I am a young guy who lacks confidence. How can I get better?

Three things can help: knowledge, skills, and non-verbal cues.

How do you put these three things to good use?

Practice these small habits every day so that you can boost your self-confidence:

Ask questions. Remember: knowledge is power. How do you acquire knowledge? It’s something you must get more proactive about. For example, every time you have a conversation with someone, ask them things: how their day is going, what their schedule is like, how long does it take them to get home, what they like to eat for breakfast, which activities they enjoy in the evenings, what they’re looking forward to next weekend, etc. Asking questions has many benefits: you take focus away from yourself and on to the other person, which helps you relax; you get information that other people may not automatically share with you, which boosts your knowledge about them; you find out which things you both have in common so that you can build on a friendship that both of you can enjoy.

Become a master of one specific thing. Which skills do you have that you are particularly proud of? What is it that your close family and friends say are your greatest strengths? Identify these areas, then focus on mastering one specific skill or talent: playing an instrument, being athletic, singing, learning a foreign language, etc. Grow your skill every day, in small increments, and practice it at every opportunity. Turn this skill into a daily habit, and you will quickly see how it boosts your confidence.

Use your body language. Whenever you find yourself in a social setting, either at work, school, or around friends, show your interest in other people with non-verbal cues. Stand in front of them when you meet them instead of keeping somewhere in the back of the room. Look your conversationalist in the eye instead of looking away. Don’t keep glancing at your cell phone when you talk. If you’re sitting down, lean your body slightly forward as you’re listening or talking; show them you’re fully focused and interested in the conversation.

Remember: Confidence is like a muscle. Chances are, you probably have some of it already, but it’s not visible. You need to work on it so that it can grow, become strong, and ultimately help you to feel positive about yourself.

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