Confidence is a big issue for many people.
Lack of confidence creates insecurity, anxiety, and challenges that feel difficult to overcome. Thankfully, confidence is a skill you can learn, but it takes continuous practice to develop a high confidence level. So how do you grow your confidence? In this article, Jay Shetty goes beyond the stereotypical, superficial, average run-of-the-mill advice on confidence and takes it a step deeper to introduce you to seven habits confident people possess and how they do things differently.
Have you ever been offered an opportunity you knew would push you out of your comfort zone? Your initial reaction might be to say no. The lack of confidence kicks in, and you doubt your ability to succeed, so you pass on the opportunity. Confident people say yes, then figure out how they will accomplish the task. “When you say yes then choose to figure it out, you've placed positive pressure on yourself to have to figure it out,” Jay Shetty shares. “Now, if you were asked to do something and you didn't know how to do it, and you said no, you lose the opportunity.”
Saying no means, you lose the opportunity to learn something new as well. Your growth potential is stunted, and it becomes the end of that story. “When you say yes, you now have created that positive pressure,” Jay Shetty explains. “You can make a plan, get focused, and get activated. So not only have you gained an opportunity, you've gained the opportunity to develop skills.”
Confident people take a challenge and think “Let me learn it.” They accept what they don't know and have the hunger and enthusiasm to learn.
Saying yes can lead to amazing adventures, new skills, and an appreciation of your abilities. “You only value your own abilities and qualities when you grow and create new ones, increasing your confidence in the process,” Jay Shetty explains.
Saying no is just as important as saying yes when building confidence. When something goes against your values, saying yes will create feelings of insecurity or lack of integrity, decreasing your confidence. “Learning to say no when something is against your values is a really important habit,” explains Jay Shetty.
To say no to things that go against your values, you need to be aware of your values. So how do you narrow down what is important to you?
“Your value is what you do when you're not working,” Jay Shetty explains. “What do you prioritize? What makes the top spot to fill the emptiness in your schedule? What do you wish you were doing with your time and energy? That's what you value.”
There are opportunities you need to say yes to in order to reach your dreams, and there are opportunities you need to say no to in order to achieve your dreams. When there is a chance to learn and grow, yes is the answer. If it is against your values, no will take you farther than a yes. “Confidence isn't about how much you have or what you've achieved,” Jay Shetty says. “Confidence is about saying, ‘I did what I really care about. I do what I believed in. I commit to staying loyal to who I am. That is why I am confident.’”
Work in Alignment With Your Dream
Are your dreams rooted deep inside you, or are they the dreams of others? Are you chasing something because it is what your friends, family, or spouse want?
“Chasing a dream that society gives you will leave you with anxiety because you will never be successful enough, Jay Shetty explains. “You will never feel smart enough,” You never feel like you're right enough. And if you are known for something you don't want to be known for, you will always feel unknown.”
Confidence is created when you align your passions and pursuits with your dreams, not the dreams of others.
Focus on Improvement, Not Perfection
We think of confident people having it all figured out. They know what they are doing, and they are crushing it. But confident people are focused on improvement, not perfection. Kobe Bryant was in the gym before games two hours before anyone else, focused on practicing and improving his game.
“When you chase perfection, you can feel you've reached it, and that can create complacency,” Jay Shetty shares. “Or you feel you never reach it, and that creates overwhelm. Whereas when you focus on improvement, that's something you can always measure. Too many people focus on perfection.”
Perfection creates pressure. You criticize yourself when things aren’t perfect. You either become complacent or overly critical, creating unneeded stress. On the other hand, when you focus on improvement, you create excitement, enthusiasm, and new experiences. “You get the feeling of what it feels like to evolve, and you focus on how you can improve everything,” Jay Shetty explains. Look at the area where you lack confidence and strategize how you can improve. As seen in the example of British cycling coach David Brailsford, if you can be even 1% better every time you do something, the results will be tremendous because you will keep trying to make those improvements.1
Have you ever found yourself in an uncomfortable or unintelligent conversation?
“When I say unintelligent, I don't mean intellectually,” says Jay Shetty. “I mean emotionally or spiritually. If I'm around a conversation that is based on gossip, criticism, negativity or is toxic, I talk less.”
Don't try to correct people, preach to people, or be the bigger person in the situation. Just remain silent. Jay Shetty has a favorite quote commonly attributed to Abraham Lincoln that says, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
“I'm not saying we have to be silent if someone's talking about your friend or someone you care about,” Jay Shetty explains. But if you find yourself in a conversation that is negative or there is gossip and complaining, your silence will save you the hassle of being sucked into a situation you don't want to be in. You don't want to bond over negativity. Unless it is something, you can directly relate to, stay quiet.
If you sit around and criticize people with other people, that means those people criticize you when you are not around. It is best to just talk less in these situations to save yourself a lot of stress and hassle.
Ask Powerful Questions
The opposite of keeping your mouth shut is asking powerful questions when you are around intelligent conversations. Asking questions is a great way to interject yourself into the conversation. The goal is not to ask questions because you want to sound more intelligent or make others think you have cool ideas. Ask questions you can learn and grow from. Prepare yourself beforehand with what kinds of questions you want to ask. They should be based on the kind of conversation you will have, but they don’t need to be based on your knowledge of what is being spoken about.
“If you're at a conference, meeting, or in a group of people, you can ask a question,” Jay Shetty shares. “Not only will you become smarter, but you will also be perceived as smarter because you're taking an interest and being curious. Smarts are shown through intellect and knowledge, but smarts are also shown through curiosity and intrigue. We need to broaden our understanding of what it truly means to be a smart individual.”
One of Shetty’s favorite questions when getting to know someone is, “Do you work harder to earn praise and recognition or avoid criticism?” Another question he finds fascinating is “What do you worship or value?” Will Smith once mentioned to Shetty that his son asked him that question, and for Shetty, it stuck and has become a question he enjoys asking others. Next time you are in an intelligent conversation, ask powerful questions from which you can learn and grow.
Work on Vulnerability
Scholar Henry Thomas Buckle once said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
What do you discuss? “If you want to be confident, discuss ideas, routines, practices, and habits,” Jay Shetty shares. “If you want to be confident, discuss your vulnerabilities.” Discussing your flaws and challenges in a healthy, productive, effective way creates confidence. Don't waste your time talking about events and other people. Talk about the ideas that are going to grow your confidence.
Start with saying yes to that next opportunity, even if you aren't sure how it will work out. Say no when an opportunity goes against your values. Align your purpose with your dreams, no one else's, and focus on improving your life, not perfecting it. Know when to talk less and ask more. Work on your vulnerability and keep your discussion to things that will enhance your life. These seven small tips can make a significant impact on your confidence.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on Jay Shetty ON “7 Things Confident People Do Differently” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
1“How 1% Performance Improvements Led to Olympic Gold.” Harvard Business Review, October 30, 2015. https://hbr.org/2015/10/how-1-performance-improvements-led-to-olympic-gold.
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