Most people misunderstand confidence …
They think that people are just naturally confident.
This is false.
People who have unearned levels of self-esteem of self-worth are arrogant, not confident.
Confidence is a skill like any other.
It must be acquired.
Therefore, when you ask how to transform your confidence what you are really saying is “How can I become more competent.”
Because competence breeds confidence.
If you’ve never competed in a martial art before and you arrogantly assume that you can fight a black belt in JuJitsu and win … You’re a fool.
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However, if you have trained for years, earned a black belt yourself, and won several competitions, you can have confidence because you’ve become competent.
It’s also important to know that confidence in one area of your life leads to confidence in every area.
When you get good at one thing you realize that you can get good at anything.
And this is what true confidence is …
It’s the understanding that you have the potential and ability to become highly competent at anything you want.
… But back to the question.
How does one actually go about developing confidence?
Specifically, what are three habits that can transform your confidence completely?
Here are my three favorites.
1. Start by transforming your body
As I’ve already stated, confidence first requires competence in one or more area.
Once you’ve become really good at a given skill or activity, you develop confidence in your ability to improve yourself and acquire new skills.
And the simplest way I’ve found to increase competence and prove to yourself that you can transform your life is to start by transforming your body.
Becoming physically fit is actually really simple.
Sure, there are a million and one different workout programs and diets you can follow.
But if you follow the core principles of exercise physiology such as:
- Eating a caloric surplus or deficit to gain muscle or lose fat
- Progressively adding weight to increase strength and muscle mass
- Using aerobic conditioning to increase speed and recovery
- Getting plenty of good sleep so you can continue training
You WILL get results.
It’s not like entrepreneurship where you can fail at 100 businesses before succeeding or your romantic life where you can date dozens of people without ever finding someone with whom you click.
If you show up and put in the work … You will get results.
And the confidence that you will gain by transforming your body and developing an Instagram worthy physique cannot be understated.
When I went from scrawny to brawny, my confidence skyrocketed.
I felt more confident around women.
I had more energy and vitality and felt like I could take on the world.
And I no longer felt self-conscious when hanging around my fit friends.
If you want to be more confident, start by developing an amazing body.
I recommend following a program like Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews since this is the simplest and most research-backed approach I’ve ever found.
Trust me …
When you build your body, confidence will come as a natural byproduct.
2. Eradicate self-doubt and worry by practicing fear setting
Fear holds you back from feeling and experiencing confidence.
They are antithetical emotions.
You cannot be afraid and confident at the same time.
But here’s the thing …
Most of us are afraid of the wrong things!
We are scared by ghosts and “What ifs” that don’t actually exist.
As such, the quickest way to develop your confidence is to overcome your fears and worries using two techniques.
- Fear setting
- Exposure therapy
Fear setting is simply the act of writing down exactly what you are afraid of and then playing out the “What if” scenario all the way to the end.
For example, if you are afraid of quitting your job and starting your own business write down everything you are afraid of from …
- Looking foolish
- Going broke
- Being homeless
- Getting laughed at
- Etc. etc. etc.
But don’t stop there …
Once you have your fears clearly written out, you are now going to write out how you can eliminate possible downsides and maximize the upsides.
For example, if you want to start your own business but are too afraid, you could:
- Start with a side hustle while keeping your current job
- Find a mentor who has the results you want and pay him to teach you
- Request a sabbatical from work instead of quitting outright
- Create a backup plan in case you fail
Then, I want you to play out the worst case scenario in your head.
If you fail on EVERYTHING, what’s the worst that will happen.
Short of death and dismemberment, you will quickly realize that what you are scared of isn’t even that scary.
In fact, you’ve probably overcome worse situations before.
When you realize this, your confidence will be restored and your fear eradicated.
But this leaves me with one more way to beat fear and develop confidence …
3. Expose yourself to things you fear regularly
In other words … Get out of your comfort zone!
When you sit in your comfort zone and only do things that you are used to, it’s easy to become lazy and complacent.
You will no longer feel confident because you will no longer be taking strides towards achieving the life of your dreams.
If you want to maximize your confidence then you need to prove to yourself on a regular basis that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to.
So make a list of things that you fear or are, at the very least, uncomfortable with.
And then go do those things every day.
Here are a few examples to get you started
- Take ice cold showers instead of hot ones
- Talk to that pretty girl/guy in line at Starbucks
- Call your phone company and ask for a discount (you’d be amazed how many people are terrified of the phone)
- Take a part-time sales job and do cold calls every day
- If you have phobias such as heights, snakes, or driving fast, slowly expose yourself to those things
Just do MORE things that scare you on a daily basis.
I promise if you will do this for the next 90 days, you will feel more confident, self-assured, and ready to take on the world than you ever have in your life.
This post originally appeared on Quora.