There are people who live their lives to the fullest and there are those who prefer to accept their situation, as long as they don’t have to feel stress arising from low self-confidence. Avoiding stress because of low self-confidence causes more anxieties. Therefore, instead of avoiding stress, we should learn how to cultivate self-confidence.
We all have two lives — the life we live and the life we want. But anxiety and self-doubt can prevent us from realizing our potential and leading happier, more fulfilling lives.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever did.”
“Being negative only makes a journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.” — Joyce Meyer
Low self-confidence can be an incredibly destructive trait. Gaining confidence is the key to happiness. Highly self-confident people are more likely to get what they want in life.
Henry Ford’s notion couldn’t ring truer: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Which basically states that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed.
A recent study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did.
Self-confidence can get us far in this world. Employers, potential partners and friends all appreciate strong, self-confident people. It’s an admired trait. But even if we don’t Feel confident, there are ways to Appear confident. When we succeed in doing that, we’ll find that, very quickly, we will actually feel as confident as we appear!
Below are some of the ways and means to cultivate self-confidence.
1) Knowledge is Power.
A thorough knowledge of whatever work or subject we are involved with and being well informed, gives tremendous confidence. There may be new development in the same subject or new knowledge relevant to the same subject, which we may not be aware of. We need to go to the right sources to ask questions and acquire that knowledge.
There is no stupid question in a field we aren’t familiar with. Don’t feel shy to ask questions. Shy people don’t make much progress in life.
“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask is a fool for life.” — Confucius
2) Language and Communication Skills
Good command over a language and excellent communication skills are vital for self-confidence. Confidence is measured in the way we speak, so it’s important to be aware of our mannerisms and tone. Cut out words such as ‘um’ and ‘like’ and practice being more articulate. Don’t run through words, try to speak precisely and directly. When we speak it should be in the proper tone and with enthusiasm, because this shows confidence.
Lack of proper communication skills is a major problem in this world. When we are unable to precisely communicate what we want to say, it creates unnecessary misunderstandings.
3) Make eye contact and keep it.
Don’t be the first to look away. When your eyes meet another, hold the gaze, especially if you or they are talking. Don’t stare, just move your eyes to theirs and hold, let them drop to the face and then back up. Don’t break eye contact quickly. People who immediately break eye contact give the impression that they either feel guilty for something, don’t trust the person or are bored.
You can practice this with random people. You may be surprised at their reaction when you get the nerve just to look them in the eyes. It will transmit confidence and interest.
4) Don’t fidget
Fidgeting is a sign of anxiety and nervousness. Compulsively moving your foot or nodding, as someone else is talking, transmits a lack of calm. Don’t touch your face when talking to others, this is a clear sign of a lack of confidence. Don’t play with your hair or tie or look anywhere but at the person you are talking to. To develop your self-confidence, you’ll need to be aware of your body and keep calm. If you feel you’re beginning to fidget, take a deep breath, disconnect for a moment and count to three. Then release your breath and return to reality in control of your body.
5) Listen to others
When you are talking to another person, listen to them intently, don’t cut them off and don’t start talking immediately after they are done. Take 3 seconds to process the information and then formulate a response that shows that you really listened. Use specific details if possible. The time you take to think and process what the other person said will make you look more confident and wiser.
6) Don’t cut people off
A person in control is a confident person, one who can listen to others’ mistakes without having to correct them immediately. Remember, fools shout and cut others off, while strong, confident people take the time to listen and formulate a relevant response to what was said. On the other hand, if someone cuts you off, be assertive but calm and ask politely that you be given the opportunity to finish. Don’t look grouchy, they probably didn’t mean to do it, just smile.
7) Practice exhibiting confidence through body language.
Our positive body language helps us feel as well as appear more confident. There is much evidence pointing to body language as a path to developing self-confidence. A ‘fake it till you make it’ approach can actually generate confidence. So, stand up straight, don’t slouch, don’t look at the floor. Pull your shoulders back, push out your chest a bit and plant your feet in an open wide stance. Keep your hands out of your pockets and always visible. Keep your chin and head up. Confident people take larger steps and walk with authority. Doing so will make you feel less anxious.
8) Physical activity
Physical activity is known to boost self-confidence. Research has shown that there is a direct link between sports and chemicals being released in the brain to cause euphoria. Physical activity will also improve your looks, which will also add to your self-confidence. Do any kind of physical activity or participate in group activities for a better overall feeling and a great boost in self-confidence.
9) Dress well
It’s amazing how much we get judged on visuals alone. You can take advantage of that fact by always being well dressed according to the occasion. Find the balance between comfort and a great look.
Work to your strengths — organize your day to focus on what you’re good at.
“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
“With confidence, you have won before you have started.” — Marcus Garvey
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for cultivating self-confidence. We can very well remove anxiety’s influence over our lives.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” — E E Cummings