The Key to Confidence

Confidence is a desirable trait and a necessary facet among an arsenal of skills for social and professional success. As an article in Harvard Business Review puts it, ‘few succeed in business without a degree of confidence’. While many aspire to be more assertive – to have their voice heard in an environment where many are vying for recognition or to be taken seriously in matters of importance – it is often difficult. This is even truer of an age in which many diverse and opposing opinions are heard simultaneously in the wake of social networking. Below are a few simple ways you can make an impression and boost your self-esteem.

Value Yourself

Confidence is a state of mind, not a set goal, and your view of yourself is the place to begin. As the old saying goes, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anybody else?  This is especially true of leadership roles which require others to take you seriously. Try thinking of all the positive things about yourself – your skills, your achievements, the things people like about you, the things you like about yourself. These can be absolutely anything, from school achievements to times you have been complimented by others to private successes when you have simply been proud of a decision you made. A positive view of yourself comes with the realisation that you can achieve just about anything by utilising your strengths and working on your weaknesses.

Body Language

A subject that has been covered so often online and in self-help articles that it has become something of a cliché. Mannerisms and the way you present yourself are vastly influential in the way others perceive you. Standing up straight, smiling and maintaining eye contact are the most commonly listed as methods of self assertion. Being attentive to these habits is

important in gaining respect as they communicate alertness, attentiveness and pride in oneself.

…And Dressing Accordingly

It follows naturally when considering presentation that the way a person is dressed also comes into play. While appearances certainly aren’t everything, they play a role in first impressions made on others. For this reason self maintenance in the form of nice clothes and a personal grooming routine is key to instilling self-respect that others will pick up on.


No matter what has happened in your life to make you lose confidence in yourself, it is important to remain positive. This begins with leaving old problems in the past and focussing on who or what you want to be in the present. A 2014 study published in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology journal, conducted on four groups of university students of equal eligibility for a fictional post graduate program, found that those groups who were actively encouraged and told they were “perfect” for the role were far more likely to apply and therefore be accepted than those who had the grades but believed they were not. This is an example of why it is important to believe in your abilities without encouragement from others, and when circumstances appear bleak or adverse. If a problem or obstacle is unavoidable, the most you can do is focus on yourself and distract yourself from the issue at hand by keeping busy and finding those who will support you.

Try Something New

A club, a new hobby or application for a position you thought unattainable. All of these things will enable you to gain new skills and meet new people with minimal effort on your part. Merely showing enthusiasm for a position at your place of work or education can earn you respect and recognition, even if you come away with less than you’d hoped for. Physical activities in particular are known to be beneficial to mental health due to the body’s natural release of endorphins during exercise, hormones that reduce anxiety and pain. If you do not wish to enter into competitive sport, some good non-competitive group sports to try include yoga, aerobics, walking clubs, non-competitive swimming and dance classes.

Written by Emily Olive




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