Confidence, insecurity, and fears exist in our mind, and that is the first place to start. We are a sum total of our thoughts, and we need to be able to create an enabling environment for our confidence to grow and weed out insecurity and fears.
After that, you need to learn to translate your mind’s new-found sense of direction into your actions; everything from the way you move to the way you sit down and speak needs to bear the hallmarks of your new-found balance. The tips have been evenly spread out to cover every part of your life and mind. Here are the 25 tips to boost your confidence, conquer your insecurity and eliminate your fears.
- Think positive; destroy that little voice in your head
- Embrace who you are
- Face your fears
- Set clear and realistic goals; know what you want
- Accept setbacks and mistakes; divide and conquer problems
- Don’t chase perfection
- Stop comparing yourself negatively with others
- Live in the present
- Develop a plan
- Set boundaries for people to respect
- Support yourself with the right people; avoid negative people
- Realize that everybody is human; make accommodations for people
- Learn to trust people
- Learn your trade; be competent
- Be persistent and committed
- Seek for sources of motivation
- Learn to accept compliments
- Give out gratitude
- Learn to live with negative criticism
- Take small steps before a big one
- Remember your best moments
- Check your body language
- Pay attention to your personal grooming
- Create a motto or mantra
- Seek professional help
1. Think positive; destroy that little voice in your head
This is the very first stop for anybody, hoping to build better confidence. Our mind is like a piece of land under cultivation. We can either choose to allow the crops of positivity to grow and prosper or will enable it to become overcome by poisonous tendrils and weed. People with a positive mindset experience more positive emotions such as optimism, happiness, joy, and satisfaction. There is little to no space for negative emotions such as sadness, dejection, discouragement, or fears.
By only allowing positive thoughts and looking on the bright side of things, your confidence will grow in quantum leaps and bounds. Everybody has a little voice at the back of the head that always reminds him of only negativity. It is that same voice telling you “I can’t succeed,” “Mr. A is much more talented,” “My life is worthless” and “This problem is too tough.” Strangle that voice before it kills off your self-worth and confidence.
2. Embrace who you are
This is the primary source of confidence and insecurity; your perception of you. If you feel comfortable with who you are, and what you represent, you will have no problem with confidence or motivation. However, if on the other hand, you are ashamed of what you are and what you have achieved; then, there is every chance that you will feel insecure. You have already convinced yourself that you are not up to a particular required standard and everything form your actions, dreams, and hopes will follow that same line of thought, to deliver more misery and pain on you. Instead, realize that not all of us will have Einstein's intellect, Ronaldo’s body or the business acumen of Henry Ford. Instead, you have been equipped with a unique set of qualities to enable you to achieve success. Embrace those instead and use them judiciously. As Buddha reiterated; “You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
3. Face your fears
Mark Twain once said; “I've suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened”. Fears are nothing but shadows that lurk outside the reach of our beam of positivity threatening to encircle the beam of our torch of achievement. Whether you allow them is entirely up to you. Instead of allowing unsubstantiated fears to take control of our lives and dictate what we should and should not do, we have the choice of sifting through them to determine the real threats. Sit down, take a sheet of paper, and write down your fears. Immediately, you will find out that you can’t write some down simply because they don’t exist. Among those you can write down, most of them will sound so silly that you will wonder how you ever came to worry about them. That leaves you with the genuine threats that you can then devote your time to solve.
4. Set clear and realistic goals; know what you want
Many people blunder about life without knowing exactly what they want from it. They can’t develop confidence and focus because they don’t even have a clear idea of what they want. Learn to be decisive. If it is absolutely necessary, write down your short, mid, and long-term aims. That alone will give you the extra confidence to look upon each day as a new opportunity to pursue your goals with utmost dedication.
5. Accept mistakes; live in the present
Contrary to what majority of people think, setbacks and failures are not meant to be a call to stop; rather, they are a call for extra focus and renewed efforts to get over the finish line. Randy Pausch captured it perfectly when he noted that; “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people”. Mistakes are part of the game. Acknowledge them, review them, learn from them, and then apply the new things you have learned from them to your next trial. Most of the people living with fears and a total lack of confidence suffer from the fact that they can’t forget their mistakes, and remain haunted by them. Never allow yourself to get punished twice for the same mistake. Rather, live in the present; mistakes are meant to be in the past. Leave them firmly there.
6. Don’t chase perfection
A sure way to drain yourself of confidence and verve is to chase after perfection. There is no such thing as perfection. Even the greatest people to have ever lived committed mistakes and had yearnings they couldn’t satisfy. Even nature isn’t perfect much less you. Instead of perfection, put in your very best efforts and hope for the best. Strive for excellence and originality and be contented with what you have achieved. By looking for and ultimately failing to achieve perfection, you will forever remain haunted by insecurity and a sense of unfulfillment. Even your successes won’t give you commensurate joy or pleasure. Remember, we weren’t meant to be perfect.
