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Do you want more self-confidence? Here are 10 things you should know about.


Self-confidence has two aspects: external perception and personal feeling.


External perception refers to how others see your confidence in yourself. They may perceive you as confident or not confident based on your behaviour, body language and the way you communicate.


On the other hand, there is your personal feeling of self-confidence that only you can perceive. It is the deep, inner knowing that you are capable or incapable of facing challenges, achieving your goals and recognising your worth. It is this inner self-confidence that comes out even when you are facing a challenge without anyone watching.


If you want to gain more self-confidence, it is crucial to work on both fronts and to do so, you should be aware of the following 10 points.


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1. Self-confidence is not measurable.


I recently listened to someone, who was invited to dinner with a very wealthy family. And by wealthy, I mean rich, mega rich, millionaire rich. This guest was surprised to realise that this family, despite their wealth, were worried about whether they were sufficiently financially secure for the future.


Most of us know the feeling of uncertainty. What will the future hold for me? Have I put enough money aside? What if I can no longer pay my bills? What if I can no longer provide for my family or myself? How much money do I really need to be able to sleep peacefully?

It seems paradoxical that someone who is worth millions shows the same financial fears about the future as someone who has a lot less in material terms.


How much money does a person need to feel financially secure?


While money is always quantifiable, the feeling of security can never be measured. And it's the same with our self-confidence. How much self-confidence does a person need to feel secure? Just like the feeling of financial security, self-confidence is deeply subjective and relative.


For someone who wants to increase their self-confidence, this realisation can be liberating. Because it shows us that self-confidence does not depend on external circumstances, but on our inner strength and belief in ourselves. Regardless of what we own, what status we have, what goals we achieve or how successful we are, self-confidence can be stronger or weaker within us.


Just as this wealthy family must learn that financial security is more a question of attitude than bank balance, we must all realise that true self-confidence comes from within and cannot be measured.



2. Self-confidence can be faked.

Let's be honest, haven't we all pretended to be more confident than we actually were in different situations in life?


Self-confidence can also be a façade, a role we play to fulfil the expectations of the world around us. Actors and public figures in particular are experts at simulating confidence, even when they feel insecure.


This is neither bad nor wrong. In fact, it's an advantage that anyone who has this ability can capitalise on. The fact is that, especially in a professional environment, we have to make a certain impression on the outside world. Even when we don't feel like it.


For example, if my waitress in a restaurant has personal relationship problems, then she has my sympathy. But as a guest, I'm grateful if I don't notice.


When I board the next plane, I don't want to see a nervous pilot or a completely insecure pilot in the cockpit. I want to have the unshakeable feeling that I am in safe hands. And the only way for me as a passenger to verify this, is through the external impact of this person.

Everything is an effect. We cannot not have an effect.


And as we are constantly «on air» anyway - always and everywhere - it can be very helpful if we can adapt and deliver what the situation demands of our role. That's why I go one step further and say:


Self-confidence can be authentic even when it is faked.


Why should this statement be true?


The decisive factor is the result that needs to be achieved. Let's take the example of the restaurant I mentioned earlier. As a guest, I don't just want to eat, I want an experience. To achieve this goal, everyone involved must fulfil their specific role. A waitress who, despite personal problems, aims to offer the guest this experience fulfils the requirements of her role. By not only fulfilling the expectations of their role, but also fully identifying with it, they demonstrate authentic role awareness. She demonstrates self-confidence in her ability to achieve the desired effect, despite personal difficulties.


This commitment to the role - especially under difficult circumstances - reveals a deeper layer of authenticity that is unfortunately talked about far too little. It shows that the person is able to rise above their personal challenges and put themselves at the service of a common cause. This requires integrity. This deliberate action, which in this example is aimed at creating a positive experience for others, is a strong sign of self-confidence.


Therefore, seemingly «faking» self-confidence, when used consistently and with full dedication to fulfil a positive role, can lead to a genuine sense of self-assurance. It becomes authentic because it is based on a conscious decision to go beyond one's limits and to work for the good of the goal to be fulfilled.


 

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3. An upright posture increases self-confidence.


Have you ever seen the New Zealand All Blacks perform their ritual Maori Haka before a rugby match?


If so, then I don't need to explain this point in depth here.


