Self Confidence Hacks

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others, Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.

- Lao Tzu

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Just to gain a bit of clarity before we dive in, let’s agree first on the definition of self confidence. If you search it in, here is the result you’ll get: “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement”. This definition sounds a little bit intuitive but what is more interesting is the self confidence attributes that derive from it. This might not be an exhaustive list, but here is how I will break those attributes down:

  • Standing on your own: Self confidence implies trusting your own abilities and judgment without any other validation except your own.

  • It can’t be given: There is no self confidence pill (correct me if I am wrong haha), no one else can give it to you or deem you self confident, you have to build it for yourself

  • It’s independent of how the world perceives you: Some of the most beautiful people feel ugly and some of the most skilled people feel uncapable. So how the world views you doesn’t mean much when it comes to improving your self confidence, all what matters is how you view yourself.

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Before we get to the juicy stuff about how to build self confidence, let’s talk about how you loose it to begin with. In my understanding, self confidence is our natural state. When you look at babies when they are born, they are bold and outgoing, they don’t ask for permission to cry, laugh and express themselves, until they learn to value more the opinion of a parent or a grown up. This means that our self confidence gets lost along the way. So how or when do we loose it? Here are some probable causes that I identified:

  • Buying into the idea that you are not enough. Did any of your classmates make fun of you when you raised your hand in class growing up? Did it make you feel bad about yourself? Did someone that you looked up to, ever tell you that you are stupid or judged one of your ideas stupid and you subconsciously agreed to it? Those are some reasons why you might not feel self confident.

  • Dealing poorly with past failures. Have you ever attempted a goal that was really dear to your heart and did not succeed? How did you deal with that failure? Did you interpret it as being uncapable?

  • Letting yourself down over and over. What is your relationship with your word? Do you always do what you said you would? Or do you at least do it more ofthen than not? When you say you will do something and you hardly follow through, it has a killer impact on your belief in your capabilities. You silently loose confidence in your ability to achieve and others do too.

  • Negative self talk. This last one is most likely at the core of all your self confidence issues. To sum it up, all your self confidence issues arise when you internalize the mindset of "I can't" and “I am not enough”. I can't do it, I can't speak in public, I can't stand the eyes of the crowd on me, I can't solve this problem, I can't be this awesome person. Whether it's under the form of "I can't" or any other negative self talk pattern, this is how you deeply plant the seed of not being confident within yourself.

Now that we've gained some sort of clarity on self confidence and how you loose it, I think it's safe to assume that you understand by now that rebuilding your self confidence will be an inside job. So let's look at some actionable strategies that you can start to practice to rebuild it for yourself.


Okay now it's time to get to the juicy stuff.  Those are some practices that I still use today and that served me a great deal. By all means if you have other ideas that helped you raise your level of self confidence, please share them in the comment section :). So here we go:

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  1. Practice a healthier self talk . I truly believe that fixing your self talk is at the core of all the issues that are related to self confidence, self worth and self esteem. So how do you do it practically to resolve this issue? In my opinion the best time to address the issue is the next time you face a situation where you usually step down. Let's say you are in a work meeting, you have a great idea and you choose to keep it for yourself because you fear being judged or ridiculed. That is the best opportunity to teach your mind differently. And it literally starts with what I call the "silent rebellion". You have to disrupt the pattern right there. In that moment ask yourself "WHY NOT YOU?", Why can't you come with the good idea? Why can the others but not you? You have to ignite that silent rebellion and reinforce it with more positive. Of course you can. You've just denied to yourself the possibility to shine to your true potential. Tell yourself in that moment that you are capable and worthy. The most important thing is FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IMMEDIATE ACTION. Share your idea at the meeting. Do it afraid, do it anyway. Act the same in all the other situations where you tend to step down. You can continue this self talk work by doing self empowering affirmations of your own making but keep in mind that your affirmations will only be effective when you are truly emanating the feeling of being confident while you say them. However, in my opinion, nothing is more powerful than making a different choice in a situation where we used to run.

  2. Rebuild your trust with your word. Not doing what you said you would do is a great confidence killer. Just like that habit got installed progressively, getting out of it will be just the same. You will have to take commitments and follow through. At the beginning, only small commitments are allowed. Let's say you want to get healthier and we all know it entails many variables like a great nutrition, training and recovery habits. Instead of trying to chug it all at once, why don't you start with something as simple as increasing your water intake and sustaining it? As you are able to keep such a small commitment, the feeling of gratification that it brings will help you tackle bigger commitments. As you do it, momentum will carry you through the bigger ones. So to sum it up, commit small when you begin, commit only when you mean it and not to please anyone else, follow through and build from there.

  3. Deal better with your failures, setbacks and challenges; practice self compassion. Let's be real for a moment. Do you know any human who never goes through tough times? Do you know anyone who succeeds at absolutely everything they attempt? You don't, do you? That's what I thought. So it's important to understand that setbacks are a whole and important part of life as a human. As you start feeling more confident, you will try more things, you will succeed at some (I hope many) and you will fail at some too. Now how do you handle those setbacks? Does it mean to you that you are not good enough or not deserving enough? Dealing with those situations is a game changer in your self confidence. You have to become very efficient at being compassionate with yourself. You have to make it through to your brain and heart that failing in that situation (whatever it might mean) doesn't diminish at all your worthiness. You have to switch your mind instantly from feeling bad, to looking for the lesson and the gift. As you deal better with those setbacks, it will enable you to start again over and over. Sooner thant you think, those failures won’t look as scary and you might even get to a point where you are looking forward to them.

If you’ve read so far, I am grateful for you. It’s my wish that the ideas that I shared here will make a significant positive difference on your own sense of self confidence. Please share in the comments your insights and practices that you use to raise your confidence levels.

- Xavier.