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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Confident People Are Also Happier People

Why Confident People Are Also Happier People
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When asked about the most important outcomes of having healthy confidence, many would likely state “success,” “respect from others,” and “appreciation.” Happiness, on the other hand, is a feeling we tend to associate with life satisfaction and well-being, feeling healthy, and having good friends, relationships, and fulfilling careers.

We rarely directly link confidence and happiness. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of publicity about their close alliance. There is no self-help advice along the lines of “to be perpetually happy, become more confident.”

So, is it accurate to assume that confident people are also happier?

Let’s examine what some great academic minds have uncovered.

The Link Between Confidence and Happiness

Below is just a small fraction of the support that exists in favor of the positive link between the two:

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A study from 2014 on 200 students has found a positive relationship between self-esteem and happiness—that is, the increase in the former leads to an enhancement in the latter.[1] Another recent small-scale research from Ireland also unveils that favorable self-assessments are positively liked to happiness and life satisfaction.[2]

Perhaps one of the most widely-cited papers on the link between the two states is that of Prof. Roy Baumeister, titled “Does Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” In it, he quotes a large-scale study done with 31,000 college students from 49 universities, 31 countries, and five continents. High self-esteem was the most important factor which predicted overall life satisfaction, and the link between confidence and happiness is 47%, which, in statistical evidence, a very close relationship.[3]

Other studies, which Prof. Baumeister references in his paper, support the above conclusions—that is, self-esteem predicts happiness.

Self-Esteem Predicts Happiness

A decade ago, Mary Guindon—a former chair of and associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services at John Hopkins University, and a consultant, educator and a teacher on the issues of mental health, career development, and self-esteem, among others, conducted a survey of school counselors in New Jersey.

Participants were asked to list five words that best described students with high and low self-esteem. High self-worth students, turns out, were perceived as confident, friendly outgoing, happy, positive/ optimistic, and motivated.

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In comparison, the low-assured students came across as withdrawn/shy/ quiet, insecure, underachieving, negative, unhappy, socially inept, unmotivated, depressed, dependent/ followers, with poor self-image.[4]

In another widely popular piece of research, empirical studies show that confident people and low self-value ones also differed tremendously in, well, almost everything

Low esteem people are believed to be more sensitive toward criticism, more emotionally unstable, react more negatively to failure, and inhibit high doses of social anxiety and self-consciousness—that is, low confidence was linked to greater unhappiness.[5]

High self-esteem (as opposed to low) helps us to weather some of the “emotional distress” which comes from experiencing negative events, distress, and rejection.

How so? Because confident people have a different mindset when it comes to failure, Prof. Jonathon Brown—a renowned social psychologist and a self-esteem researcher from the University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.— has discovered.[6] Confidence serves as a buffer, he believes.

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Simply put, his research confirms, self-assured individuals view failures as temporary setbacks and as opportunities. What’s more—they also don’t judge themselves as disappointments—i.e. their levels of self-worth remain unchanged after a letdown.

Confident People Look for Relationships

Low esteem is often paired with social aversion, shyness, desire to “be left alone,” and unwillingness to meet new people.

Confident people, in contrast, are more likely to socialize and to look to expand their network of friends and acquaintances. As they believe in themselves and the value they have to offer to the world, they also recognize the importance of networking and creating bonds as a way to become appreciated, supported, and recognized.

And even of greater significance is that, according to research, our close relationships are the main predictor of happiness in life.[7] Therefore, once again, studies tend to agree that self-assured individuals are happier, as they seek to create lasting and caring relationships.

Confident People Don’t Look for External Validations

Confident people generally don’t look for external self-validation compared to low esteem ones. They don’t have to because they know exactly how much they are worth.

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As we all recognize, comparisons to others are frequently a major cause of unhappiness, anxiety, and life dissatisfaction. An “I-want-more-than-others” outlook is a very dangerous mental framework, which throws us in a perpetual measure-up against others. Nothing is good enough, and we often feel as not good enough.

However, the Social Comparison Theory tells us that confident people may engage in comparisons to others who are better, too.[8] But it’s driven by a motivation to improve, rather than a desire to prove to ourselves and others that we are worth it.

Conclusion

In the end, it’s worth noting that it will be probably erroneous to assume that confident people are always happy. They don’t wear rose-colored glasses all the time. We all experience setbacks, failures, unfavorable events, which make us feel anxious, worried, distressed, and unhappy. It’s part of life.

As we already mentioned, confident individuals tend to be more emotionally stable, have a more constructive outlook, and feel greater self-acceptance and respect.

Because of the above, they are also able to focus on the positives in life, to enjoy greater relationships, to compare themselves less to the Joneses, and rather—to seek enrichment through experiences, and self-improvement. They are simply better equipped to deal with life, manage stress, and reach their goals.

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And all these benefits that confidence brings translate into improved long-term well-being and life satisfaction—that is, a state we often call “living the good life”—which, in turn, is what gives us a sense of joy, peace with ourselves, excitement, and gratitude. In other words: Happiness.

Tips on How to Boost Your Confidence

Reference

More by this author

Evelyn Marinoff

A wellness advocate who writes about the psychology behind confidence, happiness and well-being.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

  • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
  • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
  • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

A short and sweet lesson for you:

You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

  • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
  • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
  • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

Keep your mission in mind.

Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

Final thoughts

Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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