Everyone can develop self-confidence, as long as they do their best.
As the Greek philosopher, Epictetus said, “happiness and personal achievements are natural consequences of right attitudes”, not a natural privilege of certain people, nor something acquired by chance or luck. What matters is the work itself, day after day. Such work launches us in a progression of stages that gradually brings us closer to our ideals.
Self-confidence, leadership, and charisma are qualities that we can teach ourselves.
In order to be confident and feel willing to give our best and to openly expose our interests and ideas, without fearing the reaction of others, we need courage, integrity, imagination, and a resilient heart.
THE LIMITS OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
And what would be the limit of that self-confidence? When would it become excessive and unpleasant? ” Unbridled self-confidence and self-indulgence will lead us to perpetual conflict with others, and are damaging to our character,” says Bryan Magee, “but inhibition can be just as disadvantageous.”
Think, therefore, of Aristotle and Buddha, two great men of antiquity who, each in their place of origin, developed the doctrine of the environment, according to which virtue is the midpoint between two extremes. Between pretentiousness and excessive modesty, we can find self-confidence tempered with softness, and this is the quality to which we must aspire. Here are 18 tips to build your self-confidence:
1 # RESIST NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
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A survey conducted a few years ago revealed that people have about 65,000 thoughts daily, 85% to 90% of which are negative and involve things that we worry about or fear. Understand the fact that your brain works that way, and keep negativity in place.
2 # KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GET
Knowing your goals is essential to nurturing your self-confidence and becoming someone more likely to reach the top – whatever the “top” means to you.
You must know what you want and where you want to go and calculate your actions so that they suit your intended purposes. To do so, you need to cultivate four characteristics: energy, confidence in your own ability, good humor, and the ability to think for yourself.
3 # KNOW HOW TO ADAPT TO CHANGES
Success rarely pours out its blessings on those who lack a certain amount of flexibility. Being mentally flexible is necessary because when circumstances are suddenly changed, it is crucial not to panic, but to be pragmatic, seeking a new solution and adapting quickly.
Former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Almost all great civilizations perished because they had crystallized because they lost the ability to adapt to new conditions, new methods and new points of view.
It is as if people would rather die than change. We need to learn to think freshly about our new world, to free our intelligence from the grip of fear, and make it work. ”
Or, following the line of stoic philosophy, remember that things do not happen in order to meet our expectations. They happen the way they should.
4 # UNDERSTAND THAT EVERYTHING IS UNDER YOUR CONTROL
We just mentioned the fact that we have to adapt to the circumstances, right?
There is another issue that dialogs directly with this – if you believe that you have complete dominance over the world, your efforts may be frustrated and you risk becoming an anxious and embittered person. By trying to avoid inevitable things, you will cause suffering to yourself and others.
5 # DO NOT DEPEND ON EXTERNAL THINGS
“The things you have can be excellent,” says Epictetus, “but your personal excellence does not derive from them.” Do not support your self-confidence in what is external to you. Instead, develop your inner musculature.
6 # ACT NOW
Let us turn to Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady of the United States whom we mentioned a few paragraphs ago. “In the deep run, there is nothing more liberating, nor more interesting knowledge, than managing your positions, declaring them clearly and then acting boldly.
The action has its strength, its energy, growth in self-confidence that could not be acquired in any other way ”.
7 # LEARN FROM YOUR FAULTS OR MISTAKES
Everything that happens to us must be viewed in accordance with a focused vision for the future, as this can only be addressed through the lessons we learned in the past. We won’t always get it right.
In some cases, the responsibility for the errors will be ours. In others, it will be from another individual. On occasion, circumstances or bad luck will have hurt us.
But it does not matter. If you are not successful on the first try, try again. To conquer anything, we need to have the humility to stumble, to get lost every now and then, and to make mistakes.
Instead of personalizing an event and drawing disheartening conclusions about yourself or humanity, see how you can make the best possible use of certain aspects of what happened. You are likely to find a benefit – as a lesson – less evident than a more sensitive eye could discern.
8 # BE GENEROUS TO YOURSELF
Look around you. Think of the main achievements of your life. Each of them was the result of their ability, their talents, and their effort. Likewise, avoid comparing yourself all the time with others or what you would like to be.
Wish to be your best version – your most attractive, hardworking, and complete version – and not copy a model that you cannot adapt to.
9 # DON’T CONSIDER YOURSELF A VICTIM
When we go through certain situations, we convince ourselves that others are unworthy of our trust, our esteem, our love. We have learned to judge them harshly, but we are lenient with our person.
“I thought that in a corrupt world, only I had remained virtuous, ” says a character from Kokoro, the masterpiece of Japanese writer Natsume Soseki. This was obviously not the case.
There are cases where people are victims of circumstances. In less egalitarian societies, in which minorities are not properly respected and represented, this occurs more often. And it is worth fighting to change it. However, remember not to make others responsible for your bad actions. Take the reins of your life in your hands and deal with the consequences.
