It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that I’m it’s biggest advocate, simply because it’s the answer to a whole heap of questions, such as “How do I get past this fear?”, “What if it all goes wrong?” and “How do I know I’m ready?”. Often though, you only really notice the difference confidence makes when you experience it, even in a fleeting moment.
So, here are 23 surprising ways that confidence changes your life.
1. You smile more
I smile a lot. I reckon I’d have a serious shot at a medal if smiling was an event at the Olympics. Fact is, it’s so much easier to smile genuinely when you feel free to be yourself and are confident enough to know that you’re enough. A smile that comes from a place of ease and confidence goes a really long way.
2. You get to ask for what you need
Asking for what you need can be scarier than a extinction-level asteroid made of spiders, because it means someone might say no and it means that rejection’s in the air. But with confidence, rejection loses its power to diminish you or make you less than. It’s just a thing that happened. So the pressure’s off; it’s okay to ask for what you need.
3. You get a fresh perspective
Real confidence is knowing that you’re enough in this very moment, a sense that tends to shake loose some of the crap we sometimes keep close. It’s not all about you, it’s not all about what’s happening to you, it’s about what you get to do now.
4. Decision’s ain’t so scary
If you’ve ever pondered over a decision, doubted which way to go or gone round in circles second-guessing your options, a little confidence might just help. Confidence means being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour, regardless of what might happen. You get to make a good choice without the pressure of it being the “right” one, and you know you can always make another one.
5. You become more trustworthy
The more naturally confident you are, the fewer walls and pretences you need to hide behind. We human beings are hardwired to sense whether someone’s genuine or not, so the more natural and confident you are, the more inclined others will be to trust you.
6. Your expertise is really seen
Holding back your skills and expertise is commonplace in people who don’t value or trust those skills and expertise. It’s through the application of expertise without the need for validation that you build an amazing reputation, so confidence cracks open your expertise like nothing else can.
7. You procrastinate less
Procrastinating is comfortable and familiar like wearing your favourite underwear. The difference is, slipping into your favourite knickers or boxers make you feel good, whereas slipping into procrastination makes you feel less than. You procrastinate because you crave the comfort of the familiar and because taking action means breaking the status quo and straying out of your comfort-zone. Confidence cuts through those urges of self-protection and allows you to get stuck in.
8. You become more attractive
As a single guy, meeting someone who’s comfortable in their own skin, is generous with who they are and knows what matters to them is pretty damn hot. Arrogance and hubris remain as unnattractive as drunken dock-worker with syphilis, but confidence brings with it a sense of wholeness and a willingness to be seen, and that’s always attractive; compelling even.
9. You’re more joyful
It might sound overly simplistic to tell you that the fewer thoughts of “I can’t“, “I’m not good enough” and “I don’t deserve it” there are in your head, the better, but it’s hard to argue with. You stop beating yourself up for the notion that you might not be enough, and you get to spend more time accepting who you are, noticing the simple and wonderful things around you and doing stuff that matters. Not too shabby, right?
10. You get healthier
You might not think that your physical health has anything to do with confidence, but if you’re feeling crappy about yourself or are fighting who you are the last thing on your mind will be taking good care of yourself. You’re less inclined to get out there and exercise and more inclined towards behaviour that makes you feel comfortable—patterns that become damaging habits without a healthy dose of confidence and self-acceptance.
11. Problems become less…problematic
When the shit hits the fan, it’s hard to see (or smell) much else. In the middle of the drama you can get drenched by the details and nuance to the point where you obsess and pontificate over every little thing. But you are not the circumstances you find yourself in, and bringing natural confidence to a problem allows you to deal with things as best you can and bring the best of who you are to the fore rather than the worst.
12. Creative outlets appear
We’re all creative. It’s just that sometimes we’re too scared to allow ourselves to be creative. Creativity requires self-expression, and it’s the fear of being judged or not being up to the task that keeps you away from expressing yourself creatively. With more confidence, you’ll find that all kinds of creative outlets appear. Cooking, writing, knitting or whatever else—it’s about showing up and expressing yourself.
