Why Confident People Rule the World, and How You Can Too

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This is a special guest post by my good friend, Razwana Wahid. Please join me in giving Razwana a very warm and gracious welcome.

We all know the guy.

The one that glides into a room like he owns it already. Everyone thinks he rocks.  He stands tall. His attire is impeccable. And when he talks to you, you feel important.

It’s effortless.

You know that if we were under attack and he was leading the battle, we’d all survive.  And so would the neighbour’s dog.

You just know it.

Wouldn’t you love to have confidence like that?

The bad news is that you can’t. Not instantly. Not before taking some action.

And that’s the good news.

Whether you want to:

– Talk to the girl you’ve liked for months

– Ask your boss for a raise in salary

– Nail your next interview

Your confidence levels dictate how you approach each of these situations, and your likelihood of success.

Before we dive in, let’s get something straight.

Confidence is a facade.  Confident people do not *feel* confident before they do something.

And another thing.

Confidence comes after the act, not before.

I’ll repeat that:

Confidence comes after the act, and not before.

We will come back to this.

Being a confident person brings you better social skills. And better social skills means you are liked, recommended, and get what you want.

“But no!” I hear you whine.

“I don’t care if people don’t like me.”  Breaking news. It matters. A lot. How many people do you hang out with, or recommend, that you hate?

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Perhaps it is. But how do you get to know more people? That’s right, by increasing your confidence and improving your social skills.

“Who cares what people think? It’s how you feel about yourself that matters.” Yes, there’s a time and place for this. But when you’re at a job interview, how much do you care about what the interviewer thinks of you?

So how is this mysterious confidence built? You don’t wait to ‘just feel more confident’.

There’s a little bit of faking, and a little bit of practice.

The practice

First, do think about how you feel about yourself. Notice what you do that either comes across as confident, or not.

– Do you turn up your voice at the end of a sentence so it sounds like a question?

– Do you slouch or have bad posture?

– Do you talk too fast or not smile when you are listening to people (I’m guilty of both these and am adamant to improve).

Don’t just sit and ponder. Gather evidence. Ask a trusted friend to observe you and give you feedback. Audio / video record yourself and take note of what you want to change.

– If you do talk to fast, make it a conscious effort to slow down. Have you noticed how people that command authority talk slowly?

– If you don’t make eye contact, make the decision to. Start with your friends.

– Do you interrupt people when they are mid-sentence?  Practice patience and listening. People like people who listen to them.

The faking

Confidence doesn’t come naturally. So fake it until it starts to feel natural.

Fake it by doing things like:

– All of the above points you said you would improve

– Dress well and stand tall. When was the last time you made an effort with your appearance and felt crappy?

– Put yourself in situations where your skills are challenged. Walking up to a girl in a bar once is tough. The tenth time, not so much.

Over to you:

What have you done to improve your confidence? What worked? What didn’t?

About the Author:

Razwana Wahid is the founder of Your Work Is Your Life, a movement created around finding wildly wonderful work and a courageous career path you’re truly passionate about.  Read more at http://www.yourworkisyourlife.com and follow her on Twitter: @razwanawahid.

Photo Credit: OttoKristensen

45 Comments
  1. Hi Razwana, and welcome to Hiten’s blog 🙂

    I agree with you – being confident doesn’t come easy to all of us, yet it’s not all that tough I’d say. I liked what you mentioned in the end about faking confidence until it comes to you naturally, though some people tend to fake it a bit too much at times and you can make out then that they aren’t really confident!

    Speaking of myself, I think what worked for me was always going ahead and doing what I was scared to do or where I lacked the self-confidence. Yes, I always needed to give myself that push, which is the toughest part, but once you do that – the rest becomes easy. I think keeping positive thoughts in your mind that I can do this makes a lot of difference. If you keep yours fears aside, anything and everything IS possible.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend, both of you 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena – doing what scares you is a gem of an action. THIS is what builds confidence, for sure. The more you do, the more confident you become. Or perhaps it’s competent ??!!

    2. Hi Harleena,

      Many thanks for your wonderful comment and sharing the approaches you have used to increase your confidence!

      Regarding the fake it till you make it approach, I believe it can be a powerful technique in creating change in one’s life, for the better. However, I also believe it needs to be used for helping one to gain confidence, as opposed to the type of faking where someone is pretending to be something he/she is not because of other intentions they might have.

      Thanks again for sharing your experiences and adding to the discussion. Hope you’re having a good week! 🙂

  2. Those who are able to acknowledge their successes and what’s good about themselves often experience a boost in confidence. I’ve heard it said that self praise is no recommendation, but I think if we were able to remind ourselves of the times we’ve done well, it’d go a long way to giving a greater sense of confidence.

