There are moments in all of our lives when we can go from a feeling of low confidence to feeling unstoppable. These moments usually happen only at rare occasions, and they seem more like near-miraculous exceptions rather than rules.
But what if we operationalized these as regular parts of our lives? Apologies for the cheesy title, but I think it’s possible to have certain actions close to mind and close to hand when we need confidence to get things done.
Here are 10 things you can do – and you can do them in a short amount of time – to grow your confidence in yourself.
- Do something uncomfortable – Have a difficult conversation. Deliver a difficult rejection. Ask for something. Be vulnerable. Be risky. Step outside of your comfort zone. There are plenty of opportunities for discomfort that come in all areas of life. If you do at least one and survive, you’ll be feeling a surge of confidence and mastery.
- Say no to something addictive – When you notice that an activity or a substance is becoming addictive to you, exercise self-restraint. Refuse to self-medicate on sugar or alcohol or gaming or sleeping or social media. You’ll respect yourself and trust yourself more.
- Get up early in the morning – This one works every time, and it’s very easy to do. Getting an early morning start gets you a leg up on everyone else and creates a mental free space. You’ll feel much more confident about the direction of the day if you start it in your time.
- Exercise – Just go for a run or lift some weights. You can work out a lot of the stressors and worries that cause low self-confidence, and you can remind yourself that you have the capacity to push past your own limits.
- Stand up straight and smile. Flash a grin at the world, and, in the words of Jordan Peterson, “stand up straight with your shoulders back.” The physical actions here help to loosen you up. By forcing your body into a pose of confidence, you can also “trick” yourself into feeling more confident. Just noticing your body goes a long way toward breaking out of low-confidence habits like poor posture.
- Finish something. Finishing a project closes what David Allen (Getting Things Done) would call an “open loop.” Our open loops – unfinished books, unfinished projects, and other unfinished business – can all sap our confidence without us knowing. Finishing gives you the confidence to believe in your own word to yourself or others.
- Speak an unpopular opinion / stand alone – Say something which you believe to be important and true. Better yet, speak something you find and important and true that many others around you are too afraid to say. Risk the backlash. You may speak a truth which brings life to your community. Even if it doesn’t, it will make you feel more alive and more self-confident if you can trust that you will speak the important truths.
- Say no – Decline to live for someone else’s sake, or to act for the sake of placating. When you say no, despite pressure to say yes, you reaffirm your own value and independence to yourself.
- Look at your fears. You don’t even have to face your fears. Just look at them briefly before you retreat again. Look at the book report, the work project, the email inbox. This can take you a good ways toward the self-confidence for confronting your fears.
- Make progress. Just do something that gets the ball rolling or keeps it rolling. Don’t let things stop. Keeping forward momentum is a key element in generating self-confidence.
Intellectual Credits: None of the ideas here are original. I’d reckon I’ve gleaned a lot of these ideas for habits from Isaac Morehouse, Jocko Willink, and Jordan Peterson, among other thinkers on personal development.