5 Ways to Build Confidence and Win at Life

5 Ways to Build Confidence and Win at Life

This article will deconstruct self-confidence and discuss actionable steps you can take to build confidence in yourself.

Confidence often seems like an elusive trait that many successful people share. It may seem like people are either born with it or aren’t. We are drawn to boldly confident people who radiate authentic positivity.

There is just something about how confident people carry themselves. It’s as if they know a secret that lets them play the game of life with a different set of rules. What is it that these magnetic people know and do differently? What fuels their passionate drive?

By the end of the article, you will have a clear idea of where real confidence comes from, and how to harness authentic self-confidence for yourself. You will also be able to help bring out it in others.

What is self-confidence?

Let’s begin by looking at the nuances of similar ideas

  • Self-esteem: How much you like and accept yourself
  • Self-image: How you view yourself
  • Self-worth: How much value you see in yourself

Self-confidence in comparison is How much you believe in yourself

build confidence jumpSelf-confidence is how much you trust your own ability, qualities, and judgment. It is knowing that your actions will produce results; that you have the ability to control your actions to influence those results. You know that regardless of what happens, you can adapt to the new situations that you create for yourself.

Self-confidence is not your ego, pride, or arrogance. Real self-confidence is more than just appearance, it is a deep part of your character.

It is the core attribute that allows successful people to act boldly as they take risks, overcome challenges, and grow.

Know Your True Value

Your core confidence comes from recognizing your inherent value.

build confidence valueCongratulations, you won the cosmic lottery and have the wonderful opportunity to be alive now! You are an irreplaceable and uniquely gifted person. There will never be another person that exists just the way you do. You may share a name with others, but they will never have the same exact personality, preferences, and thoughts. You are an original.

Take this time to think about your strengths and talents:

  • What do you like the most about yourself?
  • What do others like the most about you?
  • What abilities have you developed and value?
  • What values do you see in yourself that you value in others?

Successful people know the value they have to offer the world: their authentic selves.

The Depth of Your foundation
build confidence rootsThe deeper your roots grow, the stronger you can stand as you face resistance and challenges.

This aspect of understanding your value is focusing on what motivates you. Many people refer to this as “finding your WHY.” This is your purpose and why you do what you do. Take a look at your deepest motivations.

The more honest you are with yourself, the more you will be able to grow. It takes courage to openly pause and recognize our current selves. Are we motivated by sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll? Are we motivated by money? Are we motivated by the approval of others? We can also be negatively motivated to avoid punishment, criticism, and consequences. Our motivation to avoid pain outweighs our motivation to seek pleasure.

Take this time to critically think about the depth of your foundation:

  • What are you willing to fight and die for?
  • What is your life’s mission and purpose?
  • What are your deepest values and convictions?

Aligning Your Values Towards Growth
We have looked into our inherent values and motivations. Here is where the growth really happens! Let’s see how much our motivations help or hurt us.

How much of our motivations are directed towards benefiting ourselves versus others? Do they benefit both? Are some of our motivations bad for us?

How many of our motivations just stay desires without action? These are the motivations that turn into excuses. They are often conditional motivations that state, “If I were _____, I could be _____” or “If I had _____, I would be  _____.”

Some examples:

  • If I were younger, I would have more freedom.
  • If I had less weight, I would be happier.
  • If I was less shy, I could make more friends.
  • If I was stronger, I would be more attractive.
  • If I had more money, I would be able to help others.

We want to eliminate the excuses! They let us off the hook for getting results. They also keep us in place. Keep your focus away from the problems and limitations, and look for solutions that lead towards your growth.

Action Steps:

1) [Core Confidence] Recognize your inherent value: uniqueness, strengths, and abilities
2) [Deep Foundation] Focus on what motivates and drives you
3) [Align Values] Align your values towards positivity, growth, and solutions

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

build confidence without comparingWhy do we compare ourselves at all?

When we don’t have an objective model or standard to judge ourselves, we measure ourselves against the people right next to us. We normally use subjective standards outside ourselves to measure our worth. How do we determine who is “better?”

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

Malcolm Forbes

The ways we tend to compare ourselves to others are usually unfair. We may measure our best strengths against their weaknesses, and even our weaknesses against their strengths. We also tend to focus on one aspect, like physical strength, health, intelligence, or the numbers in our bank accounts. We sometimes also compare the results from months of learning against someone else’s decades of development and mastery.

The worst thing that comes from comparing ourselves to others is envy. There are no limits to what we can envy, and how it can affect our thoughts and actions. Successful people don’t covet what others become. They use the successes of others for motivation and as models to aspire to. Envy left unchecked can destroy lives, especially when it leads to immoral behavior like cheating, stealing, lying, adultery, and even murder.

The last section should help you better understand your inherent value. The reality is that each person’s value is unique. Both yours and the people you might compare yourself to. People can be world-class champions in one aspect of their lives, and completely drop the ball in other parts.

