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9 Things Confident People Do

9 Things Confident People Do

Confidence is a foundational piece of being able to do great things in life. If you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, you’re more likely to try different things and take risks—ask your boss for a raise or promotion, approach an attractive guy or girl in public, or start working out. Whatever it is, chances are that if we don’t feel confident in our ability to succeed, we won’t try it. Confidence is something that is often easy to notice in people, but is difficult to figure out what exactly it is they’re doing that is making them so visibly confident. Here are ten things that confident people do regularly and that you can implement immediately to start building your confidence.

1. Smile

Something as simple as smiling more can do wonders to improve your mood and stress levels. Smiling makes your brain feel like you are happy, which in turn projects positivity to the rest of your body. Next time you are walking down the street or around the halls at school or work, smile at the first person you see and notice the change in your mood.

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2. Encourage others

Confident people are aware of their abilities and don’t feel threatened by others. Instead, confident people encourage others to be successful and inspire others to seek out beneficial opportunities. Next time someone approaches you—a coworker, friend, colleague—about an opportunity they have or are interested in, encourage and inspire them to go through with it.

3. Open, positive body language

Projecting positive body language not only impacts how others view you, but it also affects how you feel. Similar to smiling, doing something as easy as standing taller or slightly puffing out your chest can make you feel much more confident. Next time you are in a stressful situation, straighten up your posture and feel your feet plant firmly into the ground.

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4. Ask about others

Confident people don’t feel the need to talk about themselves every chance they get. Yes, they want to be heard, but they don’t feel a need to prove themselves.  This confidence allows them to get to know another person quicker, as they are making that person feel like the most important person in the room. Next time you’re talking to someone you don’t know (or barely know), try to keep the conversation about them while being genuine. To do this, I use a mental framework I call FORGE: family, occupation, relationships, goals, environment. Once you find something that they seem passionate about or that you have in common, go further on that topic. Once a person realizes you’re genuinely interested in them, they are more likely to open up.

5. Listen

Listening goes a long way in how you make people feel. Confident people listen and hear what others have to say. This is a way to remain open-minded and understand others’ perspectives. One of the best tips I was ever told was to listen to someone’s viewpoint and wait at least three seconds to reply. If you reply too soon, you’re defending your response or replying with your own thoughts and it’s likely that you didn’t actually listen—you were concentrated on your perspective. As you wait to reply, the other person is also more likely to reveal more about themselves. Next time you feel the urge to reply immediately in a conversation, stop, wait for three seconds, and really let that other person’s words sink in.

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6. Think confidently

Thinking confidently may seem obvious or easy, but it’s important (and sometimes harder than you’d think). To think confidently, try remembering a time when you felt confident in a situation. Maybe after you received a compliment from someone after your last presentation, you felt great about yourself and confident in your skills. Before you give your next presentation or speech, remember how this felt, and remember that other people saw how well you performed previously—this lets your brain know you are more than capable of succeeding because you’ve done it before.

7. Dress for success

This may seem vain, but the way you dress impacts how you feel. Think about it— you don’t put on dress clothes to lounge around all day, watching Netflix. So, the same holds true if you want to feel confident. Next time you go into a situation where you need to feel confident (a presentation, negotiation, crucial conversation, etc.) wear clean, well-kept clothes that fit properly and notice how more confident you feel.

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8. Glass half-full mentality

Rather than focusing on the negative and pessimistic side of things, confident people focus on being optimistic; they’re confident in their ability to see an alternative path to achieve their desired outcomes. It’s easy to think about what can’t be done due to limited resources, skills, time, etc., but confident people approach a situation they’re given and think, “How can I make this work?” When you feel defeated or that the odds are not in your favor, focus on what you have and be optimistic that you can make it work.

9. Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your presence, and presence is one of the key contributors of charisma. Confident people have great awareness of the situation around them and they focus all their energy and attention on those they are talking with. Meditating opens your mind to feeling in the moment, and when you’re in the moment it’s easier to see your abilities and skills in action, which can help you to feel more confident in yourself. Meditating can improve your mindfulness and make you more aware of your own thoughts. If you can recognize your thoughts, you’re able to catch the negative ones before they manifest in your body and turn them into positive thoughts, which will help you to feel more confident.

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Dominic DeMartini

Founder of DrivenProfessional, helping professionals improve leadership and social skills.

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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