7. Stop comparing yourself negatively with others
This is the backbone of insecurity. Man is created in different molds and with different attributes. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Successful people may have been able to maximize one aspect of their strengths or just a single strength. That may be your own weakness, but by comparing your weakness to their own strength, you make for an uneven field that will do no good. Instead, it will reaffirm your suspicions of inferiority. People with low self-esteem often see only the good in others and the bad in themselves. Don’t consciously or subconsciously subjugate yourself for other people who are not even aware you are in a race with them.
8. Divide and conquer problems and setbacks
One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou; “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Problems are a necessary part of the game. They are meant to test your resolve. They are not traps to show you up; they are not intended to exploit your weakness. Never allow the fears of obstacles hold you back. Instead, realize that you will meet them on the way. Expect them but don’t dread them. When they come, accept the challenge they pose. One smart way of solving problems is breaking them into smaller parts. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by the number or size of the issues you are facing. Look at the various factors that have contributed to making the problems. Start from there; tackle them and watch as the biggest of your issues disintegrate. Divide and conquer any obstacle you come across. It is the easiest way of dealing with problems without getting overwhelmed.
9. Develop a plan
To say: “if you fail to plan, you may be planning to fail” is to run the risk of repeating a cliché but it is absolutely important that I reiterate it. If you don’t plan out your approach to anything and life itself, chances are that your failure rate is going to be much higher than the average. Repeated failure is one of the triggers for a loss of confidence and development of insecurity. The previous failure can be a source of shadowy fears. To protect yourself from the potential ghosts of the previous failure put a plan in place before embarking on any endeavor.
10. Set boundaries for people to respect
For people with low esteem, it is a herculean task to let people respect them. Insecurity can even arise from when people constantly and continuously intrude into your space without permission or courtesy. However, nobody can crowd you if you don’t give them the chance. Define the limits beyond which you can’t or won’t allow people to cross. Let people know them beforehand. By having a working principle and policy, people will learn to respect you for who you are. It will inflate your confidence and dispel any insecurity you may feel.
11. Support yourself with the right people; avoid negative people
Every building needs strong pillars and foundations to stand firm. Humans are not much different. The only difference is that our own pillars are not made of cement or concrete, but fellow humans who believe in us. Knowing that you have a healthily supportive group of people behind you at every turn and step of the way is a huge boost to your confidence. Family, friends, and associates with our interests at heart, can be a strong buffer against discouragement. Inversely, being around unsupportive or negative people can drain you of the confidence to start new things or appreciate your worth and value. Distance yourself from those that always seem to have a negative opinion about everything. Instead, cultivate people with your genuine interests at heart.
12. Realize that everybody is human; make accommodations for people
Everybody has a bad day. The same person that put you down today may offer a helping hand to lift you back onto your feet and beyond tomorrow. Do not close up against people for everything they do. Give people the chance to be human. Give them the chance to make restitution. Even if the majority don’t, those that do will make you feel great and boost your self-esteem. By extension, never allow a single person’s opinion affect your decision. A single person’s negative opinion about you doesn’t mean the entire world holds that opinion; it is only his own opinion. Do not allow it to weigh you down.
13. Learn to trust people
If you hope for people to trust you and give you the respect you crave, you need to first learn to respect and give them the same respect. Respect is, after all, a reciprocal. When you trust people and open up to them instead of living with suspicions, they will warm to you and open up to you in return. That will assure mutual confidence and respect and allow your relationships to serve as a source of confidence rather than a source of frustration and insecurity. Do you dodge and track your partner or associates’ comings and goings? You may soon begin to see shadows where there is none. You will disturb the balance of your mind and relationship, and leave yourself open to the very same insecurities you are scared of.
14. Learn your trade; be competent
There is no substitute for competence in building up your personal reserve of confidence. Half of the psychological healing effect of visiting a physician is due to the confidence with which he seems to administer treatment. There is certainly trust and confidence associated with knowing your onions. It means you can speak and act confidently, safe in the knowledge that you know what you are doing. A calm and serenity envelop you when you are in your comfort zone. On the other hand, if you aren’t sure of what you are offering, you instantly go into a less confident mode and send signals that can be easily picked up by anybody around.
15. Be persistent and committed
Persistence, commitment, and perseverance are the currencies of confidence. You need to take time to stick to a single pursuit. Flitting from challenge to challenge, job to job, spouse to spouse will do your confidence no good. Problems and obstacles should not discourage you all the time. Make a commitment to your cause and it will spur you on. If you can afford to, share your goals with people. The added weight of knowing people are expecting something from you will give you the further impetus to believe in yourself. Persistence and grit are needed for you to succeed and success is needed to boost your confidence. The 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge described the power of persistence thus; “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.” Learn to stay faithful to your ideas, goals, principles, and ideas and give them enough time to become the base for your success.
16. Seek for sources of motivation and inspiration
To maintain a healthy level of confidence, constant motivation is required. Find yourself a source of constant motivation. Devise means to keep yourself inspired. You could post inspirational quotes in visible places like beside your bathroom mirror or directly opposite your desk at work, to keep your resolve and confidence fresh. Study the methods and read about people who have succeeded in the pursuit you are engaged in. There are many inspirational stories of people succeeding against huge odds. Find your own Cunningham, Colonel Sanders or Rowling to inspire you and remind you that only your willpower is the only limit to what you can achieve.