Part of being human is embracing both our excellence and flaws. There is incredibly liberating freedom in understanding that NO ONE has everything together. Everyone has some aspect of themselves they don’t particularly like. We all try to do our best, celebrate our victories, and not let our defeats keep us down. At the end of the day, we are no better or worse than anyone else.

If someone has done something you admire, chances are that it is possible for you too.

The Competition of Self-Mastery
build confidence with masteryWhen we shift our focus away from what others do or have, towards our own strengths and deficits, we start to make progress.

This is where we focus on what we can control: ourselves.

The only person we have any right to compare ourselves to is ourselves. However, comparing alone isn’t enough. Comparing tends to look at where we are, whereas competing looks at where we are going. Comparing doesn’t drive any desire or motivation to change. If we raise our bar to compete with ourselves instead, we open the door towards improvement. We have our former selves to compete against, to put our best foot forward and conquer our own limits.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore Roosevelt

Action Steps:
1) Avoid comparing yourself to others
2) Shift your focus to competing against your former self and improving

Reframe Negative & Limiting Thoughts

build confidence reframingThere is a reason that successful people don’t talk down towards themselves. They would have never gotten to where they are with a negative attitude.

We all enjoy victories and we all suffer defeats. Our attitude towards our own lives determines how we will think, feel, and act.

Having a positive and healthy attitude allows us to reframe our past experiences to put us in a better place to grow.

Recognize Automatic Negative Thoughts and Self-limiting Beliefs
The first step is to recognize our negative thoughts and beliefs.

Try to pay close attention to your emotions. You want to understand what sets off your negative emotions. We typically let our imaginations run wild when we feel offended, treated unjustly, and lose the things we value.

People tend to notice what they look for. Our attitudes can determine if we notice the opportunities in front of us, or ignore them completely. Finding opportunity is a matter of where we direct our focus.

If we look for all the ways that people hurt us, neglect us, and wrong us… guess what you will find? If we look for ways we can help others, improve ourselves, and find opportunities… you get the idea.

Thankfully, we can train our minds to focus on what we want.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Thomas Jefferson

Prime Your Attitude with Positivity & Gratitude
thankfulHaving a positive attitude isn’t denying the facts of a situation. It shows that you acknowledge reality, but you don’t have to blow it out of proportion and let any tiny event take over your life.

It’s the difference between taking a solution perspective over problem focused viewpoint.

We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control the way we see them. We can choose to see things in the best possible light.

Focus on what you are grateful for, and you will see negativity fade away.

Positive thinking won’t let you do anything, but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.

Zig Ziglar

Reframe the Meaning Behind Your Thoughts
The words we choose have tremendous power. They represent the way we see the world. They can also change the way we see the world. Choosing positive or negative words can be the difference between being motivated to take action or being fine with staying the same.

People with low self-confidence tend to be unfairly critical or harsh with themselves. We need to catch those negative thoughts and re-word the meaning we give those thoughts so that they empower us.

You can try digging for the root cause using the 5 Whys. Start with the negative thought and ask yourself why you think so five times. You may be surprised at how irrational some our root answers can be when we dig deeper!

Reframe the Meaning Behind Your Memories
Another way we hold ourselves back is by playing negative memories over repeatedly in our minds. It can be our previous and potential failures. It can also be our most painful or traumatic moments.

The majority of us understand how damaging Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be to our attitudes and behavior. Yet, the exact same events can lead to Post Traumatic Growth (PTG.) The difference is the attitude we hold toward the events, as well as the meaning we give them. When it comes to critical events, we are forced to find a way to cope or adapt to life afterward. The way we view life changes dramatically. The difference is a mindset that provokes distress or one that helps you thrive in spite of those situations.

The first thing to do is to stop replaying these negative memories. Each time we recall the memory, we recall the emotions we associate with them. None of us would go to the theater and pay to watch movies that we hate over and over again.

We have to try to reframe the meanings we give those memories. We can choose to change the channel and play joyful memories instead.

Action Steps:

1) Recognize Automatic Negative Thoughts and Self-limiting Beliefs
2) Prime Your Attitude with Positivity & Gratitude
3) Reframe the Meanings Behind Your Thoughts
4) Reframe the Meanings Behind Your Memories

Take Confident Action

build confidence actionDon’t wait to feel confident, take confident action and your confidence will grow

Acts of confidence break us out of our comfort zone and build confidence. Like strengthening our muscles, we need to push our comfort zones to the limits in order to expand them. The greater the action, the more confidence we get. The more often we perform these actions, the more momentum we get as we build confidence.

If we try to go out of our way to expand our comfort zone, soon we will find that we become comfortable with discomfort. We become masters of our emotions rather than their hostage. While we can still experience negative emotions, we don’t let them control us.

It’s not what you think you are in life that holds you back; its what you think you are not.

