“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu
On the 10th of November 2019 I performed a speech for ‘Remembrance Sunday’ in the Church of St Margaret’s in the county of Essex.
It was an occasion that brought such joy to me because I got to speak in front of my family and the local people that attended the service. I felt so much more relaxed when I went in front of the lectern, and I knew, what played a huge part is the amount of times that I practiced, which in turn improved my self-confidence.
What if you’re low on confidence? Can you change that? Is self confidence under your control?
In my opinion, it is, self – confidence is in your control and you can do things to increase it. It is not genetic and you don’t have to be reliant on others to increase it for you. If you do believe that you’re not confident, or not good at this… not good at that… e.t.c. Then that can be changed.
You can be someone worthy of respect, and someone who pursues what they want, no matter what the non believers say.
I am going to outline… What you can do. None of them is some magic formula… And this list is not comprehensive, but just a few things that have worked for myself.
You don’t need all of them…. Just pick and choose what appeals to you, maybe give a tester of a couple at first.. If they work, brilliant try more. If they don’t, try others.
1. Groom yourself.
Sounds simple, but just having a shower and shave, or getting your haircut can boost those feelings of self confidence. It works for me, and there have been days where my mood has been turned right around.
2. Dress Smart
It gives the same boost as above, but dressing up smartly can make you feel great about yourself. You’ll feel successful and presentable and able to take on the world. Dressing smart is different for everyone… It does not mean wearing expensive clothes, but could be casual clothes looking smart and presentable.
3. Focus on the image that you want.
What we look like means a lot to us, more often than we realise. We have a mental picture of ourselves and this determines how confident we feel. But, this picture is not set in stone or fixed. You can change it. Use your imagination, and work on your self-image. If it is not a very good one, then change it. Figure out why you see yourself that way.
4. Positive thinking.
One of the things I learned when I was in recovery from my injury in 2001, was to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When I changed my thoughts, suddenly great things were happening. With this tiny little skill, I was able to make a healthy recovery, pursue a world famous transformation and climb to a Base Camp of a mountain. Try it, if you have not given it a go.
5. Block negative thoughts.
This goes hand in hand with above, but it’s important that I separate this tip. Learn to be aware of your self-talk, as these are the thoughts you have about yourself and what you are doing. When I was training, sometimes my mind would go, “This is too much effort, just want to go and do something else.” Well, as soon as I recognised this self-talk, I learned a trick which I imagined these negative thoughts trying to get into my head, but my mind was like a wall and they bounced off and disappeared. Leaving only the positive ones allowed to get through.
6. Get to know yourself.
Going into battle, the wisest leaders know their enemy well. You can’t defeat the enemy without knowing him/her. When a negative image comes into your mind, and you want to replace it with a positive one, then the enemy is yourself. Start listening to your thoughts… Even write a journal about what you are thinking, and why you having these negative thoughts. Then think about the good things about yourself, the things that you do well, and things you like. Stop thinking about what is stopping you, whether these thoughts are real or just ones that you have allowed to be placed there artificially. Dig deep within yourself and you’ll come out (eventually) with more self-confidence.
7. Act positive.
You can think positively, but you have to put it into action. The action is actually the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn how to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you can change yourself one step at a time. You are what you do, and so if you can change what you do, you can change what you are.
Act in a positive way instead of telling yourself that you can’t be positive. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll soon start to notice a difference.
8. Be kind.
Being kind to others and being generous with yourself and your time is a great way to improve your self-image. If you start to feel good about yourself, and think that you are a good person, it is great for self-confidence, believe me.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
9. Get prepared
It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think your good at something.
Preparation can help you beat this feeling.
Think about an exam, if you have not revised then it will be hard to have confidence in your abilities to do well. But if you do revise, you’re prepared, you’ll be much more confident. Now think of life as an exam and prepare yourself.
10. Speak slowly.
A person of authority will speak slowly, it shows confidence. A person who feels he is not worth listening to, will speak fast because he doesn’t want others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Try speaking slowly, it will make you sound more confident. Of course don’t take it to the extreme, but don’t sound so rushed either.
11. Stand tall.
The Army had me in the habit of doing this constantly when on parade. Even now, the memories remind me to stand tall and straight, and it makes me feel better about myself.
12. Increasing competence.
If you want to be a better writer, practice writing. If you want to be a better speaker, practice speaking. Just small bits at a time. For instance with the writing, you could do a diary, a blog or a social media post. The more you write, the better you will be at it. Set yourself a word amount each day, like 500, practice will increase your competence.
13. Set yourself a small goal and achieve it.
People often make the mistake of reaching for the stars, when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, just reach for something that is much more achievable. Set a goal that you can achieve, then achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you will be at it, the better you will feel. Soon you will be setting bigger goals and achieving them.
14. Change a small habit.
It could be giving up smoking, or waking up 10 mins earlier, writing things down or drinking a glass of water as you wake. Something small that you can accomplish, then you will feel great.
15. Focus on solutions and not problems.
In every problem there is an opportunity to learn, so focus on the solution. A great way to increase confidence and career.
“I’m overweight!? How can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” How can you solve that? “I have no energy!” So what is the solution?
It just works. Also creates a chain reaction with other people.
This is like being kind, but more specific. Like helping out a charity to do an event which fundraisers help raise money for. It is great fun and you’ll feel absolutely fantastic.
18. Just be grateful.
I am a big believer in being grateful. For people who read this blog, or follow me on social media, they know this well. Being grateful for what you have in life, and what others have given you is very humbling. It can also be very rewarding and improve your self-image.
Exercise has been one of the most empowering activities throughout my life, and it makes me feel so much better about myself.
Even just doing 10,000 steps a day is of benefit.
20. Empower yourself with knowledge.
By becoming more knowledgeable you become more confident… and you become more knowledgeable by researching and studying. The internet is a fantastic tool, so is the people around you, books, magazines and educational centres.
21. Just keep moving.
Doing something is better than doing nothing. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes, but mistakes are how we learn. Without mistakes we would not get any better. So don’t worry about them. Start taking steps to accomplish something.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain.