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8 Ways to Appear Confident Even When You Don’t Feel It

8 Ways to Appear Confident Even When You Don’t Feel It

You know those moments, the ones where you’re doing something important and maybe even head-over-heels exciting…and on the inside you’re kinda, well, terrified? In those moments most of us would absolutely love to appear confident, even when we don’t feel it. Because the moments that terrify us are usually the ones that have to do with things that are very important to us.

Appearing confident has a lot to do with tricks and tools to help you be confident and build confidence. Here are 8 ways to appear confident even when you don’t feel it

1. Stop imagining what other people are thinking

We call the part of us that’s keen to impress people our social self. It’s the part of you that loves to work with other people, have other people think well of you, and can be used very effectively to collaborate on important things.

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But if your social self gets out of balance, it’ll start to do things like convince you that the most important thing is to think about is what other people are thinking. Wrong! The most important thing when you want to appear confident is to NOT think about what other people are thinking. This doesn’t mean we’re not attuned to their responses; it means we’re in a state of deeper presence that helps us communicate in a way that they’ll respond well to.

2. Don’t listen to your inner lizard

We all have an inner lizard – comprised of almond-shaped nuclei called amygdala in the temporal region of the brain. These little guys are pretty much in charge of fear- and negativity-based thinking. When we’re stressed – which we are to a certain extent when not feeling confident – stress hormones activate the amygdala and our fear- and negativity-based thinking. Try this: imagine your biggest worries come out of the mouth of…a lizard. Did you laugh at how silly that seems? Good. Wouldn’t you love to laugh at those thoughts?

3. Affirm that you can trust yourself

How? Author Daniel Pink says studies show that posing the challenge as a question and then answering “yes” leads to a greater sense of our own abilities than simply telling ourselves we can. I asked myself “Can I trust myself?” and I answered “Yes.” Pink also recommends listing three reasons why, f.e. “I’ve done things like this in the past, I’m dependable, and other people have told me they trust me.”

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4. Look for evidence

Dr. Martha Beck, an Oprah-contributing life coach, says our brain seems to be hard-wired to respond to the number three. If we think of three times we’ve done something, we begin to think of ourselves as someone who does that thing.

5. Don’t compile evidence that people can tell you’re not confident

If you’re like me, then you have a hunch that instead of looking for evidence that proves people are responding well to you, you tend to instead to see evidence of people not responding well to you. And you’re not alone. Many of us first begin to look for proof that our fears are true, instead of looking for evidence that proves they’re not. So don’t do this; look for evidence that people are responding well to you.

6. Know that lack of confidence is just part of the process

Tell me if I’m wrong, but I have a hunch you’ve had other times when you felt nervous about doing something or being under-skilled. And I bet you became more confident over time. The lack of confidence is just part of what happens at the beginning.

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7. Remember this: it’s just a feeling-state

Tomorrow, or even later today, you’ll feel differently. This will pass and you’ll be onto something else. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about how the chemical response of most feeling-states actually only lasts about 90 seconds. After that, the chemicals are flushed through. It’s our thoughts that keep us in a state or response any longer than that. The big takeaway? Let the response be there, feel it move through your body, and then stop thinking about it.

8. See it as a sign that you’re doing something great

Nervousness or lack of confidence often means you’re growing and challenging your own fears. And no matter how small the action may seem, challenging our fears is a great thing.

Most of all, confidence is a practice. Lucky for us, the brain isn’t fused into place; it’s malleable and changeable. New neural pathways can be created, and our reactions can become conscious responses, helping us to live the life we want to live.

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Good luck!

Featured photo credit: Cute Baby Penguin/Memory Catcher via media.lifehack.org

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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