13. You’re more likely to get promoted
Managers want to trust that people in their organisation will get a great job done and do the right thing, so if you’re a trembling wreck who says “Erm, I don’t think I’m up to it” (either verbally or non-verbally) then it’s unlikely that you’ll be around for long. It’s people who are confident in their ability to do their best who get the sweet promotions and opportunities.
14. You have a heap more fun
Worrying is a real party-pooper. It’s hard to let go, throw yourself into the moment and have a heap of fun if you’re worried about what’s going to happen or what people might think. Confidence is a natural pressure valve, easing the weight of worry so you’re free to enjoy where you’re at.
15. You leave the toxic sludge behind
Whether it’s a workplace, a relationship, a family member or a location, we all find ourselves in toxic situations that threaten to choke us. It’s easy to think you have to put up with it or that you can’t rock the boat, but you’d be wrong. Being confident enough to let go of a toxic situation and forge your own path is one of the most important decisions you can ever make.
16. You stop chasing perfection
Perfectionism is an infection. It’s the voice of the oppressor, urging you to never screw up and to please everyone else. Chasing it will rob you of every chance to have the sweet, dumb, beautiful life you want, and confidence is the way to rise up and liberate yourself from the pressure of perfectionism.
17. You stop fighting your body
My beard now takes longer to dry than the hair on my head. The skin on my hands is starting to look like an old suitcase. I’m getting older, but fighting the aging process ain’t gonna make me younger any more than not believing in gravity will make me fly. Aging happens and your body shape is just your body shape. Those things are not who you are, and confidence allows you to let go of the urge to define yourself on the narrowest terms.
18. You look up, not down
Ruts and grooves can be hard to clamber out of, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time wearing them in. They’re easy, safe and comfortable, and they’re entirely predictable. You’ll never find life’s riches at the bottom of a rut, so having the confidence to say “I’m more than this” is exactly how you get to engage with the wonderful things that truly matter to you in life.
19. You win more business
The classic used-car salesman is full of bluster, bluff and bull and is only interested in getting you to part with your cash. Nobody likes or trusts that guy, and his competition down the street who’s open, genuine and wants to offer you real value is going to be the guy who wins all the business. People can spot a fake a mile away, and with natural confidence you don’t need to pretend to be someone else to sell or market your product or service. Radiating trust and value is what wins business.
20. Nerves don’t stop you
Nerves are powerful little blighters. Stomach-churning, heart-thumping, hands-shaking, thought-spiralling, pants-wetting. Yes, nerves are powerful, but your response to them has even more power. See them as a sign that you’re not up to a challenge and you never will be. See them as a sign that you’re onto something special and get to be at your best and they lose their power to hold you back.
21. You spend less time fitting in
Ever made a decision because you thought it was what was expected of you? Me too. Doing what’s expected (your own expectations, other peoples, and even your expectations of what other people expect) is nothing more than fitting in, but with confidence you don’t need the validation and sense of approval that comes from doing what’s expected of you. You get be a whole lot more you, and less what others want you to be.
22. Being introverted is no longer a problem
I’ve worked with people who worry that being an introvert means they fundamentally lack confidence and won’t have as good a life as an extrovert. I tell them that kind of talk is bullshit (I’m paraphrasing here) and that introversion and confidence are not mutually exclusive. Confidence is being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour, regardless of circumstances or outcomes. It’s how you engage with the world as you truly are, no matter whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, Pisces or a size 12.
23. You stop thinking you’re broken
You know when life is shitty and you wonder what it is about you that’s lacking? That feeling that you’re missing something that other people have is as misplaced as it is compelling, but it can’t survive being truly seen for what it is – a fleeting thought that has nothing to do with everything you are. Confidence is knowing that you’re whole, no matter what happens and no matter where you are.