We have all seen them. The snappy dressers who walk into the room,
displaying themselves for all to see. They walk, no, stride forward with a
clear goal in mind. At first you stare, thinking, “who do they think they
are?’. Part of you is annoyed at the arrogance, the confidence while
another part wishes it were you. The question is, how do you gain that
level of confidence without feeling like a jerk?
First, confidence is not arrogance. Confidence is the belief you can
achieve a goal, even through adversity. Someone who is confident believes
they have the tools needed to solve problems. A confident person does not
worry much about what others think. They have spent the time and work
knowing who they are and what they want. Confidence is a learned behavior
that for some takes time and effort. People who are confident learn from
others and take advice. They understand there is more to learn and wish to
be the best, not out of a desire to be superior to another.
Arrogance, by contrast, is the belief you are better than others and do not
need them to succeed. Someone who is arrogant believes they have learned
all they have needed to learn and do not need to spend the time and work to
grow. Arrogance stops learning, especially learning from others. Someone
who is arrogant does not believe they need other people, and will feel
superior to them. As such, arrogance is dangerous, as someone who was once
at the top may not be after some time, but refuse to see it.
It is clear confidence is what you want. Then, how can you learn to be
confident, if you have had few successes?
Confidence is a Belief
In life, our beliefs influence our actions. If we believe we are overall a
good person who tries to do the right thing and believe we have the ability
to succeed, then we most likely will. We are less likely to second guess
ourselves and are willing to take more risks. However, the inverse is true.
If we believe we are terrible people, who are unsuccessful, then we will
not put in the time and effort to succeed.
Therefore, our belief in ourselves is key to becoming confident. If our
beliefs about ourselves are negative, we need to change them. To do this,
we need to stop believing we are failures and are worthy of scorn.
Changing a belief is not easy. It takes time and effort to change how we
view ourselves. One way to begin is to choose an area of your life you want
to change, and then make a goal to think positively about this area. For
example, if I want to feel more confident in my job, then I need to start
thinking and saying, positive things about my job performance. The times I
do well at work I need to acknowledge them and feel good in them. Pride in
your accomplishments is not arrogance. It is a healthy reward for a job
Reframing Negative Thoughts
There will be times we will experience negative thoughts about ourselves.
This is a normal part of life. The question is, will we believe these
negative thoughts as truth? If we believe the negative thoughts, especially
while excluding the positive, confidence will be hard to come by.
When a negative thought comes, you need to change it into something
positive. This is called reframing. For example, turning in a project at
work, where the boss discussed three good points and one bad point. For
someone who is a perfectionist, that one negative point might take the
entire focus. Negative thoughts such as, “See, I messed up. My boss must
think I am such an idiot!” needs to be changed into something positive. One
way to do this is to focus on the good points. Often with negative
thoughts, we filter out positive information and focus on the negative. By
thinking, “I did well on two of the sections. Once I fix the third it will
be done. That’s not so bad!” is much better, and healthier, then beating
Reframing thoughts is not an easy task. There are numerous times of
negative thoughts, from predicting the future, to mind reading, to
magnifying bad events. As negative thoughts come to all, it will be a
lifelong battle. Having negative thoughts is not the problem; it is how we
respond to them.
Confidence as an Attitude
If you want to feel confident, especially in social situations, then act as
you would if on a job interview. The first thing you do is wear something
nice. By dressing up, you will feel surer of yourself, more commanding.
Others will take notice and have more respect. While you will gain more
attention this way, it will be of a positive type.
By dressing up, you will feel more confident and have more faith in your
abilities. While it takes work, and money, to look good, the results are
drastic. If you want to improve your work performance, dress up to work.
You will feel more attentive, purposeful, and others will notice. Over time
your job performance will most likely improve as you will begin to feel
better about yourself, changing your beliefs.
Therefore, confidence as an attitude works. By walking into a building
dressed up, with a purpose, you will feel more powerful than if you did
not. Even if you do not feel confident on the inside, if you can project
it, others will believe. Over time after seeing their responses, your
thoughts of yourself will change.
Next, look everyone in the eye when you speak to them. Do not stare at them
as if you want to see inside their skull, but do look them in the eye. This
shows you are not afraid of them and have respect enough to listen to them.
Over time this may be difficult, however, with practice you will become
easier. You will be taken more seriously if you make eye contact, and can
hold it in a conversation.
Learning from Others
Confident people understand they do not know everything. No one in life has
all the answers. Confident people are not afraid to ask for help, and do so
often. They seek out the advice from colleagues, are not afraid hear
different viewpoints, and make changes based on the information they learn.
A confident person has learned the art of mastering pride. Prideful people,
often arrogant people, feel they do not need anything from anyone and will
attempt to do things themselves. While at times they will be successful,
eventually they hit a limit. As asking for help is painful for someone who
is prideful, they will not ask, but instead choose to go it alone. In the
end, they will not reach a level of success as of someone who was not
Confident people have learned they cannot do things alone. They understand
they are limited and have weaknesses. Confident people do not beat
themselves for their weaknesses but have accepted them as a part of life.
Think of any successful leaders you know. What do they all have in common?
They have a team of people who are good at what they do. A confident person
knows they cannot solve all problems, and trust those around them to help.
Therefore, do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to those around you who
are successful. Ask them how they became successful, and take notes.
Learning by others is a powerful way to grow, and in turn, become more
Putting it all Together
Building confidence is not something that will be quick and easy. It will
take time to change how you view yourself. By working to change your
beliefs, you can begin to see you have worth, and even your mistakes have
value. By working to change your negative thoughts into something more
positive, you will start to see the world in a better light. By dressing
and acting as if you were confident, over time, you will begin to feel
better about yourself.
Give yourself time to change. Be patient with yourself, and do not expect
instant results overnight. People who are confident spent years working and
honing their skills. Take small steps and notice the results. Even if
things do not go well, information can be learned from it. Ask advice from
others and do not be afraid to ask questions. Confident people understand
they do not have all the answers, but will find them, even if it takes
asking for help. You can succeed, only if you have the belief you can, and
the actions to back it up.