7 signs you are genuinely confident (without being cocky)

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Confidence is often mistaken for arrogance, but genuine confidence is about having an inner sense of self-assuredness.

It’s about knowing your own abilities without having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

The problem is that many people try too hard to be confident and end up being cocky about it.

This is why the following list is so important. I’m going to outline the 10 signs that you’re genuinely confident without tipping the scales and becoming arrogant about it.

These are very difficult to fake.

If you demonstrate the majority of these signs, you’re probably a genuinely confident person without being cocky.

1) Body language

Confident individuals tend to have open and relaxed body language.

They also make eye contact when they’re speaking with you and take up space with their movement and gestures.

Example:

Check out this guy.

The key thing to note is that his shoulders are back and his hand is casually placed inside his pocket.

While he’s wearing dark glasses, he looks like the kind of guy that would have no issues in making eye contact with you.

He owns his space and looks quite relaxed.

2) Voice tone

This is a great sign of genuinely confident people to look out for.

Confident people have a consistent tone of their voice. They often have a deeper voice tone but this isn’t always the case. It’s more important that their tone is consistent and they avoid the user of filler words.

Think about the times you’ve been speaking with someone who uses lots of ums and ahs.

It’s disconcerting to be around.

In contrast, confident people have learned to eliminate the use of filler words and they speak with a clear or steady voice.

Pro tip:

Many years ago I used to be a university tutor. I was fresh out of my postgraduate degree and very nervous about teaching others.

The best thing I did in the weeks leading up to my first class was to eliminate the use of filler words.

How did I do this?

I put a rubber band around my wrist, and every time I used a filler word like um or ah, I pulled the rubber band and snapped it back.

It became a habit and I started to consciously look out for these filler words.

By the time my teaching career began, I’d eliminated the use of these words and was speaking in a much more confident tone.

This is an easy thing to do and I highly recommend trying it out.

And it directly relates to the next key sign of confident people.

3) Verbal communication

Confident people are very selective with the words they use.

They’re clear and direct with what they say.

It’s a wonderful skill to be able to express ideas in a clear way that can be easily understood by others.

My teaching career at university helped immensely with learning to speak clearly.

But here’s the funny thing.

Speaking in a direct and clear way isn’t about using lots of words.

It’s actually about using less words to express your key points.

Exercise:

A great way to learn to speak more directly is to use more silences in your conversation.

Seriously!

After you make a key point in a conversation and you have someone’s attention, don’t say anything. Just hold their eye contact and let the point sink in.

And then wait for them to speak next.

It’s more difficult to do than most people realize. But you’ll show much more confidence by doing this.

4) Emotional expression

This is another really interesting sign of genuinely confident people.

They’re able to regulate their emotions.

It’s not about avoiding your emotions though.

It’s about fully embracing your emotions and using your emotions as fuel in your life.

I was the host of a really fantastic video training on how to embrace your anger. The instructor was the shaman Rudá Iandê.

In the masterclass, he explained how we often feel like we’re not meant to feel our anger. We try to avoid these feelings.

But the problem is that we end up bottling up these emotions and they come out at the worst possible times.

Genuinely confident people, on the other hand, have learned to connect deeply with their emotions. This is what allows them to regulate their emotions and stay composed even under stressful situations.

5) Decisiveness

This is where I need to be honest with you.

I’m an indecisive person.

I sometimes feel paralyzed in the face of decisions.

I can’t stop thinking about all the different possibilities before me.

But here’s the thing.

I’ve learned to still take action in the face of this feeling of indecisiveness.

I’m not afraid of taking risks.

I feel the fear deep inside that things may not go to plan. But I take action anyway and have conditioned myself to just accept the consequences.

This seems to me to be a key attribute of genuinely confident people. It’s not about avoiding the feeling of indecision but about making sure the feeling doesn’t stop you from taking action.

6) Self-assuredness

There’s a real theme to all of these signs, isn’t there?

The theme is that all these signs are related to the relationship we have with ourselves.

Confident people have an inner sense of self-assuredness.

They’re comfortable in their own skin.

They don’t seek validation from others.

It’s actually really hard to not seek validation from others, so I decided to put together a brief exercise to help you practice letting go of this need.

Exercise:

  1. Identify the triggers: Take note of the situations when you feel like you need validation from others.
  2. Challenge your thoughts: When you find yourself seeking the validation of others, ask yourself whether you really need that validation. 
  3. Practice self-validation: Give yourself positive affirmations. This will shift the cycle from getting validation from others to giving it to yourself.

This way, you’ll bring self-awareness to the times in your life when you need validation from others and you’ll create a new mindset where you provide that validation yourself.

7) Authenticity

There’s really nothing more intoxicating than spending your time with authentic people.

These are the people who live life on their own terms.

They don’t seek validation from others.

They are genuine and true to themselves.

All of the points shared in this article contribute to someone living an authentic life.

And to be honest with you…

There’s really no other way to live life.

When you live authentically, you become more in tune with your own values, beliefs and needs.

You connect with others who share these values and beliefs.

This means that you’ll more likely attract people into your life who accept you for who you are.

It can be uncomfortable to live life in this way, but over time it becomes habitual.

And when you’re living your life in this way, you’re one of the genuinely confident people.

If you want to get to know me and my journey in learning to live an authentic life, check out my latest YouTube video below. If you like it, you can subscribe here.

Justin Brown

As co-founder of Ideapod, a digital publishing platform reaching millions, and creator of The Vessel, a new platform for self-knowledge, I bring a unique perspective to the world of culture, politics and psychology. With a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. (First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, I've dedicated my career to understanding and sharing new ideas and perspectives for a new generation.

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