Remember how you admired the head girl or head boy in school, while he or she gave a speech during the college assembly? Recall the basketball captain encouraging the team members and pushing them to win the match? How moony eyed were you while watching your favourite film star receiving an award and delivering an impromptu, yet witty speech that enthralled the audience! How many times have you yearned to speak like those articulate talk show hosts?
Do you think all these people were born orators, or coaches, or leaders? No. All of us are born the same. But over the course of our lives we develop certain traits and suppress others.
That is how we often find that even people who are not well read or possess no fancy degrees manage to attain great heights in life. Why go far, consider our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who rose from working at a tea stall to becoming a world leader. And not just any leader, he is known for his ability to influence people and establish a rapport with his audience. There is no dearth of similar success stories of people rising from the ranks; growing from being nobodies to becoming household names. What all of them have in common is ‘confidence’. Confidence is something each one of us has to build within us consciously. It is that one quality, which can take you places. Without any self-confidence, life will seem like a rock wall that you will simply keep pushing without making any progress. Needless to say the effort will exhaust you and leave you feeling drained.
1. Love yourself: Begin your journey on the path to achieving self-confidence by loving yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities and your talent. Tell yourself that you deserve the best and that you will not settle for anything less. If any negative thought arises in your mind about yourself, quash it immediately. Do not let it grow. Tell yourself that there is nothing about you that is worth disliking. Nothing can go wrong. Think only positive thoughts.
2. Look confident: Going for a meeting or an interview? Have a presentation to make? Even if you are not feeling very confident deep inside, make sure you look extremely confident. Walk and stand tall, sit straight and ensure that you make eye contact with the person you are conversing. Also remember, your handshake should be a firm one. If all this is difficult to do or follow, just imagine yourself as already successful. Enter the room as if you have already nailed it. You will feel the confidence building automatically. It helps to wear your favourite colour or dress. Each of us has some dress that makes us feel extra good about ourselves. When your confidence metre is low, reach out for that special dress and let the confidence radiate.
3. Learn to handle and accept failure: People who are confident by nature are not afraid of failure. They are able to take failure in their stride. They have the ability to look forward into the future and not at the past. They never give up. They only focus on trying over, and over again.
4. Look at yourself in the mirror: Make it a daily practice to look in the mirror and fall in love with the person you see. Appreciate your looks, your good health and your abilities. Thank the Almighty for it all. Talk to your reflection, and tell it how good you are. In fact, spend some time talking to yourself every day, and you will realise that you will look forward to meeting yourself every day. Ask yourself questions and make sure you respond to them positively. That is not all, research has proved that talking to oneself is also a good way to improve memory.
5. Find inspiration: Look at pictures and videos of people you admire for their confidence and the levels of success they have achieved. Read up about them and get to know how they made it in life. You will find that most lacked confidence as children or suffered from insecurities. But they managed to overcome all their shortfalls and build self-confidence. Let such stories inspire you and urge you to feel confident.
6. Set goals for yourself. Keep ticking off the goals one by one, as and when you achieve them. Just the sight of those tick marks is enough to get you started each morning, and beginning the day on a great note is the first step to gaining the confidence to ‘conquer it all’.
7. Chant the ‘feel good mantra’: Remember Amir Khan’s famous ‘All is well’ mantra from the film Three Idiots? Don’t brush that aside as a joke. Chanting something positive repeatedly, helps you actually feel it. Tell yourself that ‘I am confident’ or ‘I am great’ or ‘I will do it’. Repeat it to yourself, again and again till you start feeling that confidence oozing from every pore in your body.
8. Be eager to learn: Learning should continue throughout life. Grab every opportunity to learn something new. If you see somebody engrossed in an experiment, be a little curious and find out what it is all about, even if it is not your subject of interest. You see your aunt using a particular technique to seal her pickle jars, ask her how and why. You may never get down to pickling anything in life, but some extra knowledge never hurt anybody. Tuck all the information you gather everyday — by observing others and asking questions— into the folds of your brain. This is free storage that does not cost you anything. This large database can be accessed anytime later. The more knowledge you have about different subjects, the more confident you will be.
Confidence is something that one needs throughout life. Right from the first interview as a child, to get into kindergarten, to landing the first job and even hitting it off on that first date. In fact, confidence can make all the difference between making or breaking a marriage. It can help you close that much sought-after deal. It can give you wings!