rather than retreating into your shell like you have been in the past.
So you’re going to have to do that, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone a little bit. At times it’s going to feel a little bit scary. It’s going to feel a little bit threatening to you because you want to be safe and you want to retreat back into your shell. But you’ve got to tell yourself that in the long run it’s going to be worth it.
So you’re going to have to push it. You’re going to have to find that comfort zone for you. Then you have to push it a little more and a little more, where it’s not too scary. Because if you make it super, super scary, then that’s just going to put you back into your shell even more. So just challenge yourself in small ways. I’m going to talk about that a little more in a second.
Two Amazing Affirmations
But I’m going to give you a couple techniques here to help you along with this process. So besides finding opportunities where you can take these alternative actions and steps out of your comfort zone, the other thing I want you to do is, I’m going to give you two affirmations that you’re going to tell yourself every morning for five minutes. I have another video where I talk about how to do proper affirmations so go ahead and check that out. You can find it on Actualized.org and also on YouTube.
But here I’m just going to say, the number one affirmation is: I love being confident. So you’re going to say that to yourself: I love being confident, I love being confident, I love being confident. And you’re going to do that for five minutes straight every morning for at least two months without missing a single day. You’re going to do that for five minutes, you get a timer and you time yourself for five minutes with that affirmation.
Then, the second affirmation. And this one is: I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I also want you to spend five minutes on this every morning, so a total of ten minutes. Use a stop watch to time yourself. And do this, each of them, for two months straight. You’re going to start to notice that it’s going to make a big, big difference in how you feel about yourself.
Because, it’s going to start to work on your subconscious image of yourself. Now the reason I mention this one, that I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, is that I find that people who lack confidence, the reason they lack confidence, the bottom line of it is, that you’re afraid that somehow you’re going to cause disapproval in somebody else. And the bottom line there is you just care too much about what other people think of you.
The fact is that it’s not important what other people think of you. I can tell you that, and you might even agree with me logically, but your subconscious mind is still going to want that approval. It’s going to crave approval. And it’s going to be really painful when someone disapproves of you, when someone disagrees with you, when someone says that what you’re doing is wrong, when someone has a different opinion than you.
So what you’ve got to do is start to numb that down, somehow get rid of that belief. A way to do that, I’ve found, that is really nice, is to do that affirmation. Alright, so those two affirmations.
Visualizing Your Confident Self
And then, the last technique I’m going to give you is a visualization technique. You’re going to spend five minutes every day for the next two months doing this visualization.
You’re going to picture yourself in that specific situation that you made a list of. You’re going to pick one situation, the worst one for you, where you feel the least confident. Then you’re going to take the alternative action that a confident person would take. You’re going to imagine yourself doing that in the moment, right now.
So when you do a visualization (I also have videos on that you’ll want to check out), basically you close your eyes for five minutes. You get a stop watch. You time yourself. You picture yourself and you feel what it would be like. You imagine, with as much detail as possible, what it would be like for you to handle that situation where you don’t feel confident, to handle it confidently.
So basically, you are pretending that you are a super, naturally confident person. You’re going to play that movie out in your mind, and you’re going to pretend. You’re going to totally forget about how you’re not confident right now. You’re just going to pretend that you are. You’re going to do that for two whole months, five minutes every day without missing a day.
Wow, if you do those things, I guarantee that your self-confidence is going to skyrocket. It will totally change. You’re not going to believe how effective these very simple techniques can be.
So the final note that I’m going to end on, is beside doing the affirmations and the visualizations, of course you’re going to be doing those. But then those are going to be priming you for the real action that you’re going to be taking in your life, which is push your comfort zone in real life situations.
So the affirmations and the visualizations are going to prime you for when you’re really in the line of fire. When you’re on that date, or you’re in that presentation room at your work, and you need to be assertive and confident, you’re going to step up and take that action the confident person would take.
You’re going to have to force yourself a little bit to do that. Push through the fear, push through any anxiety that you have. As you do that consistently, the more you do it, then you will become a naturally confident person. You’re going to grow into it and it’s not going to feel fake. At first it might feel a little forced, a little fake, but it’s going to become very natural to you as you keep working on it.
The last point that I’m going to end on is that I want you to socialize more. Take opportunities to be more social. I find a lot of times where people are not as confident is because they are doing things where they are in solitary confinement. They’re sitting at home, or they’re sitting at work in their cubicle, they’re not out talking to people. They’re actually actively denying opportunities to socialize.
So maybe your friends one night, on a Friday night, are going out to a party and they invite you. But you dismiss them and say, “Nah, nah, I’m just going to stay home and read.” Or maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend want to take you out to meet their social circle and you’re like, “Nah, nah, let’s just stay in and watch a movie.”
Or maybe at work your coworkers are organizing an after work party or they’re deciding to host a weekly lunch where you all just get together and socialize. And they invite you and you say, “No, no, I’m just going to go have my own lunch. I make my own lunch. I don’t really want to go out. I don’t want to pay for dinner.” Or, “I don’t want to pay for lunch.”
I want to challenge you to stop that. You need to socialize more. You need more opportunities where you can step out of your shell and your comfort zone. So take those opportunities. First of all, don’t deny opportunities that are coming your way, but even better, go out there and create opportunities for yourself.
What does that look like? Well, maybe on Friday night decide to go out with your friends to a local bar or club. Maybe decide that you are going to join some sort of meet up group where you’re going to talk to people who are into whatever thing that you are into, that are into your hobby. Go to Meetup.com and find groups there.
Maybe you’re the one who’s going to create a lunch group at work, so that instead of waiting for other people to create it you’re going to be the leader. You’re going to say, “Hey guys, why don’t we meet for lunch every Wednesday at noon and we’re going to go to this restaurant or this bar or this pub and we’re just going to socialize and we’re going to talk work, not work, it doesn’t matter.” Try to get some colleagues together for that social event and be the center of that. Step up and try to be a bit of a leader.
So all of this, I’m kind of painting in broad strokes the long term path that you want to take. You’re going to want to baby step it. Start small. Start with the affirmations. Start with the visualizations and creating this list that we talked about. Then go out there and actually live it. You’re going to find that your life changes dramatically.
Alright, this is Leo. This is how to be more confident. Go ahead, ‘like’ this, share this. Please leave me your comments below.
And of course, visit Actualized.org for more videos like this about how to develop your confidence, develop yourself as a human being, develop yourself in your career, in your personal life and in your relationships and your health, basically everywhere. Create an amazing life for yourself through personal development. And there you can sign up for my newsletter where you’re going to get videos like this every week for free.