Denis Waitley

These confident actions can be a small as…

  • Smiling at strangers
  • Surprising a friend with a gift
  • Buying coffee or lunch for someone else in line
  • Offering to help a neighbor with chores or errands

Examples of larger confident actions:

  • Volunteer at a community event
  • Meeting and chatting with a new stranger every day
  • Being radically honest and vulnerable about yourself with friends

At the end of the day, confidence helps us say YES to the opportunities that life gives us.

Action Steps:
1) Take Confident Actions
2) Repeat

Break the Chains to Your Past

build confidence chainIdentifying Chains

Our identity is formed by our experiences, both good and bad.

Negative experiences with other people can lead to long lasting pain and fears. Our view of life can be easily tainted by our setbacks, hurts, and disappointments.

The chains of our past are created when we go through emotionally upsetting experiences.

If they are strong enough, they keep us in place and prevent us from growing.

They can change how we see ourselves, others, the world around us, and even life itself. They can taint our attitudes and behaviors. Suppressing the pain can lead to further pain down the road. They are a major influence that can hold people back from becoming who they want to become.

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

Charles Swindoll

You don’t have to go far to find these chains in others. The hardest part is finding them in ourselves.

Sometimes we are aware of which experiences created our heaviest chains. Other times, the chains lie below our subconscious and we are unaware of how they affect us. It is rather common for some of our chains to be created during our childhoods.

In order to break the chains, we need to identify them and understand how they affect us. If we dig for these chains, we can work towards liberating ourselves.

Here are a few exercises to dig for those chains:

  • List your 3 most negative events in life
    • (the most embarrassing, painful, or traumatic events)
  • List out 3 of the top negative things that people have said to you about yourself
    • (words said in thoughtlessness or anger can wound deeply)
  • List out 3 of your biggest failures, mistakes, and regrets
    • (our biggest chains can be what we’ve done to ourselves)

Breaking Chains
build confidence chainBefore we can break our chains, we need to understand how they affect us. We need to understand the cost of keeping then. The pain of keeping them must be stronger than the discomfort from breaking them, or else we will just hold on.

Warning: This exercise of raising your awareness of the pain from your chains won’t be pleasant, but is necessary.

Ask yourself:

  • How has my life suffered from keeping this chain?
  • What opportunities have I lost or missed because of the chain?
  • How has the chain limited my growth?
  • What would it look like if you held onto this chain for the next 5 years?…10 years?

Now we need to commit to breaking the chains. Start with one chain at a time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Resolve to be free of any pain, guilt, fear, sadness, embarrassment, and negativity that comes from this chain.

When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, we’re going to change.

Orrin Woodward

Know that your life is meaningful and worthwhile. You deserve to be free.

Look at the meaning you have attached to your chains and the event(s) that formed them.

It’s time to create a new and empowering meaning for these events. We will improve what we say to ourselves about the event.

A Helpful Format:
When the negative event happened, I thought it meant what you used to tell yourself. Now, I really know that it means the new meaning for the event.

Examples:

  • When I was bullied in school, I thought it meant that everyone hates me. Now, I really know that the bullies projected their own issues and insecurities on to me.
  • When I was shamed about my grades by teachers, I thought it meant that I am stupid and struggle to learn. Now, I really know that the education system focused on limited styles of learning that weren’t engaging for me.
  • When I was verbally abused, I thought it meant that I couldn’t be loved. Now, I really know that my parents had drinking problems and their own pain from child abuse.

Let Go of the Chains!

Nothing in the past can be undone. Now is the time we accept, understand, and move forward to greater things.

There is nothing you can do about your early life now, except to understand it. You can, however, do everything about the rest of your life.

Warren Bennis

Forgiveness is often hard, complicated, and sticky. It is beyond the scope of this article. We will revisit this in a future article.

For now, here are the three main areas where we need find forgiveness:

  • Forgive others for their past mistakes.
  • Seek forgiveness from others.
  • Forgive yourself for past mistakes.

Other people who carry chains often ignore or forget the fact that they carry them. This makes it almost too easy to pass onto the next unexpecting victim.

Now that you’re free from your chains, you can hold yourself to a higher standard of excellence. You have the power and freedom to NOT place chains on others.

Action Steps:
1) Identify Your Chains.
2) Break Your Chains
2) Let Go of the Chains!

Summary

In this article, we discussed the following steps to build confidence. These steps allow us to have authentic confidence grounded in our own value.

  1. Know Your True Value
  2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
  3. Reframe Negative & Limiting Thoughts
  4. Take Confident Action
  5. Break the Chains to Your Past

After following the steps, you will understand your real value to yourself and others. You will focus less on what others have, and more on competing against your former self. The way you talk to yourself will facilitate growth rather than negativity. You’ll also take confident actions to become more confident. You can also build confidence in yourself by breaking the chains that hold you to the past.

Thanks for taking the time to focus on your growth. If you like this article, please consider sharing it!