There is no one single person who is truly an expert in confidence, but I have been working on myself for some time now and things have improved a lot. Some things I have noticed is that people treat me differently, maybe because they perceive me as more approachable and more charismatic. Others have have said I’m a completely different person to who I was 5 years ago, so something is going right. I hope you can find some value from this.
In reality, the whole ‘fake it until you make it’ viewpoint has never been one that I agree with. Why? Pretending to be somebody/something that you’re not can really deepen your lack of self esteem! It eludes to the fact that you’re no good as you currently are, which means you have to pretend to be someone else. If you really believe that, then you’ve already failed before even starting. That is the complete opposite of what confidence is about.
Truth be told, confidence is an attribute, or skill, that can be learned by anyone. Like all skills, it has to be practised, and regularly at that. As previously talked about, the best way to get good at something is by creating reference experiences and these should come in small stages of personal growth. The key is in perfecting one piece at a time before moving onto the next. Trying to go from start to finish in one move will inevitably lead to failure, so don’t waste your time or lessen your morale by attempting it in this way.
Here’s another way. Instead of faking it, take one attribute of confidence that you have, then practice it until it becomes habitual.
- Eye contact – Practice it until it becomes second nature
- Body language – Work on your posture, sit upright at your desk (now for example), hold your shoulders back when you walk
- Speech – Focus on how you talk, enunciation, range of vocabulary. There is a marked difference in the voice of someone who believes in themselves
The above are in that order because communication is, predominantly, non-verbal. There are a myriad of attributes that come together to form true self-confidence. This means that simply faking it will also seem fake, as many attributes will be missing.
Think about the following. Have you ever noticed how a confident public speaker breathes? What about how their voice travels? What kind of clothes are they wearing?
When you’re talking to a confident person, very rarely will they look at their phone because they know how to unplug and how to be in the moment. They will focus the conversation on you, not themselves. This takes a lot of self-awareness. Their new car isn’t important here. Your impeccable taste in shoes is what matters. All the while, they hardly say a word and you leave feeling like you’ve had a great conversation. A confident person will never hold you back, so you need to understand how to find those who fit each category.
There is a lesson to be learnt here; in part, their confidence often comes from giving others the feeling of importance, which in turn is fed back to them. This is one of the keys to The Law of Attraction.
Back to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. Take playing an instrument and using this type of mindset for example. Those who can play will know right away that you’re a fake, and those who don’t play likely will too. Confidence works very much the same. Fake confidence can easily be perceived as arrogance, often unintentionally. Being confident is not knowing you can do it, but knowing that you will be fine, even if you don’t manage to achieve it. That doesn’t mean giving up. It’s accepting failure, after failure, after failure as growth and part of the process. This is something that simply cannot be faked.
Becoming truly confident is another growth curve we experience in life. Similar to physical growth, there are many mental growths we must continue to strive for. Growing takes time, and confidence is an art form. You hear Beethoven’s work and why is it so good? It’s because every minute detail is within it and has been paid the utmost attention. There is nothing that is insignificant, every detail has been meticulously constructed to create a masterpiece that leaves people in awe.
In line with that, you need to think of yourself as a work of art. Perfect every detail before moving on to the next piece, and give some room to come back and perfect it some more as we are never complete. Depending on where you’re currently at, becoming confident takes a lifetime. Like many other skills, there is a floor but no ceiling. You will always grow and that’s what you should always strive to do.
Here are some practical things you can do to help:
- Compliment strangers – be sincere in this endeavour. This will help you talk to strangers and it’s hard not to like someone who compliments you. Downside!? You might make some new friends
- Pride in Appearance – take care of yourself. Confident people always take pride in their appearance. Exercise, eat healthily, buy fitted clothes, wear nice aftershave. This shouldn’t need saying, but take a shower every day and brush your teeth. No one is going to care for you if you don’t care for yourself
- Ask Someone Out – make sure they’re out of your perceived league! Not someone you see regularly like a work colleague or someone you sit next to in school. It’s hard, but fun. ***DO NOT take this as dating advice*** The focus isn’t on getting a date, it’s about getting out there, knowing that you’ll likely fail, but trying anyway. You have to learn to deal with failure and rejection. Focus on the act, not the answer. Regardless, you need to go in to it like you’ll get a YES, and believe that you can. Going back to ^^^ When asking, maintain eye contact, stand up straight and hold a strong voice…don’t you dare look away from their eyes when asking.
- She said ‘No’
- She said ‘Maybe’
- She said ‘Yes’
I hope you understand better now why true confidence simply cannot be faked. You have to accept who you are. If you can’t accept who you are and you pretend to be someone you’re not, people are going to see right through it.
I’ll finish with a quote to keep in mind.
“The master has failed more times than the novice has tried”. ― Stephen McCranie