If you don't know what I'm talking about at this point, you should google it. Because even if you only watch something like this on screen, this ritual dance will give you goosebumps.

The powerful movements, loud shouts and intense facial expressions that characterise the haka are an expression of strength, determination and unity. This ritualistic performance not only generates tremendous respect from opponents, but also helps players mentally prepare for the game ahead by boosting their confidence and fostering a deep sense of belonging and common purpose.


Performing the haka is a great example of how an upright and powerful posture can directly impact our confidence. By adopting a powerful pose that maximises our physical presence, we send signals to both our own brain and those around us. This posture can actually affect our hormone levels, increasing testosterone levels (the hormone associated with dominance and confidence) while decreasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone). This leads to an immediate feeling of strength and readiness to face challenges.


Applied to your everyday life, this means that consciously adjusting your posture - be it by pulling your shoulders back, raising your head or adopting a stable standing position - can have a direct impact on your self-confidence. This is not only useful in situations where you want to feel powerful and confident, such as job interviews or important presentations, but also in your everyday life. This is because the practice of adopting a powerful attitude can help you to overcome your fears, improve your mood and increase your overall aura of self-confidence.


The power to boost your confidence literally lies within you - in your posture, your presence and the way you present yourself to the world. Especially when you don't feel like it.



4. Self-confidence is partly genetic.


Although the interaction between genetics and the environment is very complex and genetic basis of self-confidence still needs to be extensively researched, existing scientific findings suggest that our genetic predisposition can actually have an influence on how self-confident we feel.


But please don't panic now.


This doesn't mean that your genes determine your entire fate.


It just means that some of us are luckier than others in the genetic lottery. Whereby «luck» is also relative here.


Because the journey to more self-confidence for those of us who don't feel naturally blessed with it can actually be more enriching. It is characterised by personal growth, overcoming obstacles and developing resilience. Every time we overcome a challenge, every time we leave our comfort zone and succeed, we build our self-confidence bit by bit. These experiences not only teach us to believe in ourselves, but also to develop more understanding and compassion for the struggles of others. Consciously building self-confidence allows us to cultivate more empathetic relationships with others. This is because by recognising our own struggles, we can more easily understand and support the challenges of others.


Furthermore, facing our fears and insecurities offers us the unique opportunity to develop a self-confidence that is not based on superficialities, but on a deep knowledge of our own strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge of our own vulnerability and the ability to move forward in spite of it gives our self-confidence a quality that is not always visible from the outside, but is all the more effective on the inside.



5. Culture influences the perception of self-confidence.


In stories and tales of our western culture, individual heroes often play the central role. We like to identify with these heroes and heroines because they fight against terrible forces, defeat hostile opponents and always overcome all obstacles with fearlessness and self-confidence. These heroes and heroines are often independent individualists who successfully achieve their goals.


Such cultural, Western storytelling shapes and conveys the idea that a courageous, self-confident person can actually change everything and sometimes even save the world for us.

However, if you look at Asian stories and narratives, especially Chinese ones, things are very different there. The heroes and heroines in Chinese fairy tales and legends earn their status not through their individuality, but through their service to the community. Unlike in the West, the person who sacrifices themselves for others is crowned a hero. In other words, the person who takes care of the family, the community and the country.


What we understand by a hero depends very much on the stories and narratives that our culture conveys to us. And this image of a hero in turn has an enormous influence on the meaning we give to topics such as courage, fear, overcoming oneself or self-confidence.

Asians often appear rather modest and very reserved in their outward appearance and behaviour, whereas in Western countries, the focus is on personal success and individualism through an outward display of self-confidence.


However, by recognising that self-confidence is not really universally the same, but is shaped by the cultural context, we not only open ourselves up to learning about other cultures, but we can access multi-layered levels of self-confidence.


By recognising cultural differences, we can develop a more balanced understanding of self-confidence that takes into account both individual strengths and collective harmony. But ...



6. There is a difference between self-confidence and arrogance.


Just as different cultures have different perceptions of confidence, there are also differences in what is perceived as arrogance.


Many self-confident Asians could easily be underestimated if they present themselves differently in appearance and behaviour than is usual in the Western world for someone with strong self-confidence.


Conversely, someone from Asia might perceive a person from the West who is merely confident by our cultural standards as quite arrogant.


