You have qualities that are determined by your genetics such as skin tone, hair color, whether you are left or right handed, and if you can roll your tongue.
The environment in which you live further shapes other traits. The people you spend most of your time with as a child shape your accent, initial intelligence, athletic ability, overall health, and general social interaction skills.
Then there are the traits that you control. You decide whether you will grow your intelligence, expand your athletic ability, choose a different life path than most people you know, and how you will ultimately present yourself to the world.
You form confidence in one of three ways…
- Natural confidence based on an innate mental understanding of your skills
- Mimicked confidence from confident people in your life (parents, teachers, friends)
- Learned confidence due to your own desires or needs
Most of us, myself included, learn confidence. No matter your age, you can learn how to be more confident until the people in your life believe it comes naturally to you.
What is True Confidence?
Confidence is knowing your particular strengths and a sincere belief in the skills you bring to the table. It is trusting in yourself enough to tell others, “You can trust me, too.” It is the art of being comfortable in your own skin and broadcasting that feeling to other people.
People often mistake confidence for arrogance. The two traits could not be more different!
Confident people know their personal value and self-worth. Confidence is your knowledge, skills, and the ability to back up what you say with action. They don’t waste time talking about what they can do…they prove it with measurable effects.
Arrogant people have an inflated sense of value and self-worth. Arrogance is “false confidence.” More than likely, you’ve known many arrogant people in your life. I refer to them as “all mouth, no results.”
There is always room for improvement, to strive for a higher rung on the ladder – whatever ladder you happen to be climbing. Whether your goals involve professional, intellectual, sexual, emotional, or physical growth, it is never too late!
When I was a child, I was very quiet. I was careful not to draw attention to myself in any way because I lived in an extremely toxic environment. Though I was a good student, polite, and conscientious of the traits that made me “different” from other kids my age, I always seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The year I moved out on my own, I maintained that quiet, reserved personality for many months. I continued to walk on eggshells and allow other people to dictate what I would do from day to day. Then I started to realize I could speak up, I could make the choices right for me, and I could comfortably say “no” if something conflicted with my own goals or needs.
Since then, I’ve often slid backwards to that quiet person who does what’s best for everyone else, but I do a self-evaluation every year or so to test myself on what has happened and what I should have done differently so I can avoid slipping into old habits.
It is liberating. When you understand that you are a person of worth, it does incredible things for your confidence. It changes how you view yourself and that is contagious.
How to Be More Confident in 3 Simple Steps
1. Know what you know. This is crucial. Take a moment to determine your own skill set and be honest and thorough in your evaluation. Are you a great cook? Do you have a gift for crafts? Are you able to speak in front of others? Have you traveled? Are you a foodie? Do you know everything there is to know about books, music, or movies? Do numbers come easily to you? Is there a box of writing in your closet that you’ve never shown anyone? Everyone has one or two things that set you apart from others, that are unique to you as an individual. Know your strengths!
2. See where you can apply what you love in your daily life. You are most confident about the things you love. Sure, you might be a cashier, an accountant, or a shop owner but “jobs” or “titles” do not define you. Are you utilizing the skills you love? Are you using them to move your life forward? Think about all of it and make a list of the things you’re particularly good at because they are the key to your “inner self-worth” barometer. It is important to expand these strong traits, to make them work for you in social and professional situations.
3. Surround yourself with the people you most want to be. If you love something, you owe it to yourself to grow it, to make it a larger part of your life, and to meet others who can help you grow, show you better ways to do things, and encourage you when you feel lost. Learning how to be more confident (especially as adults) starts with learning to talk, to interact with like-minded people. Developing your confidence skills in a place where you feel safe.
These phases are so easy! They start your confidence building in an area that you already love and have a keen interest in. That means you’ll find it easier to smile, talk, and interact with people who share your passion. The more confident you are about your “hobby” or “dream,” the easier it is to discuss it.
It took me many years to embrace the writer who lived inside me. The more I gave my inner self the freedom to express all the things brewing in my head, the more confident I grew.
Confidence doesn’t bloom overnight but it can be learned.
A big part of the process is your level of motivation. You have to see what you want and be willing to work toward it. Like anything significant, gaining self-confidence is vital to overall happiness and quality of life. It is a worthy goal, one that is clearly attainable, and will change absolutely everything about your life.
My own confidence mantra for many years was “fake it until I make it.” Even if I was a nervous wreck on the inside, I plastered a smile on my face and forced myself to chat. Over the years, I learned a lot I didn’t know, met fascinating people who opened my mind to new ideas and opportunities, and generally helped me build that “fake” confidence into “real” confidence.
I’m living proof that it works and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s time to get started…so figure out what you already know.
What are your personal tips? What did you do to learn how to be more confident?
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.