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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 April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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