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The Whole Human

Jessica Alba’s self-confidence hack might surprise you

Jessica Alba seems confident, but she admits that in the past, she’s made the mistake of placing too much weight on other people’s voices. The actress and entrepreneur recently joined Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast, in partnership with iHeartRadio and Sleep Number, where she explained the mindset she’s developed that has allowed her to take failures and see them as opportunities to actually gain self-confidence.

“I think I gained more confidence through making mistakes,” she tells Huffington. Alba explained that earlier in her career, she often harped on other people’s opinions, and even allowed those voices to interrupt her own self-assurance. But over time, she’s learned that her own voice is the one that truly matters.

“When I made mistakes in not trusting my gut for long periods of time, it made me not really care about other people’s opinions as much,” she explains. “Until you’re in my shoes and you really understand the situation, it’s really difficult to understand what’s going on.”

For example, Alba says that as an actress, she faced rejection left and right, and had no choice but to take the criticism, learn from it, and prove people wrong.

“When you’re an actress, there’s nothing but rejection,” she admits. “For every yes, there’s a thousand no’s telling you every reason, in a really terrible way, why you aren’t good enough.”

Perhaps that’s why Alba handled the criticism so well when she decided to expand her career to entrepreneurship and people questioned her ability to make the switch. “Everyone just said, ‘But you’re an actress! What do you know about supply chain, or this distribution model, or this business model that does this?’ ” she recalls.

According to Alba, gaining self-confidence all came down to listening to her own voice and maintaining perspective. In fact, she says keeping that context in mind can make a world of a difference when people tell you you’re not good enough: “Other people are just giving you their own reality and their own … perspective and their life experiences, but that doesn’t have to be yours.”

To find out more, listen to the full conversation on iHeartRadio, here. You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes.

This article first appeared on Thrive Global.

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Rebecca Muller is a Content Fellow at Thrive Global. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism. She is excited to join Thrive in its mission to accelerate the culture shift and end the stress epidemic.