    Like your perspective Razwana.

    1. This is really awesome, Elle. Congratulating ourselves for a job well done and acknowledging success. I’d never thought of it this way – and the idea is magic.

      How else can we close the loop of confidence building if we don’t acknowledge all the good we have done? Love it!

    2. Hi Elle,

      I just loved your comment and would like to thank you for adding the additional and very important point about acknowledging our wins, no matter how small they may be. Indeed, the inner feeling we get from really emphasising our successes is great and as you said, it boosts our confidence.

      Thanks for commenting, Elle!

  3. Razwana,
    Welcome to Dr Hiten’s blog!
    Being confident is SEXY. Infact it brings the SEXY back! I like the way you put this “Confidence comes after the act, not before.” You are so right and I agree with you.
    I am very confident but people are now saying I am too confident. So how to balance this is what I am currently working on. When you are too confident you become aggressive.
    Thanks for the share.
    -seun

    1. Oluwaseun – there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, right?

      Let me ask you – when did you start to hear comments of you becoming TOO confident? And what are you doing to scale it back? Do you really need to??!!

    2. Hi Seun,

      Thanks so much for commenting and I’m really glad you enjoyed Razwana’s post. It certainly is a great one.

      I agree with the point you made about confidence being sexy. Indeed, it is! It’s wonderful that your confidence has increased to high levels! I can relate to the point you made about being too confident. One way I like to look at it is like this. If one is overconfident and is generally happy, is secure about themselves, then this type of overconfidence in my opinion is great. However, if the overconfidence is combined with some feelings of insecurity about an aspect of oneself, or about other people etc, then this can be used as a sign that some work can still be done on such points.

      Many thanks for commenting, my friend.

  4. Razwana – thanks for the take and tips on confidence. I think confidence comes from a lot of rejection and failure! Once you fail and get rejected a lot, you learn to be not affected by things not going your way. I think in general, I’m a confident person but always appreciate life experiences which challenges my confidence.

    And also, confidence does come after the fact but doesn’t it also come before? lol I’ve had to find the confidence to speak to an elected official, someone I don’t know or someone in a position of authority. I’ve had to find the confidence to do it but having done it once helps you build confidence in the future. Confidence builds upon acts of confidence, right?

    1. Hi Vishnu – I agree that a little bit of confidence is needed before the act. Or is is courage? Shall we debate that one for a bit??!

      I wrote the line about confidence coming after the act because a lot of (not so confident) people think those of us that DO have confidence, walk around with a bag full of it all the time and can walk into any situation without any doubts. And it’s not the case. At least not for me.

      And yes, sometimes a little dose of it before you do something is definitely needed. What do you do to build it before the situation, Vishnu? Any tips?

    2. Hi Vishnu.

      You wrote an excellent and a very thought provoking comment, my friend!

      I agree that confidence can also come from as you say, facing rejection and failure again and again. I think one develops a lot of resistance by doing this and becomes confident that success is inevitable.

      The point you made about confidence coming before the act was very interesting. Like Razwana, I wonder if it is courage more so at the start. Or perhaps it is courage combined with confidence. It is an interesting point and certainly one that is debatable.

      Many thanks for leaving your great comment, Vishnu. Hope you’re having a good week! 🙂

  5. Welcome Razwana to Hiten’s blog. Very good article on how to be confident. Interesting to know that when you speak slowly, you can command authority. This piece of information is worth in gold. From now on, I will attempt to speak slowly.

    1. You and me both, Shalu ! Especially when I have to give a presentation !

    2. Hi Shalu,

      Indeed, Razwana really has written a brilliant article. Speaking slowly is certainly a powerful way to command authority. All the great leaders who regularly give speeches to their followers have mastered this art.

      Many thanks for commenting, Shalu and for supporting Razwana.

  6. Excellent post Razwana! While I tend to disagree with the “fake it ’til you make it” theory, I can’t argue with the points you raised. And you’re correct when you say that confidence comes after the fact. I couldn’t agree more.

    Confidence is something we earn.

    We prove it to ourselves through a track history of action and results. Without either, there can be no confidence . . . only false bravado.

    It was great seeing you here Raz!

    Cheers!

    1. Confidence is earned – love this, Trevor.

      What else can I write, other than ‘je suis d’accord avec toi’ 🙂

        1. [insert comment about French being the language of love here]

    2. Hi Trevor,

      I have to reemphasise what Razwana said about the statement you made regarding confidence being something than we earn. This is brilliant!

