How to Gain Confidence

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It’s mind blowing how many times I will coach a client and we’ll reach the conclusion that whatever they’re not getting in their life is the result of a confidence issue. When you know how to gain confidence, you can open up a lot of possibilities in your life.

On the other hand, who truly knows how to gain confidence effectively? There are hundreds of articles, books and trainings on gaining confidence, but do you see many people making substantial progress in this area?

The Deceiving World of Gaining Confidence

When it comes to the advice on how to gain confidence, I think the 80/20 rule applies very well: about 80% of the advice you’ll find out there creates 20% of the results and 20% of the advice creates 80% of the results.

To put in another way, there is a lot of self-help junk out there which does little to improve self-confidence, yet it spreads like the plague. For this reason, my aim with this article is to focus on and bring out those methods for gaining confidence that provide the best results.

These are confidence gaining methods that:

  • I’ve applied personally with consistent success;
  • I’ve seen my social confidence coaching clients apply successfully as well;
  • Are in line with what is now known in the filed of psychology about human emotions and human learning.

Developing Yourself

Your mind is always trying to gauge your level of skill in specific areas in order to generate the optimal level of self-assurance. This is why the first thing I think you want to consider in how to gain confidence is constantly developing yourself.

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If you want to be confident as a speaker, develop your speaking skills. If you want to be confident as a bowling player, develop your bowling skills. The people who invest time and energy in a systematic way in their personal development are also the people who gradually gain more confidence.

There is a catch though: even if this is the first important step, it can be insufficient. Often, our self-image doesn’t keep up with our skill level and our personality. This is why, for example, highly competent and successful people can still have an inferiority complex.

So you may find yourself needing to address your self-image issues directly. I see this phenomenon all the time with my coaching clients seeking to gain confidence and improve people skills, and it is a sign it’s time to do some belief-change work.

Test Your Beliefs

Here’s a common occurrence: let’s say you lack the self-assurance to express some of your opinions because you believe others will find them weird and they’ll judge you for them. So you keep those opinions to yourself, which only reinforces the belief that it’s bad to express them.

A lack of self-confidence often becomes self-sustaining because we never test out the beliefs which support it. If you were to give yourself a push and actually express those opinions, you may find out most people actually find them intriguing, not weird.

This is what I call testing your beliefs in reality. Just because you believe with certainty that something will happen doesn’t mean there is solid, real-life evidence that you are right. Most of us believe strongly in many silly things.

The effective way you can find out if your beliefs are grounded in reality or not is to test them out. Get out there, face your fears and you may be surprised what really happens.

If you want to overcome your limiting beliefs, you simply must watch my video presentation on conversation confidence. It will show you exactly how to crush your insecurities, using a scientifically proven method. Go here to check it out.

Move From Irrational To Rational Thinking

These is the cherry on the cake, and the thickest layer at the same time. I’ve been noticing for some years now a huge correlation between self-confidence issues and irrational thinking. And I don’t mean negative thinking, I mean irrational thinking.

The people who struggle with confidence in some areas interpret some things or they see part of themselves in an unrealistic manner. Those who are scared shitless most of the time have such a way of dramatizing and misinterpreting things I don’t even want to talk about it.

From my perspective, a large part of the answer to the perpetual question “How to gain confidence?” is this: change the way you habitually think.

This is not one single action, it’s a gradual process: it means identifying your irrational thinking, combating it, finding and applying more realistic ways of interpreting events. You can find the guide for this in my free conversation confidence presentation.

As you do so, you’re slowly changing your cognitive schemas and you will naturally improve your confidence from that.

As a coach, I take pride in providing real results for my clients, gaining confidence included. I do so by encouraging them to aim high in their growth but be highly skeptical when choosing the methods they use. That’s how to gain confidence effectively.

Image courtesy of bejealousofme

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Comments

  1. Confidence is an attitude. The most confident ppl in the world don’t give a crap what others think about them. They are honest, and say whatever is in their mind. They’re authentic.

