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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.