Confidence has a hypnotic effect on people.
The first time I recognized it was at a my first Beyonce concert a few years back. I was mesmerized by her performance. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her as she sang and danced. I eventually dubbed her “the most confident woman in the world.”
It was like she bathed in a tub full of confidence on a daily basis. I knew if I had just a piece of what she exuded while on that stage, I would be unstoppable.
There’s data to back that up. Studies show that confidence is closely correlated with success, and even more so than competence.
That’s why it feels like some of the people we most associate with being successful appear to have an abundance of the coveted trait.
But the reality is, confidence is something we all can develop and increase. Even better, science has shown us specifically how to do it.
Take imperfect action. Fail. Use what you learn to take action again. Repeat until you consistently get results you can feel proud and confident about.
Let’s take a closer look at how to start implementing these methods:
1. Surround yourself with confident people.
In her best-selling book Grit, Angela Duckworth explained that one of the ways to develop grit, or any other trait you aspire to have, is to spend time with a group of people who are doing what you want to do or possess the skill you desire to develop.
“The drive to fit in—to conform to the group—is powerful indeed. Some of the most important psychology experiments in history have demonstrated how quickly, and usually without conscious awareness, the individual falls in line with a group that is acting or thinking a different way.”
Thus, if you struggle to be confident, start hanging around confident people. Not only will you start embodying the mindset that helps them be successful, but you’ll start to latch on to the activities that enabled them to get there, too.
2. Take consistent action.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time studying successful entrepreneurs, performers and leaders from many different walks of life. And one of the key markers that fueled their attainment of mastery, that gave them the confidence to perform at such a high level, was taking action. Consistently.
They showed up, day in, day out, over and over again, to do the work that would help them improve their skills.
Performers who sell out stadiums around the world (like Beyonce), pro-athletes who dominate their sport, entrepreneurs who appear to have the magic touch—all of them invested significant time in the trenches taking the actions necessary that enabled them to get so good that they could not be ignored.
Confidence comes from knowing you are capable of completing a task to your level of satisfaction. You can’t think your way to that kind of confidence. Deliberate action (not merely busyness) produces the know-how you need.
When excellence becomes your habit, confidence will be a natural byproduct. And the only way to develop a habit is to do the work over and over again.
3. Fail your way to mastery.
You don’t get to mastery without a string of failures that point you in the right direction to deliver predictable high-quality results.
Of course, nobody wants to fail. But if you want to succeed, that is exactly what you have to get more comfortable doing.
Failure leaves clues as to how to succeed. And success breeds confidence.
The more often you fail, the more knowledge you obtain about what works and what doesn’t. The more insight you have about how to produce a hit, the easier it becomes for you to be confident that the path you are moving along will bring you the results you desire. The more progress you make, the less likely you have your confidence destroyed when something doesn’t go your way.