10 Easy Ways to Build Self-Confidence

You probably know someone who just exudes confidence. You might even have wondered, “What’s his secret? How can he be so positive about himself?”

The good news is that you, too, could be that confident. Yes, you could be the one that everyone envies and wonders about!

Surprisingly, self-confidence comes not from some inner gift, but from the things you do. For many, those actions occur naturally or have become ingrained in them. Because such people have done these things a lot in the past, they habitually do them now. By practicing these same actions, you’ll be taking the steps necessary to build your own self-confidence.

Use these strategies to become more self-assured:

  1. Take care with your appearance. How you feel about yourself is reflected in your appearance. Ensure your hair is styled and your clothes are well-fitting when you go out. When you know you look great, you feel great about yourself as well.
  2. Smile and look people in the eye. When you smile and make eye contact, it shows that you have a certain ease about you. People see this and respond positively toward you, giving you a lift as well!
  3. Give genuine compliments to others. Complimenting others shows that you feel good enough about yourself to give positive feedback to others.
  4. Know your strengths. Focus on doing whatever you’re best at. You’ll feel like an expert and know without a doubt that you excel in that area.
  5. Accept your imperfections. Letting go of the need to be perfect means you’re comfortable enough with yourself to admit your imperfections. After all, we all have them. Imperfections only show that you’re human – not that you’re flawed!
  6. Be prepared. Practicing this motto isn’t only for Boy Scouts. Preparedness will show you that you can be successful at whatever you set out to do. Being prepared increases confidence because you know what you’re doing. You’ve practiced in advance to perform whatever needs to be done.
  7. Have goals and work to achieve them. When your life has direction, you know where you’re going. You’ll be consistently working toward accomplishing your aspirations. Because you have goals, you’ll see the progress you’re making, and you’ll feel certain you’ll eventually accomplish them.
  8. Embrace whatever it is you love. Making time to do what you love makes you happy, content, and excited about your own life. It also makes you feel more in control of your life, which adds to your self-confidence.
  9. Excel at work. No matter what kind of work you do, you can strive to be the best at it. Developing a reputation at work as the “go to” person who can always get the job done is a fabulous confidence-builder.
  10. Forget about your ego. When you give up the need to prove something, you’ll be free of feeling compelled to put on airs and impress people. Instead, you’ll become more authentic and real with yourself. Prove to yourself instead of to others that you’re competent and confident and others will see it anyway.

Building your self-confidence takes time, focus and effort. However, your faith in yourself will grow with every small step you take. Start today and begin living as the person you always dreamed you’d be.

Perfection vs. Excellence

There’s a huge difference between doing something well and doing it perfectly. Attempting to be perfect can bring on feelings of inadequacy and even interfere with completing important projects. Excellence, on the other hand, is attainable and is always more than good enough.

Eliminate the idea of perfection from your life and you’ll see your productivity soar. For example, a poorly written, but complete, book can still be published. But a perfectly composed book that’s only half finished is essentially worthless. Of course, there’s a middle ground between poor and perfect. And that terrain includes excellence.

The problem with perfection is that it can never be truly attained. So, in pursuing perfection, not only are you doomed to fail, but in the end, you also might have nothing to show for your efforts.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Apply the Law of Diminishing Returns to striving for perfection:

Imagine if you spent 25 hours on a two-page paper for a college class. Would you get an A? I would certainly hope so, but what else may have suffered because of it? What about your other classes and obligations? Maybe instead you could have done something enjoyable.

The other thing to consider is this: could you have gotten an A with two hours of work? Or five? From a practical standpoint, the same results can often be attained with much less time and effort. There is nothing to be gained by spending more time on something than truly needed.

If you spent six hours washing and waxing your car and your neighbor spent two hours on his, do you think anyone could tell the difference a week later? More importantly, what else could you have accomplished with those extra four hours? Life is short, and there’s a lot to do. What else could you do with your time besides trying to be perfect?

Pursuing Excellence Instead

Of course, you’ll want to decide on the level of excellence you wish to attain before getting started on a project. Everything you do should have standards that you strive to attain. If you choose your benchmark of completion properly, there’s never a good reason to go beyond that point.

What exactly is excellent, anyway? In our discussion, excellent means that the task was completed at a high enough level that there’s no cause for concern. You know your work will meet whatever requirements are put upon it. Regardless of the nature of the task, you know that it’s done well enough and you have zero concerns about it.