17. Learn to accept compliments
People with low self-esteem have problems sincerely acknowledging and receiving praise and compliments. They view them as a probable indirect barb aimed at exposing their frailties and weaknesses. However, receiving praise honestly mentally rewards us. It tells us that there is at least one person pleased with our efforts and we are actually worth something. Learn to accept acclaim as what it is; sincere and effusive appraisal of your efforts. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of being thanked. Your mind will be grateful for it.
18. Give out gratitude
Tied to receiving compliments with grace, it is also important for you to show sincere gratitude. When somebody offends us, we are quick to anger and review his mistakes. So, why should we be any less reluctant to give out praise when it has been earned? When you show gratitude, it gives both you and the receiver an inner sense of elation. It makes you feel important and gives a feel-good factor. Anything that makes you feel worthy and wanted is sure to boost your confidence, and showing gratitude is no exception.
19. Learn to live with negative criticism
No matter how much you try, you can’t please the world. You can’t even please a whole street completely. So, why should you allow negative criticism get under your skin and introduce insecurity into your mind? Instead, try to cope with it as much as you can. Develop a mechanism of filing away negative criticism in the deepest recesses of your mind where you can’t access it or better still, a way to bounce it off you. Not every criticism is worth replying to, or even taking notice of. When you allow negative criticism or the fear of being harshly judged to influence your choices, you will find out that you are choosing to do things you don’t really want to do. That could hamstrung your confidence and plant the seeds of doubt and insecurity deep in your mind.
20. Take small steps before a big one
This particular point does not apply to everyone. It is dependent on your current level of confidence. If you feel you are mentally strong enough already to cope with big disappointments, disregard this tip. However, if your confidence is at its lowest ebb, try to record small successes at first before taking on a new big challenge. The initial successes will help you build up a reserve of mental strength and belief in your own ability to make things happen. This will further erase insecurities.
21. Remember your best moments
Everybody no matter how low he is presently has had previous highs. When you are in need of motivation, extra confidence and upliftment of your soul, cast your mind to your previous successes. It could be your wedding day, an athletic achievement, a big project you completed or the day you became a partner at your firm. Just allow yourself a shot from the past to lift your mind and remind yourself that you have achieved before and can do so again.
22. Check your body language
Our body is a constant source of information about our state of mind. Hunched shoulders, slouching, not meeting peoples’ eyes during the conversation and trying to fold yourself into a small space as possible are all indications of low self-esteem. When you walk with confidence, head, and chin-up with just the right amount of swagger, people instantly learn to defer to you and think of you as being confident. You will also feel more comfortable with yourself and a positive body language can work wonders for your mood and soul. Learn to smile, shake people firmly and use your hands to make polite and explaining gestures during conversations to further build and communicate confidence to people around you.
23. Pay attention to your personal grooming
You are addressed the way you are dressed. Your appearance determines to a large extent the kind of the first impression you make to people. Being dressed shabbily instantly marks you out as inferior, and keeps you on the defensive. Always strive to dress to suit the occasion; never under-dress for any reason. You can get away with over-dressing at times, but dressing too casually to a formal occasion, for instance, can leave you feeling odd and insecure about your appearance. It is not just dressing either. Maintain high levels of hygiene at all times. Your nails, hair and entire body should be well taken care of. Learn social etiquettes to avoid getting shown up at social events. Exercise well, eat right and take proper general care of your body.
24. Create a motto or mantra
At times, we get confused and unable to fathom or separate our emotions. A short motto or mantra fully loaded with positivity can reset us to default conditions, where we can then approach any knotty issues with calmness. Phrases such as “All is well”, “This shall pass”, “I have been through worse”, “Tough times do not last” and “I am on the path to success” when repeatedly said and believed in, can provide us with just that extra bit of belief that we are in control and allow us to make head and tails of our present conditions. In fact, try repeating them at all times. Make them your mantra. In the shower, on the subway, while taking a walk in the park and during your exercises, keep yourself infused with a constant stream of confidence-inspiring phrases and statements.
25. Seek professional help
At times, despite our best efforts, we may need to seek professional help from a shrink to get rid of negative confidence. Low self-esteem and insecurity could be due to deeply-rooted psychological and mental issues that need treatment before we can get rid of them. There is no shame in seeing professional help. The real shame is not being able to admit that you are in need of help.
Confidence is most important for us to achieve success and self-fulfillment in life. Doubts, insecurities, and fears hold us back from achieving our potential. They are hurdles on the way that need to be surmounted for us to become the person we want to and believe we can be. By following the tips above, you can learn to rebuild your confidence, dispel fears and remove all traces of insecurity and doubt from your mind. That will leave you with motivated, inspired and fired up to achieve unimaginable success and rise above your greatest imaginations.