Confidence is essential to survival. If you’re a man, you can’t even attract a mate without it, as women (and even gay men) are attracted to tenacity. There are times, however, when a devastating or unexpected loss can sap you of your poise. If you’re down, here’s how to get confidence back into your system so you’re ready to take on the world again.

1. Find Your Comfort Zone

Everyone has a comfort zone, whether it’s food, music, art, a favorite book, movie, TV show, a specific geographic location or group of people. Whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable, get into that zone. You’re not there to hide from your problems or dwell on them. You’re there to recharge; just like your muscles and mind need time to recharge, so does your mood. Take a staycation in your comfort zone to regain your composure.

2. Change Your Thoughts

Actively make a conscious decision to change your thought processes. Every time you doubt yourself, counter those thoughts with ways you can overcome. Remember most of your problems are in your head. That’s not to say they don’t exist – merely that you’re allowing them to affect you. Stand up to and for yourself, and you’ll learn ways to stand up to and for everyone else.

3. Smile Like You Mean It

A smile goes a long way. Even if you’re not fully sure of yourself, you’ll exude a sureness that encourages people to perceive you as a confident person. You’ll be seen as a leader rather than a follower, and things will be more likely to go your way. The media portrays Special Forces soldiers as killing machines, but one of their most used weapons is a friendly smile. Diplomacy is strong, so put a smile on your face, and make the world a better place.

4. Don’t Slouch!

Your posture and the way you carry yourself goes a long way in determining your appearance. If you’re slouched over, people assume you’re weaker. This is how nature works – every plant and animal species on this planet understands survival of the fittest, and you need to look like you’re fit. Make an effort to sit up and stand up straight and tall.

5. Take Baby Steps

Everything happens in steps. Don’t get discouraged if there’s no magical change that suddenly makes you confident. Focus on your path, and understand it’ll take baby steps to get where you want. You’ll soon be taking baby steps from confidence to full-on success in life.

6. Clean Yourself Up

Cleanliness is close to godliness (or so I’ve heard). Hygiene is vital to your confidence – it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re stained, sweaty and smelly. No matter what your circumstances in life are, do your best to stay clean, as it’s the key to your confidence.

7. Face Your Fears

Everyone has a list of fears and phobias, although many don’t want to admit it. I’m afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, loss of control, drowning, the dark, other people, and just about everything under the sun. I’m even afraid of the sun since I have moles and have a high melanoma risk. These are natural fears that everyone has on some level or another – it’s a fear of death and the unknown. Face at least one of your fears. When you survive, you’ll be that much more confident.

8. Define Yourself

You are your present choices. Your past decisions and future aspirations determine how your present choices are perceived, but you are your present choices. Learn how to define yourself. Set your rules and boundaries and follow them. These are your morals and ethics, and they’re the foundation of who you are. Never forget that.

9. Embrace Mistakes

Looking back (even while it was happening), we judge Michael Jordan on his successes. People quote him as the greatest basketball player of all time and use his wins, championships and statistics to back it up. Jordan himself, though, reached that level by focusing on his failures. What drove Michael Jordan wasn’t the high from making a game-winning shot, it was the low of missing one.

10. Live In The Present

Learn to appreciate everything around you. By practicing gratitude, you’ll change your perspective. Instead of being upset about losing an important client or failing a test, you’ll be grateful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and the people you love. Focus on the now, because it’s all you truly have.

11. Take Inventory

If you’re reading this, you also have a lot of secondary stuff, such as a computer, the Internet, the knowledge to use it, the ability to read. You have a lot of skills and resources available to you, even if they’re not the ones you wish they were. Figure out what you have, and find ways to use them.

12. Socialize

Talk things out with friends and family – they’re normally happy to help you regain confidence. If they (or lack thereof) are the reason you lack confidence, expand your social circle. Go to public places and interact with strangers. If you fail to make an impression or completely blow it, who cares? They weren’t in your life before, and you won’t miss them.

13. Play A Game

Video games are great for a lot of reasons, and gaining confidence is just one of them. In real life you may be a boring file clerk with a dead-end life, but in a video game, you can be whoever you want. Every video game console (as well as the majority of computer and mobile games) has achievements. Hunt down some easy wins to jumpstart your spunk.

14. Do Something Crazy

I’m a firm believer in spontaneity being the spice of life. Go out and do something you said you never would. When I reached a point in my life where it felt like nothing could go right, I jumped out of an airplane. As I fell through the air, I had several epiphanies that forever changed my life. No other decision in my life had more of a direct impact on my life than that one crazy act.

15. Try Again

If your lack of confidence is caused by failure, pick up and try again in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be immediately – you can practice, learn and evolve prior to trying again. This time, however, go in as an experienced veteran who took a few licks and got back up stronger, faster and smarter than before.

It’s easy to lose your confidence. Unexpected things happen, and you can very easily find yourself on the short end of the stick. Even though it seems like you’re the only one it’s happening to, we all experience inequalities and failures. Stick it out, and you’ll eventually get the confidence it takes to succeed.

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