When deciding how well a project really needs to be done, consider the possible outcomes if the task is completed at various levels of quality. Obviously, a surgical instrument requires a much higher level of quality than a spoon.

Once the proper level has been set, you now have a target, a goal that’s been chosen with some thought and intelligence. Now, simply perform the task to that level and stop. That task is completed, and it’s time to do something else.

Giving up a habit of pursuing perfection might seem challenging. However, you’ll be happier, more productive, and you’ll maintain your sanity much more easily by striving for excellence instead. Focus on exceeding expectations. In terms of time, quality, and productivity, excellence always wins in the end.

How to Use Reading to Improve Your Conversational Skills

Although reading has many obvious benefits, do you realize it can help you sharpen your conversational skills, too? If you feel anxious about attending a party or social gathering where you don’t know anyone, reading can bring you greater confidence.

You can impress people with your ability to carry on an interesting conversation because exposing yourself to new information through reading provides you with a plethora of subjects to talk about.

Try these strategies for using reading to improve your conversational skills:

  1. Scan the headlines. When reading your morning newspaper, look over the headlines and titles first.
    • Whether you get the paper delivered to your house or read the local news online, look over all the article headings. Upon finding a subject that appeals to you, read the article. What do you think about it? Is there anything the article left out? Do you trust the reporting?
    • If you believe a topic is interesting and have more questions about it, chances are good that others will, too.
  2. Read articles and books that interest you. If you already find the subject matter fascinating, you’ll be more likely to remember it once you read it. It just makes good sense to hone in on information or stories that you find fascinating to share in conversations.
  3. Take note of topics that are currently trending. Popular and current subjects give you a good idea of what people are talking about. If you read those types of news articles, you’ll definitely have something of interest to share with others.
    • Plus, trending topics are constantly updated, so expect to learn a little more each day over the life of a trend. If one topic in particular has been covered repeatedly in the news lately, you’ve discovered a subject that others will probably enjoy discussing.
  4. Read a variety of material. A great way to start a verbal exchange with someone is to mention a book you’ve read lately. Books from the top 10 lists of bookstores and publishers make great fodder for conversation, regardless of whether they’re fiction or non-fiction.
  5. Formulate an opinion. Know your own feelings and ideas regarding a particular subject you read about. Although it’s helpful to be able to describe facts from an article, you’ll have an even richer conversation if you add in your thoughts, ideas and experiences related to the subject matter.
  6. Inject topics you read about into your conversations. Use the subjects you read about recently to start a verbal exchange. For example, let’s say it’s Saturday night and you just arrived at a friend’s party. You’re looking around and notice you don’t see many familiar faces. You feel a niggling sense of nervousness while wondering what you’ll say to the other partygoers.
    • But then, you recall that story you read in the newspaper this morning about the new museum your city is going to build. Most people that live in your town will want to know about that.
  7. Sit back and listen to others. Pay attention to conversations going on around you. Someone might mention a subject you just read about.
  • Ask people what they think about a particular story or character in the book.
  • Others will contribute thoughts, ideas and reactions to the subject matter that differ greatly from your own. An important part of conversing is listening and allowing reciprocation by the other person.

Reading is an effective method of gathering and storing information to talk about at the next social gathering you attend. A person who is well-read can be great entertainment at get-togethers and provide plenty of grist for some titillating conversations.

Although reading is wonderful all on its own, using it to easily strengthen your conversational skills brings you even more rewards.

How To Build a Stronger Ego

In self-help literature, we often read about the benefits of diminishing or eliminating the ego. Many write as though the ideal existence involves giving away all their stuff and doing away with attachment to anything. If that’s truly your calling, then go for it!

But what if you want to just be a regular person and feel good about yourself? What if you want to have a rich and exciting life, whether or not you have material abundance? Is there a way?

Instead of associating ego with detrimental personal traits, you could associate a strong ego with strong character. With a developed ego, you learn to have a healthy sense of self. And a healthy sense of self helps you be a person of character.

You can also work this in reverse: act like a person of character and you’ll learn to have a healthy sense of self. In other words, you’ll develop your ego.

What Is Character?

How do you act like a person of character? Here are some attributes to start with. Maybe you can think of some more that you’d like to demonstrate in your everyday life.

