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How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky

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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.

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    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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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

    With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

    Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

    In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

    The easy fundamentals

    First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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    A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

    Here are some examples of strong passwords:
    * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
    * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
    * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

    And not so good examples
    * sammy1234
    * password123
    * christopher

    You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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    Managing your passwords

    I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

    So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

    There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

    Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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    LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

    Upkeep

    You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

    There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

    Alternatives

    You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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    1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
    2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
    3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

    These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

    So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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