“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Fear exists at the heart of every unfulfilled dream. If there is something in our life that we want, we are going to have to confront some fears in order to get it. Having confidence in our ability to achieve goals, to move forward in the face of fear, and to accomplish our desires, is critical if we are going to live a life that is personally fulfilling and meaningful. Not everyone is born with natural confidence. Some people struggle, and for many people, difficult circumstances in their own lives can really impact their self confidence.
So what can be done? Anyone can develop more self confidence if they take some simple actions and, more importantly, build these actions into habits.
Here are 10 ways to instantly have confidence.
1. Put a Little Effort Into Our Appearance
Sounds simple, but it really works. When we put effort into our appearance, our dress, and our grooming, we feel better about ourselves. Does this mean that we have to be savvy to all the latest fashions and spend a large chunk of our savings on wardrobe upgrades? Not likely. The most important thing is that we build a habit of doing the best with what we have, and small simple improvements in the ways we present ourselves will have a positive impact on how we feel and our confidence. A secret weapon when it comes to our appearance: shoes. Take good care of our shoes. Upgrade them if necessary. Good looking shoes go a long way for a good feeling person.Advertising
2. Do An Act Of Service For Someone Else
This is critical. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to our emotions. Many times, we feel bad about ourselves simply because we are focused too much on “our self”. Getting outside of the self can be truly refreshing, empowering and goes a long way to building your self confidence. Where to start? Look around, there are people everywhere. Find someone and do something nice for them. Then find someone else and do something nice for them. After a while, you’ll be amazed at how great you feel.
3. Be Prepared
Sometimes a lack of confidence is as simple as a lack of preparation. Nervous about that job interview? How well did we prepare? Nervous about that upcoming exam? How well did we study? Nervous about not making those sales targets? What was our preparation like? How effectively did we work? Action is the best antidote to anxiety and fear. Being perfectly prepared for whatever we are about to do will give us confidence. When we know that we have made the best possible preparations for what we are about to do, we will be more confident.
4. Take A Look At Our Posture
Seems funny, but it actually works. How do you stand? Do you slouch? What is your posture like when you are sitting? When you stand up straight, and sit with correct posture in your chair, you feel better about yourself. You’re able to breath easier and this oxygen supply does wonders for your brain and our body. You need oxygen to feel good and sometimes your lack of oxygen can be traced to poor posture.Advertising
5. Set a “Micro-Goal” And Achieve It
Confidence is based on a belief that we are capable of achieving things, therefore we don’t need to be scared. Sometimes we get into a rut where we don’t feel like we are capable of achieving anything. When this happens it can be hard to start, and big goals seem almost out of the question. So what you need to do in this instance is to set a “micro-goal” and then achieve it. A “micro-goal” is a very small goal that is in your power. For instance, if you have a sales based career, simply make a goal of picking up the phone and calling 5 people. Don’t even focus on making a sale. Just achieve the goal of calling. Why does this work? Because it gives you momentum and it signals the brain that you can achieve things. If you do it over and over and over again – set a small goal and then achieve it – you’ll will be pleasantly surprised at how you feel.
7. Change One Tiny Habit
When we get stuck in a “confidence rut” it can be very hard to change major habits. We just don’t believe that we are capable of change, and we don’t have the momentum to support our desire. So I’m not talking about changing big habits here, like “stop smoking”. I’m talking about tiny habits, like making a bed, or waking up 10 minutes earlier, or choosing a salad instead of fries. Tiny habits work because, like setting micro-goals, they give us momentum. Once you change one thing, you’ll want to change others, and best of all, you develop confidence from your past victories. Since you have changed one thing, you know you are capable of changing others.
Sounds trite, but it really works. When we smile we are happier. When we are happier we have more self-confidence. It’s also contagious. Think about you day-to-day life. When you go for a coffee break and the server gives you a warm smile, does it make you upset? Does it make you angry and really depressed? Not at all. Sometimes that little gesture is exactly what you need to make you feel better about what is otherwise a difficult day. When you smile, and when others smile at you, we all feel better. When you feel better, you have more confidence.Advertising
9. Make A List of 10 Things That We Are Grateful For
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools against depression and lack of confidence. What is one of the quickest ways to feel grateful? Simply make a list. Make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for. When the list is done, read it. By the time you’ve done that, you’re sure to feel better about yourself. You realize that life isn’t that bad and that there are many good things in your life, right now. This attitude of gratitude helps you feel more confident about moving forward and making new things happen.
10. Get Active and Start Exercising
As Tony Robbins has said, “emotion is created by motion”. If we want to feel good, we need to move and breathe. Moving increases our oxygen intake which increases our happiness and general sense of well being. Exercising cuts fat, builds muscle and improves our skin tone and appearance. We will instantly feel better because of the oxygen intake, but if we make this step a lasting habit, we will also soon reap the benefits of looking into the mirror and being pleased with the results that we see – results that we have created through our actions. This will increase our confidence.
The Gentle Art of Saying No
It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.
But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.
What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:
- Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
- Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
- Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
- Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
- Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
- Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
- Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
- Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
- Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
- It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.
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