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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Look at you. You’ve made it this far, haven’t you? No need to be insecure. Just the simple fact that you’re reading this means you’ve at least accomplished something in your life. Sure, it’s easy to get down on yourself sometimes. But there are so many reasons you have to be confident, and so many ways you can help yourself know it.

1. Only compare yourself to your past self

If you keep comparing yourself to others, of course you’re going to feel insecure. There’s always going to be someone out there better than you (unless you’re a world record holder or something, in which case I doubt you’re reading this).

The only person you should compare yourself to is…yourself. Look at who you were yesterday, a month ago, five years ago. Then look at who you are now. Then, think about where you’ll be tomorrow, a month from now, or five years from now. Keep building on who you were, and who you are, to become the person you want to be.

2. List your life’s accomplishments

Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished in the face of adversity. And again, don’t compare this list to someone else’s. I walk with a mild limp, which sometimes gets me down. But when I think of the fact that doctors told my parents I would never walk, every step I take feels like an accomplishment. I’ve also earned two degrees and gotten married to the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

Okay, enough about me. What have you done in your life that you have to be proud about? If I can be proud of being able to walk to the fridge for another Mountain Dew, you have to have something of your own to proudly brag about.

3. Be honest about what brings you down about yourself

Everyone has qualities they want to improve. There’s nothing wrong with admitting shortcomings. There is something wrong with acknowledging your shortcomings without doing something about them.

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If you know you’d feel better about yourself if you could lose some weight, don’t just wish it would happen; put a plan in motion to reach your goal. Don’t just wish you finished college when you were younger – look for a way to fit in night classes at a local community college.

It’s never too late to improve yourself, until it is, and you’ll never get the chance to do better.

4. Admit past mistakes, and work toward fixing them

While we’re being honest with ourselves, let’s look at some of the mistakes we’ve made in our lives. Everybody messes up once in a while, and that’s okay. But just like it’s not okay to become complacent about our shortcomings, it’s also not okay to keep making the same mistake over and over again.

Making a mistake can be a turning point in your life – the moment when you realize you could be doing better. Don’t get stuck in the mindset that one mistake leads to failure. Realize that failure, when taken advantage of, is simply a pathway to success.

5. Smile more

It sounds simple, and maybe a bit silly. But smiling is not just a reflex to a positive stimulus; it can actually be a positive stimulus. Try it. You can actually trick your brain into believing you’re excited or happy about pretty much anything.

When you wake up and face the day with a smile, you’re more likely to feel positive about everything around you, including yourself.

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6. Dress to impress

Just like smiling can make you feel better almost instantly, dressing “to the nines” can have the same effect, especially on your self-confidence. I am definitely not the most confident person in the world, but when I don a three-piece suit, I feel like I can take on anything.

Even on a daily basis, wearing slacks and a sweater rather than jeans and a sweatshirt can change your entire perspective of the world, and of yourself.

7. Face the world – literally

Put your phone away for once. Look straight forward when you walk down the street, or even when you’re sitting outside waiting for a friend. Greet strangers with a friendly, sincere smile. Make eye contact when conversing with people.

Stop staring at your shoes as you shuffle through the world. You’ll find the rest of the world to be much more pleasant than the ground. And you’ll feel more confident as you have a perfect view of your surroundings.

8. Live by the Serenity Prayer

Not George Costanza’s prayer. That just leads to insanity later. You know the one:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

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Some things in life can’t be fixed, and we must let them go. Some things can be fixed, and we must be the people to fix them. Some things, we’re just so passionate about that we would do anything to change them, but no matter what we do, our efforts will be in vain.

Having command over these issues in your life means you are in complete control, and can be confident to make improvements in your life and your world.

9. Live with integrity

Reinforce your words and ideals with actions. Don’t be that person that complains about the government but doesn’t vote, or the person that thinks sharing a Facebook post will help save the endangered rhinos.

If you believe in something, act on it. It’s much easier said than done, I know. But once you get moving, it’s hard to stop until you reach your goal. Strive for excellence and you’ll feel excellent.

10. Be kind to others and yourself

Being nice to others for the most part guarantees that you’ll get it in return. Although you shouldn’t simply be friendly just to get it back, a byproduct of this is that you’ll feel great when others are nice to you.

Not only will you feel great about having others be nice to you, you’ll also put yourself in a position to meet new people every time you step outside. This could lead to bigger opportunities, close friendships, and relationships that could last a lifetime.

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11. Think positively about others and yourself

Along with being kind to others, find positive aspects of everyone you meet. Thinking positively about others has many benefits. For one, focusing on the good allows you to see the struggles they overcame and makes you appreciate them more.

Secondly, the way you think of others is subconsciously how you think others think of you; if you only see people in a positive light, you will begin to magnify the positives in your own life.

Lastly, thinking positively about others reflects well on you, and will lead to better connections and opportunities.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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