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How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky

How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky
Picture of a man that is over-confident
    What? Me, cocky?

    You are a people pleaser. You are someone that doesn’t know how to speak your mind. You are someone that is afraid that your opinion isn’t important. You let people treat you however they want and don’t give them consequences for their actions.

    This is the exact same way that I felt six years ago. I couldn’t overcome the debilitating fear that I wasn’t worth anything. I had no confidence. Over the years I did develop confidence and a realistic view of what I am capable of, but I didn’t want to go the opposite way – becoming cocky and full of myself instead of being “sure” of myself.

    Here is how you can become confident without becoming cocky.

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    Know your strengths

    This is the exact thing I didn’t know that led me to believe that I wasn’t worth anything. It’s important to be able to identify what you are good at in your life, if only to choose that something as the thing that you devote your time to. When you find your strengths you can accomplish things in your life with much more confidence.

    There are a few good ways to find your strengths. A simple way would be to find the things that you like to do and the things that make you feel “strong”; that is, find the tasks and actions you do on a regular basis that make you feel good about yourself. These tend to be your strengths.

    More importantly, know your limitations

    While knowing your strengths is important, to make sure that you are only confident and not cocky, you have to know what your limitations are.

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    If you scoff at the notion that you have any limitations, you need more than ever to realize that you do. Everyone sucks as something. In fact, everyone sucks at most things. The thing is that we need to know which ones they are to avoid the “Superman Syndrome” or the idea that everything you do or can do you are instantly good at.

    Get a crew

    Nothing is better than having people around that can keep you accountable and can speak up when you are becoming too full of yourself. Having people that are honest and not afraid to show you the reality of any situation are some of the best people to have as friends and confidants.

    Having others around that only support you and lift you up and don’t show you where you are misstepping is certainly a good way to become cocky. I’m not saying to have people around you that make you feel like crap; you need people around you that aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about yourself and your situations.

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    Log your successes and failures

    A good way to gain instant confidence is to take a look at all of the important things you have accomplished over the weeks, months, and years in some kind of log format. Doing so will further solidify the idea that you are by no means worthless and that you can truly give something to society. On the opposite end, reviewing your past failures will keep your cockiness at bay and show you that you actually can screw up, no matter how awesome your past accomplishments are.

    A good way to log these would be in a simple spreadsheet or even two text files (successes and failures).

    Be mindful and stay grounded

    Being mindful is one of the best ways to stay grounded in reality. The practice of mindfulness will help you see yourself (as well as others around) for who and what they truly are; no more and no less.

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    You don’t have to be a meditation guru to do this, simply stop every so often and take stock of your current situation by becoming aware of your surroundings, your feelings, and your actions. In fact you could set up small reminders to do this throughtout the day to keep yourself on track. Although that isn’t very “buddha-like”, it will definitely help you to remember to be mindful throughout your day.

    Review and repeat

    To make sure that you are confident without being cocky in the long run you have to consistently “check yourself”. Take out your success/failure log and look it over, ask your “crew” if you are being overly-confident (or even if you are not being confident enough), and stop every so often to become mindful of reality.

    By following the principals above you can ensure that you are confident without being cocky.

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Published on July 9, 2019

    The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity

    The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity

    Despite what you might have been taught — everyone can be creative.

    It’s too easy to think of creativity as just being reserved for musicians, artists and writers. In reality, creativity can be used in all jobs and in all areas of life.

    I’m referring to creative traits such as thinking outside the box, finding new solutions to old problems, and combining two ideas to invent a new one.

    For example, think of Henry Ford. He gave people automobiles, when at that time, they probably just wanted faster horses!

    And, then there is Elon Musk. He found a workable solution to the problem of congested roads in towns and cities — the Hyperloop! This is an underground tunnel system that is designed to connect major conurbations using clean, ultra-fast capsules that can carry passengers, cars and freight. In the case of cars — Musk envisages elevators taking the cars down to the tunnel system. Ingenious.

    As a final example, I want to tell you about Saltwater Brewery in Florida. They’ve created six-pack rings that are edible by marine life. So instead of the six-pack rings ending up in the ocean and killing sea creatures, these rings actually feed them. They’re made from the by-products of beer brewing, and contain either barley or wheat, and are not just safe for fish to eat — but humans can eat them too!

    Let’s turn now to see how improving your creativity can improve your life.

    Creativity Will Improve Your Outlook

    As a Psychology Today article reveals, people who practice everyday creativity (like finding new ways to work, preparing meals and solving crosswords) share personality traits with those we regard as ‘genuinely’ creative, such as: artists, designers and musicians.[1]

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    The shared traits include:

    • Curiosity

    • Drive

    • Open-mindedness

    • Persistence

    • Positivity

    Some studies also suggest that people who regularly indulge in creative pursuits are less judgmental and more flexible.

    It’s no wonder then, that there is a proven link between creativity and enhanced mental health (this could be due to creative thinkers’ superior problem-solving skills).[2]

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    I hope I’ve said enough to convince you that exploring your creative side can improve your outlook on life.

    So what’s the best way to get creative? 

    Boost your confidence.

    When you have ample self-confidence, you won’t be afraid to try new things and to break out of your comfort zone. Both of these things will put you in touch with your inner creative genie — who’s just waiting to work their magic on your behalf!

    But, how can you boost your confidence? 

    …by constantly facing and overcoming challenges.

    Creativity Will Increase Opportunities

    Creative individuals often notice more opportunities in life.

    How come?

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    Because they’ve learned how to find a way to turn any obstacle into an opportunity by tackling it from another angle. They’re also more likely to SEE the opportunity in the first place, just by having an open mind; whereas someone who is not tapping into their creativity may miss these hidden opportunities. 

    For example, one of my friends recently lost his job as a senior administrator for an insurance company. He’d worked there for more than 10 years, and although he wasn’t excited by the job, it paid his bills.

    When he was told that his job was to go, he was initially shocked and knocked off track. However, my friend is a resilient and creative soul, and within a few days, he’d formulated a plan to not only secure a new job, but also to make a positive change in his career. He did this by taking his administrator skills and his deep knowledge of finance and insurance and turning himself into a business consultant.

    It’s still early days for him, but he’s already secured several clients, and I predict his new career will be a happy and successful one.

    If you feel stuck in a rut, then try some (or all) of these things to break yourself free:

    • Get moving – yes, staying still is staying stuck; moving is getting unstuck!

    • Look for the positives – when you do this, you’ll open the door to opportunities.

    • Start small – you don’t necessarily need to make a big jump; instead, you can make small changes that create an unstoppable forward trend.

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    Creativity Gives You Freedom to Mess Up

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

    I love that quote, as it cleverly demonstrates that creativity is all about experimentation. And, experimentation often means making mistakes!

    If you’ve ever watched a graphic designer at work, you’ll notice one thing: they’re constantly changing things until they get the look and feel that they desire.

    That’s how most creative people work. They keep trying new and different things until they have that aha moment.

    So how about you? 

    Are you currently afraid to try new things? Perhaps because you’re worried about losing face? 

    If you are, then you’re holding back your creative potential. To unleash it, I recommend throwing caution to the wind and pushing yourself through your self-created mental barriers.

    Once you’ve learned to have thoughts and ideas that are free from your current conditioning, then you’ll have learned the secret to living a creative life.

    We all have creativity within us. And, by adopting the suggestions above, you can tap into this hidden force for good. When you do that, your life will take on a new trajectory — one that leads to happiness, fulfillment and success.

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Psychology Today: Everyday Creativity
    [2] CNN: A Creative Life is a Healthy Life

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