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7 Steps to Improve your Self-confidence

Self-confidence is not something that some people were born with or have a natural talent for, it is a set of skills that you can learn and use to enable you to feel calm and confident in any situation. The following are some steps you can take to begin your journey towards self-confidence right now:

1. Raise your expectations

As child, after the age of 11, I never had any stable schooling. So I would have not got into university straight after leaving school. What I did, though, was always read a minimum of two hours a day, so I was always learning. This allowed me to pass the college entrance exam when I was 14 and start college when I was 15. At university, as an adult, I always read all the required course reading before I started a course so I was always ahead of my game.

I raised my expectations of myself and the expectations of those around me about the eventual outcomes of my life. I became more than I was ever expected to be by those who had written me off. I became highly educated and was able to determine the course of my own life. It was not luck, but design.

You can raise the expectations for yourself to aspire to be confident in the things that you do or the things that you wish to do and the communications you make with others. That, of course, has to be backed up with the work it takes to initiate the confidence you display. If you confidently introduce yourself as a chemist, you must actually be a chemist.

2. Learning to love yourself

There is one person you are born with and one person you die with. That’s right, it’s you. You are the person you spend your whole life with. Just imagine for one moment spending your whole life with someone you do not like or do not love. How would that be?
Now, just imagine for one moment spending the rest of your life with someone you love. Ask yourself how wonderful that would be?

3. Stop seeking approval from others

One of the things that some people constantly worry about is whether people like them. Some people are plagued with self-doubt when others declare they do not like them. This is a fact of life. Some people may adore you, some people will like you some of the time; on a good day maybe even most of the people will like you most of the time; but never will all of the people like you all of the time.

Some people spend most of their time being angry and you just happened to chance along, so they bite you. Some people may be in a bad mood and you just happen to be the nearest target. The fact that someone may not like you might be absolutely nothing to do with you at all.

4. Present yourself well

When I’m cleaning the car and sweeping out the garage I wear my old clothes. But I do not go to work in those clothes – I wear something smart because no one wants a clinician who looks as if they just got out of bed.

Dress according to the occasion. It helps to put other people at ease and also gives a sign that you have made an effort to be comfortable around others. You would look pretty silly going to dinner in a bikini.

To be a confident communicator you need to be able to put other people at their ease so they are able to open up to you comfortably.

5. Take risks

Life is about taking risks. If you stay only in your own back yard you are never going to see the world. If you do not make the effort to try new things, your experiences will be very limited. That does not mean you should put yourself in harm’s way, but in learning to be more confident you need to put yourself out into the world. That includes taking the risk of interacting with new people.

Just recently I went to a talk by a professor who specialises in a certain field. After the talk I went over to him and enlisted him in a project I will be running later in the year. I get his help and he gets his name in print so it will be a win-win situation. I took a risk in approaching him and it paid off. If it had not paid off I would have tried someone else.

6. Live in the positive zone

Adopt a positive outlook. Look for the positive in everything that happens. Reinvent that positivity in your life each day, several times a day. Confident people adopt a good sense of optimism.

Some people live on the edge of the black hole. They are deeply negative, pessimistic, and destructive and will turn on you and attack you if you challenge their reality. They have become so used to living on the edge of the black hole that they do not want to try anything different.

Part of their quest in life is to drag other people into the black hole – do not join them. They will attack others in front of you to prove their power. Do not succumb and be seduced – stay away from the black hole as it will swallow you up. Form your confident communications positively.

7. Look up

One of the things I often notice about people who come into my office seeking to learn to be more confident is that they frequently look down below the visual midline of the horizon. Having better body language helps correct this by lifting your head more to seem more confident.

Unconfident people frequently look down in a gesture of submission. However, there is another reason that they look down and that is that they are accessing negative memories from the past. When the brain tries to access past negative memories, the eyes move down below the midline. It is the way the brain is wired and those past negative memories have negative emotional content attached.

In creating behaviour and experience in the present and future, we sometimes access past memories so that we can consult our own experiences. If our experiences were negative, the information we are relying on will also be negative and these experiences will not be useful in creating positive experiences.

In using any past memories to create positive experience in the present and future you need to access positive memories and experiences. You do that by looking in a way that does not accesses past negative emotions.

Exercise: Accessing past positive memories

A. Sit in a chair where you will not be disturbed and close your eyes.

B. Look up inside your visual field inside your mind with your chin held up.

C. Remember a time when you were really confident. See a picture of yourself, hear what you may be saying and notice how you felt.

D. Note what it was that made you really confident at that time: your body language, your breathing. How did you see yourself? What were you saying to yourself inside your mind? Be aware of how good you feel.

E. Remember and bookmark that good feeling again. Attach that good feeling to a word such as “confident”.

F. In future, when you want to feel confident, you can remember again to say that word “confident” inside your mind, look up see that past memory of being confident inside your mind as a good reference.

No experience is a mistake, simply a learning experience. If you had never known what it was like to feel unconfident, you would never be able to recognise and operate confidence.

Confidence is the learning that came after unconfident. Only by knowing the difference between being unconfident and confident can you orientate yourself to confidence. Remember, you have to do things differently in future from this point forward.

For more help in improving your self-confidence, see my Confidence Building Hypnosis downloadable program.

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