Loudness is not a sure indicator of self-confidence or arrogance, just as silence and reserve do not automatically indicate a self-confident and considerate person.


This shows that there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, and that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other.


After all, cultural diversity is not limited to geographical differences. Even within a common culture, there are numerous other differentiations, for example between men and women.

The majority of women tend to be socialised differently to men. And men, in turn, are socialised differently from women. This fact leads to enormous differences in communication and the resulting consequences in perception.


Some women very quickly perceive a man's certain demeanour as arrogant, while the same demeanour is seen as completely normal among men: self-confident and assertive.


Conversely, some men perceive the demeanour of a considerate woman as rather insecure and indecisive, while the same behaviour among women is also seen as completely normal: empathetic, accommodating and understanding.


We all know what is meant when we say that someone is arrogant. And yet we understand different things because we also perceive different nuances of it.


Yes, there is a difference between arrogance and self-confidence. But this difference is not always as clear and as black and white as many people often think. And although there are certainly certain situations in which arrogance is equally obvious to everyone, arrogance is mostly like beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder.



7. Self-confidence does not always correlate with competence.

Have you ever recommended your dentist to others?


I have already done that.


However, here is the question: Based on what factors does such a recommendation come about? Because as a patient who has no training or knowledge of dentistry, my recommendation can't really be based on professional expertise.


So what is it based on?


What I use as a criterion in such a case has nothing to do with the actual expertise that a particular task requires, but rather with the «perceived expertise» of secondary factors.

In other words, I tend to assess factors such as the appearance and demeanour of my dentist. Does she seem confident and competent? Or does she seem rather insecure and unfriendly? How am I received? What about the waiting times? What does the ambience convey to me? How is the energy in the practice? How hygienic and modern is the equipment? How will I be guided through the treatment process? And yes, of course: how painful is the whole procedure? And so on and so forth.


In other words, I can't judge whether my dentist is actually competent in her work because I don't have the necessary qualifications. But I can certainly judge how I felt during my visit to the dentist.


This perceived competence is crucial because it often influences important decisions in our everyday lives. We are not always right in our perception. In the case of my dentist, this has been proven and confirmed over the years. But in many other cases, I have been very wrong. Because someone may have appeared self-confident and competent to the outside world, but later turned out to be an incompetent loser.


At this point, this may sound like a contradiction to point 2, where I said that feigned competence can also be authentic.


No, it's not a contradiction.


Because authenticity - in this context - is not yet a sign of quality.


Authenticity only means that it is genuine, that it comes from the source. In other words, that it comes from a certain conviction. And what does that mean?


It doesn't mean anything.


For there is also such a thing as the overconfidence of the incompetent. These people can sometimes appear very self-confident and explain convincingly why one plus one equals three. These people often kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, they completely overestimate themselves and their abilities and, at the same time, they completely underestimate the achievements of others.


The tragedy of it all is that these people don't even realise how crazy they are. And it's precisely this fact that doesn't make this kind of dotty behaviour any less authentic, but simply tragic.



8. Confidence can be contagious.


Let's think back to the All Blacks and their haka mentioned earlier. If you watch this haka, you can't just sit back and relax. Something happens to you. The power and energy that this body language radiates is hugely infectious and gives you the feeling of being invincible, so much so that it literally pulls you out of your chair.


But confidence doesn't always have to be loud and flashy. It can manifest itself in many ways and can be contagious in different ways.


I once worked for a man who was the epitome of cool. And by cool, I mean something like deeply relaxed, self-assured and confident, especially in situations when the shit really hit the fan. In performance, exactly the opposite of the All Backs: less furious, less theatrical, less loud.


While I was hyperventilating in some situations, gasping for air and trying to articulate myself in the hustle and bustle, my boss remained stoically calm. He would only ask questions - slowly, deliberately and solution-orientated. One question after another. No answers. No orders. No this and that. Just very focussed questions.


I often noticed that his questions had a very calming effect on me. And with this calmness, more and more clarity emerged in me. No matter what fire drill it was, with his questions, his self-confident but calm behaviour, he always brought my pulse back down. This not only had a relaxing effect on me, but was also very inspiring. It made me wish every time that one day I could be as cool as he was.


