Often, we talk about confidence in terms of social skills and interactions with others, but you can apply the word to many different areas.
We all want to be more confident. You can increase your confidence by exhibiting the behaviors of a confident person.
You build confidence because of your behaviors and actions. You don’t become confident to exhibit those behaviors.
It might not seem like it, but you had a hand in shaping yourself into the person you are today even if you feel like you’re just the way you are.
If you want to improve your confidence, try exhibiting some of these traits. Practice them enough, and you’ll gain the competence it takes to be confident.
They Use These Three Words Regularly
“I don’t know.” A confident person doesn’t have to pretend like they’re knowledgeable about things they don’t know.
Trying to be a know-it-all is a sign of insecurity.
Confident people understand the extent of their own ignorance and use it to drive their curiosity. If you knew everything, there would be nothing left to learn.
When you do have value to add because you have knowledge in an area, you add it. But you also feel one hundred percent comfortable with what you don’t know.
They Don’t Try to Fill This Awkward Gap
Confident people will allow for dead space in conversations. They don’t try to alleviate the anxiety that comes from not knowing exactly what to say at the moment.
They’re comfortable just being there in the moment and don’t need to fill a void.
In general, confident people don’t have that itch to always talk at someone. They do the opposite of what Steven Covey says most people do:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
They pause before speaking because they’re actually listening, taking the time to digest what you’ve said, and are forming a response instead of just ‘waiting to talk.’
They Engage With the Environment Immediately
I’ve used this strategy many times to build rapport and feel more comfortable in new environments.
If I go to a new area when I don’t know a lot of people, I’ll introduce myself to everyone right away.
Confident people don’t default to standing or fading into the background. Nor do they have to be ‘the life of the party.’ Just enter the environment, make yourself known in a warm way, and settle in.
They Can Maintain Eye contact
And not in a way that comes across as creepy — like you’re trying to win a staring contest.
Nope, warm and inviting eye contact that makes people feel at ease. Maintaining eye contact shows certainty.
People respond well to those who seem sure of themselves and steady eye contact is a behavioral signal of the type of certainty people are attracted to.
I know this is a point you already know, but think about how powerful it is and actually try to practice it.
Your eyes are a tell for all of your emotions. So are the eyes of people you interact with.
This is going to be a weird sentence, but spend time studying eyes for a while and you’d be surprised at just how much you’ll know about any social situation,
They Are Certain of Themselves
Certainty doesn’t mean you think you know everything.
It just means you feel confident that you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way because you’ve done the work to become competent.
You can build that sense of competence in a number of ways — through fitness, building knowledge, practicing your social skills, having experiences that make you well rounded like traveling, etc.
The bottom line — the most certain person in the environment is the most confident person. Human beings crave certainty and assurance.
If you’re the person who appears the most at ease and sure of themselves people will gravitate toward you.
They Follow This Rule
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
You’ll notice there are certain people who refuse to gossip a bunch about other people. Often, they’re lifting other people up and have positive things to say.
They’ll go out of their way to highlight someone’s positive qualities. And even if they know someone might be a ‘bad apple’ they don’t go out of their way to add to the negativity.
They Exhibit Confident Body Language
One of the rules in the book 12 Rules for Life is “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”
This piece of advice doesn’t just help you feel more confident and exude it — it’s a metaphor for a confident way to live.
When you have that type of body language, you’re exposing yourself to other people, which includes the possibility of embarrassment and rejection.
The vulnerability of the position is the foundation of the confidence itself. You can’t be confident about going through the world without exposing yourself to potential pain and rejection.
They Speak Up
One, they literally project their voice so they can be heard.
Pro tip: talk louder and talk from the depth of your solar-plexus instead of from your head.
Two, if they have something valuable to add to the conversation, they’ll add it.
I’m in Toastmasters clubs. Many people join not to become public speakers but to feel comfortable doing things like speaking up in meetings.
So many people have valuable ideas to share but they won’t share them due to fear. You’ll only get rid of this fear by speaking up — literally and figuratively.
They Keep Their Mouths Shut, Too
Law number four in the 48 Laws of Power is “Always say less than necessary.” Confident people speak up, have conversations, and engage, but they don’t run their mouths.
‘Loudmouths’ people who brag — are insecure and using fake bravado to mask their insecurities.
You don’t have to show off for people to understand that you’re smart and talented. If you engage, without needing to overcompensate, they’ll see it, too.
They Focus On Giving
Confident people understand that being more giving is the best way to attract people into your life. You can give people good vibes, insights, entertainment, whatever.
The trick is to fully engage with the world while simultaneously being non-needy. When you focus on giving, you stop trying too hard to seek approval.
The next time you’re in a conversation, focus on learning about the other person and giving them good vibes, not about yourself.
When you put your work out in the world, focus on how it’ll make other people feel, not just the rewards you’ll get from it.
Yes, you want good things to happen, but being a giver helps you understand those good things will happen without you needing to force them to happen.
They Practice Being Confident
People who are naturally confident became that way because they had great feedback early in life — good parents, a skill that made people admire them, looks, etc.
Based on that good feedback, they were inspired to practice interacting with others more. That leads to more positive feedback, which leads to more inspiration to practice.
You can develop better social skills, leadership skills, business skills, creative skills, whatever skills you need to have a better self-image.
Practicing your confidence, however, does require you to put yourself out there and expose yourself.
No amount of thinking about improving your confidence can replace the act of working on the behaviors themselves.
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