Whether it’s finding the right relationship, starting a profitable business, or becoming a successful speaker, confidence is often necessary in accomplishing our goals. Without confidence, we can’t move ahead to meet challenges. It prevents us from taking action, and we often become stagnant. In the worst case, it can lead to depression.
Here are 6 ways that can help you cultivate confidence.
1. Offer solutions, instead of relying on others.
Are you typically the person that lets others make decisions for you? Like what restaurant to eat at, or what movie to watch? When someone asks you what you want to do, do you often deflect the question back to them?
Instead of depending on others to decide, start proposing solutions. Use convictive words such as “Let’s do X”, “I propose X”, and “I suggest X”. Just by changing your language, you will start to feel more like a leader, rather than a passive follower.
It may seem very awkward at first, but you’ll eventually get used to it. Practice making decisions, instead of being in limbo. If a decision is not major, and you have the temptation to postpone making the decision, force yourself to make up your mind.
Be specific in your goals and intentions. If you plan to go on a trip sometime, don’t tell people “I plan to go someplace sometime in the future”, but come up with a specific time and place such as “I am going to visit Italy next year.”
2. Be Honest.
Many times, when we’re not confident with ourselves we often disguise our true, insecure selves and pretend to be someone else. We may lie about certain things such as our job, or our hobbies. On the surface, this might seem like a good idea, but guess what? This will turn into a vicious cycle.
Rather than pretending to be someone else, try being yourself. Reveal your vulnerabilities. Embrace your weaknesses. The more honest and open you are, the less anxious you are about being exposed to others. You will often find that people are drawn more to people who reveal how vulnerable they are. Intimate relationships develop from people who are honest with each other. Look are your current relationships: Are your close friends people you’ve met through trading business cards in a convention, or sales meeting?
3. Take the initiative in introducing yourself.
How many times have you been to a social event, and hang around until someone introduces themselves? Next time, take the initiative to introduce yourself! Just go up to a person, and say “Hi. My name is X. What is yours?”. Like most things, it sounds scarier than it really is. After the conversation is over, you will feel great about yourself.
If you can easily introduce yourself to people, try bearing the burden of the conversation. Don’t rely on the other person to come up with an interesting topic to talk about. Bring up something that interests you, and talk about it!
Many people often dis-empower themselves by thinking they’ll be regarded as stalkers, or freaks if they took the initiative in introducing themselves, especially to people of the opposite sex. But the reality is that most people will think you are cool.
4. Know what you want.
If you’re not confident, you usually feel inadequate. If you know what you want, and understand your values and principles, that feeling evaporates. Take the time to understand what your life purpose is, and what guides your life. Come up with some exciting goals, and develop a methodological plan to work on them. If you’re just living life randomly, and following the script handed to you by your parents or society, a feeling of inadequacy is inevitable. But if you live your life consciously, a strong feeling of confidence will develop. You’ll finally feel like a creator, instead of someone that simply reacts to life circumstances.
5. Learn new skills.
A lack of confidence is usually present for a reason, and that reason may be a feeling that you’re not accomplishing much. While it’s unhealthy to compare yourself to other people, this feeling is usually warranted. The best way to combat it is to simply learn more things, and be more capable.
Learn a new skill such as swimming or yoga or playing the piano. Learn more about the different types of religion, or the history of China. Learn how to set-up a website, or how to repair cars. Ideally you want to find something you would love to do, not something that would impress people.
6. Take care of your body.
Another major contributor to a lack of confidence is not loving your body. If you don’t like how you look, you can always make it better either through a healthier diet or exercise (ideally both!) The funny thing is that the simple act of exercising will immediately boost your confidence, even if it has no affect on your physical appearance. Exercising gives you energy and boosts your mind, which in turn leads to a feeling of self-worth. If you take care of your body, you’re saying to yourself “I love myself, and I’ll do everything possible to make sure I’m at my best!”