  • Courage: The ability to move forward when uncertain or fearful. This gives you a lot more options than you have when you feel too timid or fearful to take action.
  • Charity: When you help others, you help yourself even more in the end.
  • Discipline: Asserting control over yourself and your daily habits will strengthen your ego.
  • Adventure: Explore the world and its abundance of offerings. By having a better understanding of the world, you’ll understand yourself and others better.
  • Honesty: People who act or speak dishonestly often do so because they’re trying to hide the truth about themselves. Be honest and upfront in all your dealings. 

Expanding Your Mind Strengthens Your Ego

In addition to practicing good character, expanding your mind contributes to a happy and full life, strengthens your ego, and gives you more opportunities to demonstrate your character.

Consider these ways to use your mind for your benefit:

  1. Evaluate your model of the world. How do you act in response to your model of the world? Can you reshape your actions to bring about more desired results?
  2. Create a social support system that best serves you. Humans are social animals. Our interpersonal interactions and our environment have a significant impact on us. Fortunately, to some extent we all get to choose those around us. Include people in your life that support your highest vision of yourself.
  3. Become more capable. The mind can take us all sorts of places, whether we want to go there or not. Ultimately, though, we can choose where we want to direct our mind. Use your innate intelligence to tell your mind where to direct attention. Choose your focus wisely and you can strengthen your character and lessen your fears.

While it is not possible to eliminate your ego, you can  strengthen your ego to have a more engaging life. By building your character and your intellect, you’ll be able to bravely push forward and create the life you and your loved ones deserve.

Become More Successful Through Delayed Gratification

Learning to delay gratification can make you happier and more successful in both your personal and professional life. Psychological studies confirm what many traditions have long taught about the power of mental training: a little self-discipline can yield great results!

Here are some of the benefits of waiting for what you want, as well as techniques for becoming more patient.

Benefits of Delaying Gratification

  1. Improve your academic and job performance. Studies show that kids who learn to delay gratification get better grades and higher SAT scores. These gains usually continue throughout life, making them more satisfied and successful in their careers as well.
  2. Enhance your relationships. As our patience increases, we become less vulnerable to anger and its tendency to drive others away from us. We learn to look at the big picture and take other’s feelings into account.
  3. Become more physically fit. Studies also show that those less practiced at delayed gratification, or “low delayers,” tend to have higher body fat. If you appreciate the long term benefits of nutritious food and regular exercise, you’re less likely to overindulge in junk food.
  4. Lower your risk of substance abuse. Drug addiction can be one of the most painful consequences of seeking immediate pleasure. Even legal activities like shopping or watching TV can be destructive if we take them to extremes and allow them to crowd out more meaningful endeavors.
  5. Enjoy more contentment. Self control enables us to set goals and focus our energies on reaching them. We can make better choices, accomplish more and handle setbacks better.

Techniques for Delaying Gratification

  1. Recognize the complexity of your mind. Many mental health experts now speak in terms of interactions rather than fixed personality traits. Try to identify the circumstances where you have trouble resisting temptation rather than labeling yourself as being weak. This can be helpful in making constructive changes in your life.
  2. Divert your attention. Just turning your attention away from the cheesecake or the remark you find annoying will instantly make you a little happier and better behaved. The more you learn to control your thinking, the wiser you will become.
  3. Take a pause. Pausing for a second can help you avoid reflexive responses that run against your best interests. Decide if it’s more important to see your kids or spend another hour at the office. Take that morning run rather than sleeping for another half hour if the exercise gives you more energy and keeps you healthier.
  4. Think ahead. You can live in the moment and still be responsible about planning for the future. Find the balance that works for you.
  5. Experiment with visualization. When you’ve fallen in love with a pair of shoes that are too much for your budget, picture them as just a picture lacking any real substance. They’ll be easier to forget.
  6. Contemplate impermanence. If such visualizations sound artificial, think about impermanence. Those $400 shoes could get scuffed the first time you wear them, but setting that money aside for retirement could give you a much better future.
  7. Seek out good role models. Child psychologists find peer modeling to be a highly effective tool for character education. Whatever your age, pick up some valuable lessons by observing someone whose patience you admire.
  8. Reinforce your new habits. Self control grows stronger the more we practice. Have fun finding the strategies that work best for you. Look for daily opportunities to delay gratification, whether it’s a monthly savings plan or transforming those late night snacks into a more nutritious breakfast.

Throughout your life, you’re likely to spend a lot of your time waiting, so you might as well become good at it. Being able to delay gratification is one of the most important qualities you need to reach your goals. Fortunately, this is a skill that improves with practice!