Confidence is Inconveniently Intangible
When we think of a confident person, it’s difficult to quantify how this actually comes across. Usually, the best we can do is give an example. Telling a story about how this person will talk to anyone or doesn’t seem to be afraid of any social situation. Whilst this makes sense, the more specific quantification of confidence is this: a genuinely confident person never feels uncomfortable.
‘Never’ may be a stretch. ‘Very rarely’ is probably a little more accurate. Either way, it applies to those people you know who seem to have on-lock one of the most sought after qualities – real, genuine unstoppable confidence.
The overall key to confidence in one’s self is ditching the concern for what other people may think about you. The phrase ‘easier said than done’ is undoubtedly most true when describing this concept, however.
This means it’s tough – really tough. The reason it’s so tough to stop worrying about other’s opinions is because no one really knows where to start. As intangible as confidence is, to begin with, this key to reaching it feels even more unachievable.
This is simply because there is no structure, nothing to grasp, no physical first step to take towards this goal of unstoppable confidence. Upon receiving the advice ‘stop worrying about other’s opinions’, I, like most, would most likely brush it off as something that feels so far out of reach that there’s no mileage in even bothering.
I believe this will sound like a familiar scenario to you. Now we’re on the same page, let me share with you some actions. An actual step-by-step process of things you can begin today. Read and understand my 5 actions and watch the person in the mirror build unstoppable confidence.
5 Actionable Steps to Unstoppable Confidence
1. Be Present
Presence is a vastly underestimated tool for conducting yourself with confidence. Someone who engages, listens, speaks with meaning. These traits are ones of presence. A great tip for being more present is planning.
The reason it’s difficult to be present, especially in social situations, is because you’ve most likely got a hundred other things to worry about. Clients, finances, family, relationships, they all swim around in your head at all times. Although it may not seem like they’re there, they are. They’re distracting you from being present. When your days are more planned, more structured, you give yourself the chance to give your full focus to each individual thing rather than splitting your focus between them all.
The actionable advice here is this: get off your phone. In today’s world, we have access to all aspects of our lives through that one slab of plastic that we’re all addicted to. Stop checking work emails when you’re with friends and family. Stop scrolling through social media during work. Your phone is the number 1 thing stopping you from being present and therefore it is the number 1 thing stopping you from being confident.
Now, this isn’t to say it’s easy, or even possible to completely clear your head of all other things and allow yourself to focus fully on one thing at a time. It’s not.
In journalism – that short paragraph would be known as the ‘to be sure’ paragraph. It’s the bum-covering sentence or two that makes the audience aware of the difficulty they may face when acting upon this tip.
The point of including that paragraph is not to say this will not work – it will. The point is to focus on being as present as possible. Aim to minimise the number of things you’re focused on. Strive to lessen the intensity of each of those things too. Finished work for the week? Great! Off you go to the pub with a few mates focused on them and enjoying their company. When you’re at work, you’re focused on work, providing it with 100% of your energy. When you’re out, you’re focused on engaging and listening with 100% of your energy.
This is the key to being present. Be present and you will be confident.
2. Think Powerful
How you think internally has a huge impact on how you conduct yourself externally. Think self-worth, think impact, think unstoppable confidence.
A great way to do this is the ‘delete the program’ method. Put forth by Malcolm Gladwell (fantastic self-development author) deleting the program is relatively straight-forward. A computer scans bits of data millions of times per second, as does your brain. It ignores the bits that aren’t necessary or relevant and grabs onto the ones that are. The brain then brings this seemingly important subconscious thought up to the conscious mind for you to do with what you wish.
Now, there’s a choice. Let it sit, expand and build in your conscious mind or ‘delete the program’ and immediately banish it leaving room for the next one. So when your subconscious mind decides to bring forth anything but positive and powerful thoughts about yourself, go ahead and click the little red ‘X’ in your mind. This will be difficult at first. Unlike a computer, your brain doesn’t always do what you tell it to do straight away. That’s why this tip takes a little time to master.
Your brain can be trained. Over time, the more red X’s you click on non-powerful thoughts, the less come up to your conscious mind in the first place. Your subconscious mind will be taught that these aren’t the thoughts that typically catch on, so it’ll begin to ignore them.
The actionable tip for this step is this: The Wonder Woman pose.
The WonderWoman pose is simple. Before a job interview, an important meeting, a scary social situation, find a minute alone. The bathroom usually works best for this. If a mirror is available, even better. Once alone, put each fist on each hip, root your feet strong to the floor and stand tall and proud. Try here to think powerfully. The confidence this instills in you almost feels like magic. Hold it for as long as you need before bursting back through that bathroom door and smashing whatever event you were nervous about.
3. Talk Positive
Self-talk has been written and spoken about for years. The concept of quite literally talking something into existence is proven to be possible. Not only possible, however, quite easy too.
This runs alongside thinking powerfully, as covered in the previous step. When your brain is scanning bits of thoughts all day long, it continues to bring forth the important ones. Again, ‘deleting the program’, teaches your subconscious mind to begin ignoring those negative thoughts.