      Building self-confidence and confidence in any endeavour requires effort. It certainly doesn’t come easy and people need to be prepared for the long haul.

      Thanks for leaving your amazing comment, my friend!

  7. Excellent points, Razwana. And, welcome to Hiten’s blog. Confidence is about the act. We need to take the steps forward and, at first, they may be small ones. The momentum will build though. Each step. Another level of confidence. Take it! Thanks. Jon

    1. Hi Jon. Thank you for your comment. Yes, taking small steps is definitely key.

      Often, we view a task with the end point in mind, and the end point alone. And that’s where the daunting feeling comes in ‘yikes, I can’t do this’ and the confidence killer thoughts take over.

    2. Hi Jon,

      I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about taking small steps and allowing momentum to build. Pretty soon, one can become unstoppable!

      Thanks for leaving your great comment.

  8. Nice article, Confidence is the assessment of an individual in relation to its own values. So to get confidence it is essential to know him about its own values and once he recognise his strength, he will be confident and will able to do anything. A person can be confident if he follow the steps u mention and some other like he get satisfaction what he have, positive and acceptable attitude etc.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice topic…

    1. Satisfaction in what we have – love that ! Thank you for joining in the discussion !

    2. Hi Rupali,

      I’m really glad you liked Razwana’s article! I loved what you wrote about being clear about one’s values and strengths and using this as a platform for increasing confidence.

      Indeed, as you said, developing satisfaction for what one has is a great way of being in the world.

      Thanks for leaving your wonderful comment, Rupali!

  9. I love the title to your blog post! It has the oomph that reeks of confidence and shine!

    I find that rehearsing over and over again both in the mind and verbally helps. I still may sound horrible at my first try even after practicing. But it gets better each time!

    Thank you, Razwana!

    1. Evelyn – you make a brilliant point. Rehearsing takes the fear factor out of things for sure.

      I’ve recently used visualisation too, especially before some difficult conversations I’ve had to have lately. And it works a treat.

  10. Oh I love this article Hiten! Every one of your points is spot on. The only other thing I can think of to add comes from my experience working in direct sales and with new entrepreneurs – make eye contact with the person you are talking to! It’s amazing how many people have a problem with this. I’m sensitive to cultural issues, especially since people such as myself (Caucasian) are in the minority where I live, but if we’re talking about strengthening confidence making eye contact is an important part of the image.

    1. Marquita – an excellent point! I must do more of this myself (without looking weird)

    2. Hi Marty,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Razwana’s post!

      Indeed, the tip you mentioned about keeping eye contact when talking with others is a great way to increase confidence. When we look at people in the eye in a soft and natural way, it also is helpful from the other person’s perspective, as it shows we’re really focusing on them and the interaction.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and leaving your great comment, Marty!

  11. Very insightful article! I really like the way you laid it out. Everything takes time and effort, even the confidence. It can be learnt and mastered. We all need to work on it. No one is always 100% confident in everything! Great article! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thank YOU Elena ! Confidence is something that can be mastered but it also needs to be worked on constantly. Especially when something happens to trigger the opposite effect.

    2. Hi Elena,

      Welcome to the blog!

      I’m really glad you liked Razwana’s post and I loved your comment.

      As you quite rightly said, everything takes time and effort. I think what differentiates those people who increase their confidence from those who struggle, is having an understanding that growth takes time and persistent action is needed.

      Many thanks for adding some great further insights, Elena!

  12. Great post Razwana!!! Faking it until we shift our thoughts toward the confident side is so essential. It’s something everyone has to get into the habit of doing. I’ve found having a positive and good self talk and thought life is a key factor to being confident. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Hi Dan – positive self talk is great, but I think it’s up to a point, right? Just like affirmations and gratitude, it works when we are not in denial of the truth!

      A little fake confidence + seeing all the good + positive self talk = confidence MACHINE !!

    2. Hi Dan,

      Indeed, I agree, Razwana’s post is a great one!

      I’m glad you could appreciate Razwana’s points about faking it until we make it. Doing so really does work and it is another addition to the other confidence building tools you mentioned such as positive and good self-talk.

      Many thanks for leaving your wonderful comment, Dan!

  13. Hello,
    This is really something interesting to know rule of the world! Thanks for making better understand about it.

  14. I love confidence, I have little, I need more confident, and I must be confident and the only way is to take an action now…

    1. Hi Adesanmi,

      Welcome to the blog and I loved the conviction in your comment to increase your confidence though taking action.

      All the best!

  15. This really very interesting Topic. teach me lot Thanks Hiten & thanks Razwana for sharing such a nice post with us.

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