    • Hi Henway,

      I think it’s impossible to not care at all what people think about you – I really don’t buy that. However, you can become pretty comfortable with any opinion others may have about you, even if at some level it slightly disturbs you.

      • Cassandra says:

        I have to agree Eduard. Even if it bothers you, it’s easier to accept what others say about you when you recognize that you do care. You don’t have to let it drive you crazy, but you can’t ignore your feelings.

    • I liked your reply, Henway. Although it sounds mundane, it’s quite “Zen” in fact. If you are authentic and keep your eyes on the goal, not on yourself (as Eduard said in an article), you will forget all faults. But it requires a larger amount of energy than self-observing.

  2. Thanks Eduard for the highly researched article again.

    The lack of confidence is the “abundancy” of fear. Less fear, more confidence

  3. In fact, Confidence is quite simple. For once, respect yourself and stop caring for things. Breaking free of the clutches of life is tough, but it’s possible. Confidence is powerful. It’s about considering yourself and your work and standing for it, irrelevant to what others say.

    • It is simple (for the most part) to understand the concept of confidence. It’s much harder to do the systemic work it takes to gain confidence.

      • Hi Eduard,
        Thanks for your site, I like how you emphasize the work it takes to get confindence; it just doesn’t happen because you want it to. By the way, I gather that English is not your native language; I noticed a reference to Romainia in your bio. I mention this because when you use ‘systemic’ you should actually use the word ‘systematic’. A systematic approach would be where you are using a step-by-step method to attain something. Just f.y.i.

        • Hi KC,

          Yeah, I’m Romanian. Thanks for the pointer. Interestingly enough, we have both words in Romanian as well, and I’ve been using them the wrong way in both languages. Go figure :)

          I’m glad you like the site.

  4. Lack of confidence unfortunately affects even people who are very knowleadgeable of such problems. It’s even sad when you see a very intelligent person get lost for lack of confidence or looking down on themselves, while some brainless dude gets appreciation just because he has an over-the-top image of himself – like that picture of the kitten who looks in the mirror and sees a lion. And sometimes self-development does not help – people who lack confidence and see themselves diminished sometimes in a pathologic way may have all the know-how in the world, they will still tremble inside.
    Sometimes, lack of confidence is a problem that can be solved with a combined approach – lifecoaching and therapy.
    However, I’ve seen great results in self-confidence boosting by encouraging the “patient” to change his/her looks, by advising him/her in terms of personal image – that kitten looking in the mirror is not a random metaphor: sometimes, how we see ourselves starts with a look in the mirror.

    • This is very familiar ground for me because I meet all the time people who are smart, capable and yet they lack confidence. Just goes to show that confidence is much more dependent on ones internal rather than external reality.

  5. Now try to read the above comment without all the ‘sometimes’es. Working and blog-commenting again :D

  6. Hi Eduard,

    I’ve been reading your articles and following the advices to improve my social life. And confidence is a huge problem I’m working on.

    You talked about identifying “irrational thinking.” Would you mind giving one or two specific examples?

    Thank you!

    • Sure: Thinking to yourself that a person finds you weird based on the fact they don’t talk to you very much, that’s an irrational thought. Or thinking that if you make a mistake, you are a loser.

      Anything you’re thinking (automatically or not) which is not based on solid proof, correct reasoning and anchored in reality is what I call irrational thinking.

  7. Hmm… could you name one self-help junk idea? Next time I’ll make sure to try it out and report the results. Sometimes people make assumptions that the stuff they’ve bought or read is not working or it’s pure theory, or B.S. I’ve discovered that 98% of the stuff out there WORKS, if you implement it yourself — including the “junk” you mentioned.

    P.S. I’ve seen a ton of people hiding low self esteem and low confidence in themselves trying to sell me an idea or a product. You can’t. Raise your self esteem and boost your confidence — lead with passion, energy and enthusiasm — results will arrive almost instantly.

    Just by changing your body and thoughts you can add a little boost to your self esteem / confidence and experience slightly different results. Start your day with 7-10 push ups, or something similar, and report the results here…

    • Self help junk – subliminal tapes is one example and I wrote an article about it once (it’s in the archives).

      I agree with you that a lot of people will conclude a method for gaining confidence doesn’t work prematurely. There are also a lot of methods that truly don’t work, or at least they provide nothing more than a short term, unreliable fix.

  8. Rigelle, until Eduard gets a chance to reply to you, let me give you one of the most dramatic examples of irrational thinking correlated with low self-esteem: anorexic people who always think of themselves as fat, although they might be thin as paper. While negative thinking would be dwelling on one’s flaws, ignoring one’s qualities, irrational thinking is when one invents flaws in oneself where there aren’t any and makes a habit of that.
    Of course, there’s irrational thinking that functions the other way around – inventing qualities where there aren’t any… That could function for a while, until someone proves you wrong. And that could shake your falsely-gained self-confidence in the long term.
    That’s why irrational thinking is to be avoided, and to gain a realistic vision of yourself, always dwelling on your pluses.

  9. In completion of your thoughts about irrational thinking:
    “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie
    Thanks

  10. willaim says:

    i read this article (A.) i was lacking with my self image and (B.) i just asked a girl out that i liked for a long time but now for some dumbass reason im worried what people will think about me going out with her. im 14 and in middle school. i have always struggled with depression. i am not unpopular, im not bad looking, and i workout so im not fat either but even though i can look at myself in the mirror and be confident i just can’t do it in school. i have found that exercising has helped a little with my self-image but i still can not find a way to put confidence in my decisions. im not asking for help but for most people it helps to get the shit out and just pretend like after you get it out it gives you a little bit more power to yourself.

    ** im not trying to make myself seem perfect or anything like that but i was just explaining my situation

    • Hey William,

      It seems to me that you give too much meaning to other people’s opinions. That’s very common, but not at all constructive.

      I think the best thing you can do is to learn how to combat irrational thinking and learn how to gain confidence from within. Looking good, being popular all help, but the inner game makes all the difference in the world.

  11. What are your thoughts about gaining confidence as a teacher. I teach a group of young kids in my church and My husband tells me I am too timid in approaching them and I think it’s due to my insecurities. They loved the previous teacher so I feel like I want them to look up to me and have a good time but be in control at the same time. They are kind of testing me out to see what they can get way with :)

  12. The Jackal says:

    Can you write an article on how women tell if a man is confident or not, since that is a powerful reason for attraction. Body language, behavior, tonality, dress, conversation, haptic communication, etc. Maybe too much to be covered in an article.

  13. heyy (:

    i dont really know how to be conifdent, when new people talk to me or when anyone talks to me really i get these rosy cheecks that appear and i cant control it, this stops me from trying to talk to people as am afraid they will appear and people thining i am weird or something.
    i dont really know why, but something is like stopping me from being confident in myslef. i just wish i was, all my friends are out going and evrything and am just like shy and in the corner for most things. i just wondered if u had a soloution that could help me ?

    • Amelia, read the article again and put the ideas in it into practice. Lack of confidence is created and sustained through your thinking. That’s what you’ll want to change, systemically.

  14. i just did my ACT and i completely bombed the whole thing and my confidence level seems to be heading from the ground to the gutter at this point. I have always had self-confidence issues,sports included: i’m in high school and just like William i’m not unpopular, fat or all those things that might cause it; however, i’m very self-critical of myself and the moment i make one mistake in school, life or with friends the whole situation will quickly become a mess, that happens all the time when i’m taking tests. I have been told by teachers that i’m smart and i think differently from others, a good different, and all these commments; although, i never take them seriously or anything. Or when i practice for xc or swimming i do everything nicely without any pressure but the moment i’m on the line, i screwed all up, just like my school work. Especially now since the ACT’s i have no confidence and i feel completely worthless around everyone and i don’t know how to you get rid of the unrealistic thoughts??