If the brain stops bringing them up to consciousness, you won’t even need to spend the energy getting rid of them. Over time, a decrease in negative thoughts will be natural.
Positive self-talk, however, is the second half of this equation. Yes, these negative thoughts are now absent, but something must replace them. Whilst it makes sense that one equals the other, and simply thinking positive will achieve the opposite effect of deleting the program, but this isn’t quite the case.
You must feed your conscious mind something external for it to then be processed by the subconscious mind. What’s external? Speech. If you send positivity from your mouth back into your ears, your brain will process it like it’s any other external stimulus. Therefore, planting positive seeds in your subconscious mind ready for them to be brought back up to your conscious mind.
Continuing to talk positive, and about, yourself will slowly train your subconscious that begin latching on to positive bits of thought. It will start presenting your conscious mind with positive thoughts that you can let expand and build into success and, most importantly, confidence.
The actionable tip for this step is this: Every morning when you’re brushing your teeth or doing your hair, say something positive to yourself, about yourself. “I am awesome.” or “Let’s succeed today.” are both examples of great things to say.
Watch as you slowly begin to love the little endorphin boost this gives you every morning. Feed your subconscious with positivity and watch it shine through in your external unstoppable confidence.
4. Confidence is Not Arrogance
The line is fine… fine enough to be almost a little blurry. Often at times, it’s difficult to discern the two from one another. When someone comes across to you as very confident, this can easily become clear arrogance as they continue talking. The aim for you, of course, is to keep from going over that line.
Your self-talk and powerful thinking can be as trumpet-blowing for yourself as you want. The aim of this is to feed your subconscious with these bits of very positive thought. However, the line is crossed when your brain brings these thoughts forth to your conscious mind later and you act on them 100%. Telling yourself you’re amazing is a powerful tool but constantly telling others this fact is a quick way to lose all your friends.
Keep quiet. This is key. Confident people do not have to be introverts or people who naturally don’t speak much, they just have to engage the filter. We all know someone without the brain-mouth filter. These people can often be perceived as arrogant. Engaging the filter will help you speak with meaning.
Do not aim to limit your words to appear confident, instead, speak as much as you’d like but ensure your speak with purpose. If you’ve not got anything useful to say, you don’t need to speak. It’s these moments where, even in an awkward silence, you seem comfortable.
In your head, you’re not quiet because the silence is awkward, you’re quiet because you don’t currently have anything meaningful to say. With this unstoppable confidence gained from speaking with meaning, people will listen to you more attentively. They know that when you speak, it matters, so they want to listen. Your confidence will boost even further from this. Your ability to engage multiple people will soar and those awkward silences will lessen because you feel like you’ve got more to say.
The actionable tip here is this: Write some goals. Things you want to succeed in. They can be whatever you want. Make sure you physically write them down (pen and paper will be more beneficial than electronic) and keep them quiet. The confidence in knowing you’re own goals and knowing that others do not need to know them is a very powerful type of confidence.
5. Be Brave
The be all and end all of confidence is bravery. Confidence means stepping outside your comfort zone, some will have to step further than others. Talking in situations you feel uncomfortable, selling your personality to clients or employers, the list goes on. With all these things, the previous 4 steps will change the game. They’ll make you feel exponentially confident the more you use them.
However, the bottom line is that you have to take the first step of bravery to begin applying these to your life. The actionable tip is the main point for this step.
Repetition and consistency are key in everything you do in life. If you want to get better, keep doing it. If you want to change something, keep doing it. Consistency is absolutely key for success in anything. Spaced repetition is great too, the perfect tip for learning. We can use spaced repetition for unstoppable confidence too, to achieve this first step of pure bravery.
I’m a rather quirky person in a few aspects of what I do. One of those is clothing. I like exotic, different, unique things and it takes at least a good base of confidence to feel comfortable wearing these things. I have not always had this.
A couple of years ago I decided I wouldn’t wear my newsprint trousers to school. I decided I’d wear one small thing that was quirky or different every day. I wore some bright yellow socks that day. Then I wore some bright pink ones the next day.
Fast forward to my 1st year at college, I wore those newsprint trousers with red, yellow, and blue checkered high-top shoes and a red varsity jacket. I didn’t care. It was the outfit I liked, that’s all that mattered.
I never would have worn that outfit if I hadn’t put on those yellow socks months before.
Confidence IS Acquirable. For Anyone.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not born with confidence. You choose to be confident. The growth mindset belief is that anything can be learned. Yes, some people are born with beautiful singing voices, but that only means that they don’t have to put the work in. Anyone can sing if they so desire. Thus, anyone can be confident if they so desire.
Engaging these 5 tips will see your confidence fly over time. Be patient and do not give up under any circumstances. Start by knowing that this is possible, no matter who you are. As aforementioned, some will take longer than others and some will be quicker than others.
The irony lies in the fact that true confidence is running your own race, at your own pace. Push yourself outside that comfort zone. Find the balance of increments, of how many steps you can take at a time.
Do not be discouraged if you feel you can’t take 100 steps in one go. Let yourself naturally move from post to post and enjoy the gradual build of unstoppable confidence.
Be present, have purpose, be brave. Carpe Diem.