10 # CONTROL YOUR TRUST
An unacceptable degree of self-love and overconfidence are a perfect roadmap to disaster. Pay attention to this description of a Resurrection character, by the Russian Tolstoy: “The intellectual capacity of that man was great, but his own opinion of himself was immeasurably grand and had long since surpassed his abilities.
His self-confidence was so great that those around him were forced to walk away or submit. The comrades respected him for his courage and determination, but they did not like him ”. Are these the things you would like to hear about yourself? I do not think so.
11 # DIFFERENTIATE PRIDE CONFIDENCE
Bruce Lee, the star of cinema and martial arts, said that ” pride is a sense of dignity that derives from something that is external to us, while our self-esteem is the result of our potential and our achievements “.
When we have a hard time getting an adequate dose of self-esteem, we tend to turn away from our essence and become proud – pride being, for the Chinese star, “the explosive substitute for self-esteem”.
Self-confidence and arrogance are opposite qualities. In general, those who are confident of their ability are the ones who create an illusion of imposing self-confidence, arrogance, and oppressive authority.
12 # DELIVER BODY AND SOUL TO CHALLENGES
Don’t be discouraged by a challenge. Rather, increase your confidence in yourself with difficulties. By feeding your entrepreneurial temperament, putting your whole soul into the study of each issue, and working exhaustively in pursuit of your goals, you will be able to deal with most of life’s problems.
The Spanish writer Baltasar Gracian suggests: “Face the tasks easy as if they were difficult and difficult as if they were easy. In the first case, so that your confidence does not fall asleep; in the second, so that it does not weaken ”.
13 # MONITOR YOUR MEMORY
In a treatise that should be read by all of us, Rhetoric, Aristotle states that we “experience confidence when we believe we have always done very well and have not suffered setbacks, or have faced danger and escaped from it safely”.
It is excellent reasoning, but there is a greater complexity in that. Often, our memory does not retain information exactly as it was presented to us. Instead, we tend to extract the essence of the experience and keep it in a way that seems to make the most sense.
Have you noticed that people who witnessed the same event tell quite different versions about it? Often, none of them are lying. The fact is that we retain our memories so that they dialogue better with our beliefs, values , and self-image.
For example: if you have too low self-esteem, your brain will tend to retain information that confirms your lack of confidence. Do not forget that your memory will not always provide you with very accurate information. It is important that you do your best to have a more impersonal perspective on the facts.
14 # GET RID OF TOXIC PEOPLE
Do you know those people who are unable to compliment us? Or, even worse, that they are always ready to criticize us and to make us feel sorry and unhappy about ourselves and the things we do?
Cut them out of your life or set limits. Your time and energy are very precious to you and cannot be wasted on people who are unwilling to appreciate your company and share in your success or happiness.
However, remember to run away from flatterers. Your friends must support you, and it is equally important that you do the same for them, but do not try to surround yourself solely and exclusively with people who feed and inflate your vanity. Accept that, as a sign of confidence, those
you care about tell you the truth.
15 # TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR APPEARANCE
Eating properly, sleeping well, and exercising are things that affect our mood and productivity a lot. At the same time, we feel more confident when we consider ourselves attractive, beautiful, and elegant. Take care of your appearance, dress well, walk with confidence.
In that sense, I always think of an excerpt from the memoir of one of the most famous prostitutes in England two hundred years ago, Harriette Wilson. Referring to one of his lovers, Lord Ponsonby, renowned for his terrifying beauty, Harriette says:
“Everything in Ponsonby indicated one thing: success. The most insecure boy would have become confident if he had borrowed his reflection that night – and beside the mirror he sat, watching his own image while talking to me ”.
Given the proportions, follow the example of Lord Ponsonby and dress for success.
16 # STAY INFORMED
“If you sweat in advance, ” says George Plimpton, one of the founders of The Paris Review, “you won’t do it on stage.” Plimpton was referring to presentations, but we can very well expand his words and consider them in a broader sense.
Being prepared and retaining maximum knowledge is important to increase your self-confidence. Read, practice, research, rehearse, find out. Consult books, articles, and essays. For Plimpton, we are always rewarded when ” we act conscientiously, prepare properly, and are convinced of the ideas we profess”.
Curiosity is a quality that we should encourage. Don’t forget what Dorothy Parker, the talented American writer, and screenwriter, says: “The cure for boredom is curiosity, but curiosity has no cure.”
17 # GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
The comfort zone is not always a bad thing. Its benefits are very clear: regular happiness, even if lukewarm, and a reduced degree of anxiety and stress.
However, our comfort zone does not always involve the best things for us, and it is important to learn to leave it from time to time in order to develop new skills and talents,
which will certainly make us more confident because it will teach us how to deal with unexpected events and will prove to ourselves that we are able to act on our own.
18 # CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THIS PATH DAY AFTER DAY
Maintaining self-esteem is an ongoing task that involves all the power and intimate resources of each of us. Day after day, it is necessary for us to continue to offer evidence of our inner strength, our achievements, and our preciousness.
As with all processes, remember that we take two steps forward and one step back. In a few days, you will feel worse; get yourself together, force yourself to smile, and move on. Do your duties, nurture your best qualities and it is very likely that your admiration for yourself has recovered.