  15. Cynthia says:

    Ive been struggling with my shyness ever since i can remember. I have trouble expressing myself clearly and sometimes committing to things to the end. I tend to stop caring halfway through. I just assumed that I will eventually grow out of it like some of my friends did and like my older sister did. I didnt realize how bad my lack of confidence was until my first yr of college.I just find myself dealing with a lot of awkward silences. I had trouble making friends or fitting in to any clubs or organizations. And when I did meet people it was difficult to let them in closer, like if they wanted to hang out I would sometimes tell them I’m busy when I wasn’t. I just find myself not knowing what to say or fear of mispronouncing words. At this point i feel that my constant fear is not being able speak clearly. I haven’t spoken to anyone about this because I feel embarrassed, especially in front of my family because they are all outgoing and could easily make friends unlike me. I’m just ready to overcome my shyness and be confident, which is why i wanted to know if there were any steps i could take to improve or some exercises i could do?

  16. Mr. Eduard,
    I have a beautiful little girl, I’m an office manager, I’m going to school for my bachelor’s degree in Business, but I can’t ever see myself making someone happy, especially my husband. The only time I’ve ever been confident is when I was single and I’m 27. It’s so hard to be confident, I think irrational all the time and that’s when insecurities get in the way. I know this is just another story to you, but to me this is my life I’m trying to improve for myself and my little girl. I’ve seen a couple of counselors but all they do is look at the clock, which waste my money and time… I don’t know how much more my mind can take. It’s like my sister said, Vikki you have a nice husband, car, house, job and etc, but everyone expects you to mess up so they don’t get excited for you. I really need help, my mind is so messed up, even if you could refer me to a coach in Louisiana.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  17. Hey eduard, i would really love for someone to reply to this as i feel its important, im in 11 grade at mcnairy county highschool in tennessee and i am not confident in the least i am fat and tall i weigh 360 and am 6 foot 1 people guess me to weigh 290 because of my height but anyways i know im ugly and it makes me shy towards girls, it makes me a bad flirt… and i have a great personality i think…please help me someone

  18. Eduard,

    I believe that people are always judging and comparing themselves to each other. I believe your level of confidence is kind of a rally system. The constant negative or positive feedback creates the low or high levels of confidence. People are looking for some type of reassurance to themselves. It doesn’t really matter what you think about yourself in the beginning process. A girl can believe that she is a beautiful girl for years, but then one day someone says “you’re ugly”. She’ll then ignore it at first because she already has a HIGH level of confidence knowing she is indeed beautiful. But sadly, another person says “your’re ugly” , then another says “you’re not that beautiful”, etc…to the point that she hears someone say this everyday.
    Now, her levels of confidence dip lower and lower and she actually believes it. In my case, I’m the girl. The last time I heard or I was told that I was a handsome man was when I was like 7 or something. School came around and I was told “ugly”, “gross”, etc.. Even my parents thought it was cool to ask if I wanted plastic surgery to boost up my confidence. Honestly, the suggestion of it, really made me feel uglier. But at the same time everything and anything can have high/low levels. I am more confident than others in talking to strangers, doing certain tasks. But what I don’t understand is when girls specifically say, “You need to have more confidence”..but they rather flirt and date the guy that never approached them in the first place. So what exactly am I missing? How does a girl really know that I feel ugly inside? I walk straight, laugh, and always try to have a good time. I’ve NEVER kissed a girl. NEVER been in a relationship. And I’m over 30 yrs old. I’m starting to believe that having high levels of confidence doesn’t really matter to other people because they just care about the physical part of it. Confidence is a non-physical part. If picking up women is all about being confident, I’m really lost.

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