True confidence is rare.
Yes, anyone can fake it by talking loudly, having good posture, or being the life of the party on social media.
But are these actions consistent with what’s on the inside?
You see, real confidence stems from deep within.
And more often than not, the latter manifests in certain behaviors; behaviors that are unique to the confident soul.
So if you genuinely want to start gaining self-assuredness, it’s wise to start adopting the right habits (that insecure people tend to avoid.)
Let’s get to it!
1) Admit when they’re wrong
Here’s the thing: most confident people feel like they have nothing to prove.
They know that being wrong on occasion is an essential part of the human experience.
Unlike the less secure folks in life, the pride and self-worth of confident people are largely unaffected by failure.
In fact, they often use their shortcomings as fuel to come back stronger.
It’s only the insecure people who see being corrected as a personal affront and react with defensiveness.
Their foundations are so delicate, that they might feel the need to be the perfect person to be accepted–and hence, they tend to overcompensate.
The latter is the opposite of genuine confidence.
2) Ask for help
Confident people know that to get the best out of their circumstances, getting external help is the way to go.
In business, in school, in sports, or whatever their chosen pursuit is, they accept that they cannot do it all.
Therefore to them, seeking help is a strength, not a weakness.
They know that it’s human to have limitations and that others can bring qualities to the table that they can’t.
A decade ago, as a fledgling business owner, I hated asking for help, even though I lacked a ton of knowledge about my industry.
I wanted others to see me as a perennial pro at what I did–and in my mind, asking for guidance would make me look vulnerable.
Eventually, I got a harsh wake-up call. To make a long story short, I made some poor financial decisions and the business began to bleed money.
Soon, we were on the cusp of bankruptcy.
Fortunately, I was able to find partners to buy into the troubled enterprise.
They brought the tools and operational excellence that I thought I had, but in hindsight, was sorely lacking.
From then on, I realized that there is no shame in getting help… and not only that, I came to terms with the fact that to maximize my own potential, having other people is almost always essential.
3) Celebrate others
Do you have friends who seem truly happy about your successes?
They’re the ones with real confidence.
When you have a high degree of self-assurance, you don’t see everything and everyone as your competition; you don’t see their victories as threats.
You generally avoid comparisons as a means of measuring worth, instead recognizing and respecting everyone’s unique journey.
You feel good and celebrate the achievements of peers instead of downplaying them.
This speaks volumes about your inherent value (and confidence) as a person.
4) Take risks
Everyone is afraid of failure. But the truth is, confidence is not about being completely fearless.
Hence, the confident person is regularly willing to step out of their comfort zone and take risks.
This doesn’t mean they’re reckless daredevils, acting foolishly at every turn.
They play it safe when necessary, but that’s not their default option. They know that any worthy pursuit in this life involves some degree of risk.
Take it from Facebook’s big boss Mr. Zuckerberg himself: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
5) Listen more than they speak
Have you ever heard the saying “Still waters run deep?”
Contrary to mainstream perception, confidence is not just about enunciating clearly and speaking at a high volume.
Confident people don’t feel the need to be the loudest voice in the room to be heard–a common form of overcompensating.
When you’re totally comfortable in your own shoes, you start valuing what others have to say more and more.
You’d rather listen and absorb information and different perspectives instead of lecturing and talking over people.
6) Avoid gossip
As the famous quote goes: “Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.”
Well, guess what? Great minds and confidence go hand in hand.
When we’re lacking in the self-worth department, we might turn to things like gossip to tear others down–it’s a coping mechanism, one that gives us a fleeting, superficial boost in ego.
So when you’re confident, you generally steer clear of the negative talk, focusing on building others up instead of berating them.
7) Accept compliments graciously
Real talk: The insecure person sometimes has a tough time accepting compliments.
Occasionally, they might even think the compliment-giver is being sarcastic.
Most times, they’ll downplay or deflect praise, as their feelings of imposter syndrome come creeping about.
Confident people tend to have an accurate gauge of their value (without being conceited.)
Hence, compliments are often received with a simple “thank you,” more than anything.
8) Pursue personal growth
I remember at 18 or 19 thinking, “This is the peak of my knowledge of the world. I won’t get any smarter than this.”
Boy, talk about youthful naivete!
Now in my mid-30s, I can say with certainty that the quest for knowledge and growth never really ends.
I am now fully sold on the idea of self-improvement.
The things I learned living through the pandemic alone have been life-changing.
Nobody, not your favorite celebrity, not Taylor Swift or Lebron James, can really plateau in terms of growth.
There’s always something new to learn in this life, whether that’s acquiring new skills, seeking knowledge, or pursuing new hobbies.
Heck, even my 87-year-old grandmother attends Italian language classes once or twice a week.
If she can commit to growth, then so can you.
9) Prioritize self-care
The confident person realizes the value of taking care of their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
After all, if they let themselves go, they’re aware that their confidence can dwindle.
Whether this means indulging in hobbies, getting a good night’s sleep, or clocking in time at the gym, in order to nurture their best qualities, self-care is non-negotiable.
10) Don’t seek validation
Confident people don’t feel the need for constant validation.
Sure, feeling appreciated is certainly welcome every now and then, but these types of affirmations aren’t something they constantly seek out.
This may sound a bit extreme given our current reality, but some of the most confident people I know never post on social media.
Conversely, I also know people who will do things, say eat at a fancy restaurant or donate to the needy, solely to post it on Instagram or TikTok.
In their minds, if they can’t post, there’s no point.
The latter is an almost foreign concept to the genuinely confident individual.
This is because confident people don’t get their approval or validation from vapid likes on the gram.
As established, confidence comes from deep within, not from excess reassurance.
Confident people trust their own judgment and actions; everything else is just noise.
11) Practice humility
Speaking of empty validation, the confident person doesn’t feel the need to brag about their achievements, letting their actions speak for them instead.
They aren’t inherently narcissistic, unlike some prestige-hungry public figures (I’m sure you can name a few).
This means they never look to take sole credit for their success–they make it a point to acknowledge the people who have aided them on their respective journeys.
And in turn, they tend to gain everyone’s respect.
12) Show genuine interest in others
I personally know a ton of people who can blab about themselves for hours, as if they’re rehearsing a monologue for a one-person play.
I find this showcase of self-centeredness baffling.
Why? Because conversation is about give and take. When interactions become one-sided, this is insulting to the other person involved.
It takes a distinct lack of empathy to perpetuate this level of self-involvement and thoughtlessness.
In the same scenario, the confident person will display consideration by expressing interest, asking thoughtful questions, and engaging in conversations, rarely feeling the need to take the spotlight.
After reading this, you might think that to be confident, you need to be the perfect person.
But the truth is that even the most confident of people have moments of uncertainty and insecurity, and vice versa.
This is just part of being human.
So if you want to gain real confidence, don’t feel discouraged by the occasional hiccup.
Enjoy the ride. Celebrate your wins.
No exceptional achievement comes overnight.
With a bit of commitment, I have no doubt that you’ll get to where you want to be.