Self-confidence isn’t just vital when you’re on a job interview, on a date, or any other perilous social occasion when you need to make a good impression. Possess enough of it every day and your whole life will benefit. You’ll do things well out of your comfort zone just because you think it might be possible, and you’ll do enough “impossible” things to create a successful life.
While there is no shortage of books, courses, videos, and self-help programs on how to boost your self-esteem and raise your level of self-confidence, you may not need any of them. Why? It’s because assuming an attitude of self-assurance is a habit, and if you pursue a habit long enough it becomes second-nature.
With that in mind, here are 3 tips to exercise the habit of keeping your head up high and taking on the world, one challenge at a time.
1. Always dress well.
It’s difficult to walk with your head down when you’re looking good from head-to-toe. In fact, the occasion doesn’t even matter. You could look stylish wearing venous compression stockings when you’re on a walk to hit your 10,000 steps on your Fitbit watch or when you’re at the gym sculpting that perfect body. You could look strong and capable just pushing your cart down the supermarket aisle. The point is that when you look good, you feel good. And you can always look good, regardless of whether you’re at a formal, casual, or recreational event. Remember, you’re not dressing to impress others; you’re dressing to feel more alive and in touch with yourself.
2. Practice body language until it feels natural.
How you carry your body has an effect on how you feel about yourself. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, has researched the effects of body language on a person’s psyche. Describing her work, a CBS News story said, “Believe it or not, her studies show that if you stand like a superhero privately before going into a stressful situation, there will actually be hormonal changes in your body chemistry that cause you to be more confident and in-command.”
Positive body language isn’t something you have to formally study. You intuitively know the difference you feel when you stick your chin and chest out and straighten your shoulders. You already have a mental picture of how a confident person sits, stands, and gestures. You’ve seen countless movies about how heroic men and women walk and talk. While it might feel stiff and awkward in the beginning to assume a confident persona, it will begin to feel increasingly natural the more you practice.
3. Project positive images about future events.
While it’s normal to feel nervous about an upcoming event that could affect your future, it’s not necessary to feel that way. You’re not nervous because of the important event itself but because of the conversation you’re having in your head about it. If, for instance, you’re a project manager who has to make a presentation at a company meeting attended by top executives, you’ll feel nervous if you mentally rehearse all sorts of worse case scenarios. While all this self-doubt happens spontaneously, there’s no reason why you can’t take control of your own mind. When you think and feel like you’re doing a great job during the presentation, you’re instructing your subconscious mind to take care of the details. You’ll say the right things in the right way at the right time; you’ll answer questions deftly; and you’ll walk and talk like someone who’s managing a project well.
A simple exercise to boost your self-esteem is to make a list of at least 10 things that you’ve accomplished in your life. In particular, focus on things that you once didn’t know how to do at all but learned to master. Perhaps, you didn’t pay much attention in high school and didn’t get top grades, but you more than made up for it by becoming a straight A student in grad school.
Self-Confidence is Natural
The most natural way of living in the world is with a sense of self-confidence. Ironically, it feels phony assuming an attitude of self-confidence for no reason at all. We’ve all been socially-programmed to believe the opposite of what’s true. It’s time to regain your lost identity by practicing the art of self-confident dressing, body-language, and mental imagery. Self-confidence is a valuable commodity that is within your reach.