Self-confidence: You either have it or you don’t, right?
Self-confidence is a set of habits. To some people, these habits come naturally. To most of us, however, they don’t. The good news is that these habits are things that anyone can pick up, start doing and begin to boost their confidence… provided they apply them rigorously and regularly.
This isn’t stuff that’s going to work for “some other person.” This is stuff that’s going to work for you, starting today as long as you commit to it. This is what I teach men at The Art of Charm about regular habits they can start doing to begin boosting their confidence.
As you get older, the gym becomes less and less optional. You need to stay in shape, especially with regard to your muscles.
More than that, there is a proven correlation between hitting the gym and boosting your self-esteem. Regular exercise makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something (you have), makes you look better over time (and won’t that make you feel better about yourself?), decreases anxiety and negative self-talk (the root of a lot of men’s lack of confidence), and introduces you to new people (some of them will be good-looking ladies!).
Perhaps most importantly, regular exercise is a subtle cue to yourself that you can do it. You can make goals and meet them. It changes your mindset and puts inertia in the direction of doing rather than coasting.
If you take one piece of advice listed here, this should be the one.
And if you take two, this should be the other one.
Meditation isn’t a hippy dippy thing. It is for the brain what exercise is for the body. In fact, meditating after a rigorous exercise can be one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You just throw on some comfortable clothes (or none at all if that’s your steez), find somewhere quiet to sit and…
That’s really what you’re trying to do when you meditate. Especially in the era of 500 channels on cable, constant smartphone connection to the Internet and the background chatter of modern urban life, taking half an hour every day to sit down, shut up and be silent has an incredibly powerful effect on the way that you think.
No longer do your thoughts just happen. No longer do your insecurities control you. You see thoughts for what they are: Things that just float through your brain. Things that you can entertain or dismiss as you will.
Get comfortable with silence and your brain will no longer seek to fill it with everything you want to think about. And, on a related subject…
You’ve started doing this by hitting the gym. And, your meditation work will have you more aware of your body. But you’ve got to master it. The simplest way to do that is to work on your posture. Here’s how you do it:
Now you can call on this posture whenever you want. This is just the basic building block to mastery of your body language at all times. Fewer things are going to help you not just grow confidence, but also project confidence in this way.
Confident people get out there and take chances. They do it on the regular. They know that all meaningful change happens outside their comfort zone. They also know that failure is part of the game.
It’s not that you’re never going to fear failure. Quite the contrary. But just like a boxer who has been in 25 bouts doesn’t have the same feeling in the pit of his stomach before a fight that you might have, so too will you become less crippled by your fear of failure.
If you want safety, hang out on the porch. If you want to live a life worth living, you need to get out there and take chances. Feelings of inadequacy often stem from a sense that we could do more than what we’re doing. If you’re the person who’s always going out there, balls out and doing everything he can to make your life the way you want it to be, how are you going to lack confidence?
If you’ve truly done everything that you can, no one can ever judge you negatively. Not even yourself.
You might have noticed this, but confident people tend to travel in packs. Rarely will you find one guy or gal out there all by themselves being confident.
Do you have friends who are threatened by your confidence? Then it’s time to get new friends. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have some epic schism with people who were once your best friends. It just means that you need to find friends who are as confident as you are.
There’s an old parable about crabs pulling down any one of their own trying to escape from a pot of boiling water. There’s something to this. But more importantly, when you cultivate new habits, it’s best to be around people who have similar habits to help you reinforce them.
Confident people are often committed to general self-improvement. This makes them ideal companions anyway. What’s more, you probably already know people who are either confident or interested in growing their self-confidence in the same way that you are.
Which brings me to a final point: Vulnerability is a luxury of the confident. Think about it: People who are too afraid to ever be vulnerable are those who have zero self-confidence. It’s all just a facade that they’re afraid is going to come crashing down if they let down their guard for even a second.
What does this have to do with getting with a crew of confident people?
It means that you should talk to the friends you already have and trust first. See if they share your interest in self-improvement. Anyone who hears that and craps all over you isn’t a person you need in your life anyway.
Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach. He is the co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company. If you’re interested in The Art of Charm residential programs, apply for a strategy call with a coach. You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook or Twitter.