Looking back, I realise that although I haven't achieved the same level of coolness as he embodied, I have become much more relaxed. I owe this change primarily to the infectious effect his self-confidence had on me. It motivated me to focus more on the aspects of my life that have helped me to find this calmness and composure in myself today.


So we should all remember that our behaviour is contagious. Even weak and bad behaviour can poison a climate. And especially in an environment where there is a constant bad mood, we are called upon to be a counterbalance. This is all the more true if we are in a leadership role.



9. Temporary self-doubt is normal.


Batman has self-doubt. Superman has self-doubt. Wonderwoman has self-doubt. Oscar winners have self-doubt. Nobel Prize winners have self-doubt. Supermodels have self-doubt. Multi-billionaires have self-doubt. Kings and queens have self-doubt. Your mum and dad have self-doubt. Your grandparents and great-grandparents had self-doubt. So why do you think you shouldn't have self-doubt?


The key word, however, is «temporary».


If you are only plagued by self-doubt, then we are probably dealing with a different problem that we cannot go into here.


But «temporary» self-doubt is healthy.


It is healthy to scrutinise yourself from time to time. It is healthy to check whether the course we are on is still right for us. It is healthy to question some relationships. It is healthy to question your own beliefs. It is healthy to have doubts in the midst of great success and to realise that this too shall pass. It's healthy to simply show a little humility and accept that we can never know what the best path is for us.


Self-doubt is like a short pit stop on the racetrack of life. You're on the road and you turn off somewhere to check yourself. Are there things I need to change? Things that I might need to replace, add to or adapt?


A temporary pit stop can be very refreshing, even if it sometimes feels a little depressing. Some people may feel like they are being lapped by life. But it's just a feeling. It's much more important to keep the engine running. It is important to consciously allow yourself to make this pit stop and accept it for what it is – a short-term, temporary interruption. This requires courage and self-confidence on our part to allow ourselves such an interruption.


Many a protagonist on the racetrack of life has lapped the competition and crossed the finish line victorious only because they allowed themselves a pit stop at the right time.

We can assume that our self-doubt always comes at the most inopportune time. Just as inappropriate as it is for a racing driver who sees a warning flashing on his display, telling him to ease off the accelerator and take the next exit for a pit stop.


This feeling is rarely nice at first, because you are afraid of losing momentum. After all, everything seems to be going so well. But if you ignore the flashing warning lights on your display, you could risk your strategy not working out in the end.


So it's better to take the flashing lights of self-doubt seriously, drive out briefly, adjust what needs to be adjusted and then drive on.



10. Self-confidence increases life satisfaction.


Well, what else can I say?


If you can read this, then you are probably old enough to have already realised that life is simply more beautiful, more powerful, more colourful and more inspiring if you can go through it with a certain amount of self-confidence.


Self-confidence allows us to make bolder decisions. Decisions that in turn offer us new opportunities that might not have been possible before without this self-confidence. This is perhaps why we often have the feeling that we need more and more of this self-confidence. Because we then also imagine that we will experience boundless freedom, power and happiness as a result.


As with money, when is enough really enough? Which brings us back to the first point. Namely, that self-confidence is never measurable for us.


So, how much self-confidence does a person need to go through life happily? How much is enough to tackle the challenges of everyday life with confidence? How much do you need to realise your dreams and goals, or at least give it a try?


Yes, «try»!


I think that's the key word.


I don't know how much self-confidence a person actually needs to go through life happily. But I think it's ok to have enough self-confidence to at least give it a try. Whatever this attempt consists of.


I just have to find enough reasons within myself why I can try and achieve this or that in my life. Why I am part of the solution and not part of the problem. Why I can create today a better life for myself and others than yesterday.


But I also believe that too much self-confidence can not only cloud a person's mind, but can also lead to serious, inhumane actions. A person whose self-confidence knows no bounds is someone who is not afraid of anything. But a person who has no fear and will stop at nothing is a person who risks disregarding the value of life itself. And you should be wary of such people.


That's why I say that self-confidence, no matter how much or how little you think you have of it, is always unhealthy without a certain amount of humility. And where self-confidence and humility go hand in hand, exactly the right amount of self-confidence is created that every person needs to walk their path with determination, satisfaction and confidence.



 

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