I often look at other sites, articles and blogs in the field of self improvement. Partially for my own interest – I’ve always enjoyed reading and finding new ways to move forward in this area. But also to point others in the direction of good writing – whether through Twitter, my newsletter or on this blog.
Most people use search engines, particularly Google, to find out information on a particular topic. It’s quite reassuring (and good for the ego!) to still be on page one of Google for the term “self confidence”.
One site, or rather particular post, that I’ve often come across first appeared 21 months ago on Pick the Brain. Titled 10 ways to Build Self Confidence – by John Jorgensen – it currently sits at the top of Googles page one for “self confidence”. In other words Google considers it the most relevant page for anyone searching for self confidence.
Now, we can debate the accuracy of the Google algorithm – many do. Make your own mind up, but I don’t think the 10 suggestions are the best ways to gain self confidence:-
1 Dress sharp
2 Walk faster
3 Good posture
4 Personal Commercial
6 Compliment Other People
7 Sit in the Front Row
8 Speak Up
9 Work Out
10 Focus on Contribution
I’ve touched on body language here, although perhaps not enough, and good posture is a key confidence builder we can all practice. John’s opener about dress sharp is something I personally don’t really put into good effect, if I’m honest. I like his opening
Although clothes don’t make the man, they certainly affect the way he feels about himself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people.
I think being grateful for what is good about our lives and complimenting or praising others are equally good habits to get into. Beyond that I don’t necessarily disagree with the list, but the emphasis.
Speaking up is all very well, but not just for the sake of it. Not everyone can just plunge in. If you get crushed by someone else it will soon dent whatever confidence you had. Practise speaking out loud, getting confident just at speaking may be an important first step. Building assertiveness skills, being able to put across your point of view (and believe you have the right to say it) can be practised separately.
But speaking up is generally dependent on knowing your facts, being confident in your abilities. If sitting in a meeting where the subject is something you know little about – keep schtum! But when your area of brilliance is on the agenda – when you have every right to feel confident – speak up. Nothing builds confidence like knowledge and expertise.
Walk faster? Sit in the front row?! sounds like advice from someone who has never really lacked confidence themselves.
One factor behind the popularity of this article was it got a lot of “diggs” from the social bookmarking site of that name. In the discussion and comments that follow on the digg page, someone else has given their top ten suggestions:-
1. Take a shower and be hygienic
2. Put on some nice clothes and look good…human bodies require decoration
3. Realize that EVERYONE desires relationships and interaction, not just you
4. Realize that if you mess up, it’s just ONE event in your ~70 year life
5. Realize that confidence is the opposite of focusing on yourself
6. Remember what you’re good at
7. Remember not to act like what you aren’t
8. Accept that you’ll never have to be perfect
9. Accept that you should never wait for life’s “perfect timing”
10. Force yourself out socially and enjoy the ride
Now I think this is a better list than the original 10 posted by John Jorgensen! Although its just a list, the language used – lots of “accepts” and “remembers” and “realize” – accentuate its the way we think about something that affects our confidence.
Accepting we’ll never be perfect or that there will never be a “perfect” time to do something help us to avoid getting stifled by perfectionism. Remembering what we’re good at reinforces the point about knowledge and expertise being the foundation of self confidence.
My favorite is “Realize that if you mess up, it’s just ONE event in your ~70 year life.” As I’ve said before, I’m sure President Obama doesn’t lay awake at night ruminating on how he fluffed his lines at his inauguration…
So draw up your own list of ways to build your self confidence. The main trick, whatever is on your list, is to draw up an action plan to put them into practice.