Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some confidence hacks? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
Developing real confidence has no short cut. Millions of people in this world appear confident on the surface. They dress for success, act like they know it all, and show no signs of insecurity. To make matters more complicated, many of their friends, family, and colleges praise their bold fronts, which enables them to continue living with a false sense of invincibility.
Under the surface, they are scared to death that they are inadequate. While our culture embraces narcissists, we have more difficulty identifying authentic confidence.
What is real confidence?
When someone has genuine confidence, it’s something you can feel when s/he walks into the room. I define presence as the feeling-of-being in the here-and-now. It involves thoughtless awareness of the present moment. Presence means that you’re not thinking about the past or dreaming about the future, you’re so consumed with the present moment that nothing else matters. When someone walks in the room with nothing else on their mind than what is happening right now, you feel their presence.
A confident person is powerful. Power is strength and confidence in your competence. This involves feeling confident in knowing who you are, what you offer, and what you want. Power means that you make the best decisions for yourself and those around you while striving for love, happiness, and satisfaction. In order to be confident, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and know what you want.
A confident person strives to meet their potential and knows that they have the capacity to transform into their unique goals and aspirations. Potential involves aligning your mind, body, and spirit into perfect balance and harmony. Potential means recognizing that you are the author of your own life and that you have the ability to make your dreams come true right now. A confident person is always contributing towards the creation of their potential.
How do you develop real confidence?
1. Know your stuff.
No matter what career you’re in, you need to have knowledge in that field. This means recalling what you know by using that knowledge and applying it other places. It also means learning what you don’t know. In order to grow, you need to continue seeking new information. When you know your stuff, you trust yourself and that provides an instant confidence boost.
2. Speak with conviction.
Fake it ‘til you make it is a real phenomenon. Sometimes you have to experiment with new ways of being to break out of old habits and create new patterns. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you to speak with confidence, practice makes perfect. Speak aloud when you’re home alone and try to find your comfort zone in front of others. With time and practice you’ll start speaking with conviction in front of others, which will make you more engaging. Your confidence will grow as others respond to you with positive feedback.
3. Seek self-growth.
As a licensed counselor and psychologist in training, my goal is to help guide others towards genuine confidence. While this takes time, I know that transformation is possible. The reason self-growth is so important is that you need someone to help you see and understand things that you can’t perceive from your perspective. You need someone knowledgeable about when to push you and how to help you integrate the lessons you’ve already learned. Externalizing your feelings and processing your thoughts with someone is like adding fertilizer to your garden—everything grows faster.
Learning to be more present in each moment helps you develop presence. The less activity you have going on in your head, the better. You need to learn to use your brain as a tool rather than letting it control you. Consistent meditation is one way to learn how to increase your attention and focus. Meditation has the added benefit of relaxation and better emotional regulation, which will help you remain calm as chaos and unpredictability swirls around you.
5. Discover your edge of growth.
An important aspect in developing real confidence is honing in on your strengths and weaknesses. This isn’t just in your career; this is in your private life too. The reason therapy or other self-work is important, is because you always have room to grow. No matter how successful you become, there is always room for improvement. Pushing yourself towards a place of discomfort will help you continue to break through barriers to your success.
I dedicate my life to helping others find their true confidence. More importantly, I strive to practice what I preach. With that knowledge, I admit that what’s listed above is not as easy as it sounds. This takes years of work and effort that most people would rather not do. The majority of people don’t want to confront old discomforts and stir up deep thoughts and feelings when they could be watching Netflix. Many people who start these practices fall off because they think that they are doing well enough that they don’t need to continue. In order to maintain growth, you must stay the course.
In medicine, we know that preventative care saves money and results in better long-term health outcomes. It’s the same with mental health, which necessarily involves self-confidence. So keep your foot on the gas pedal, and work towards finding real confidence today.
Develop your presence, unleash your power, and achieve your potential.