This article breaks down how confidence is lost and how you can get it back. Channel your time and energy into building new, valuable skills that will make you look more confident on paper in the process.

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Some of the things this article discusses are self-awareness, improving your reputation, being nice to people, maintaining a positive attitude and not thinking too much about what others may think of you. It’s worth reading if you want to improve how confident you feel in life.

How confidence is lost?

A great many things can make you feel less confident. Here are a few of the key ones:

1. Taking on tasks that other people have concerns about

Fear of criticism, fear of public speaking, confrontation, being in a bad mood etc. This will only make you look like a fool. Don’t take on such projects. Do things that others want to do so they admire you and value your work (and don’t worry about doing those things badly!).

2. There is no such thing as bad feedback

Even if it is negative. What matters more than anything else is the intention of the person giving it. If the person has good intentions with what they are saying (for example, if they are offering you a valuable learning opportunity), and you can approach the situation and prove them wrong it will have a positive effect on your self-esteem.

3. Bad feedback can be almost entirely avoided by just being nice.

Nice people get more respect and good feedback. It’s amazing how many people put down nice guys when they really should be raising them up (and getting them work!). Although don’t just be nice for the sake of being nice, it is important to be nice because that’s the kind person you are.

It’s also important to praise people when they deserve it. For example, if you help someone out and they feel good about it then let them know (without being obvious). If you feel good about an achievement then share that with others.

4. Defending your actions.

If you are criticized, don’t defend yourself, agree with them and then do it better next time. (Yes, this means you should almost never apologize.) The act of defending yourself implies that you did something wrong already and this will make it harder for people to give you good feedback in the future because they won’t want to criticize you again.

If you are overly proud then this will also make it harder for others to give you constructive criticism because they will worry about you being offended. So it is better to say you are not sure, and then come back with some constructive feedback on what could have improved.

5. Having a constant desire for self-improvement.

It is difficult to put into action if your friends and peers are not interested in self-improvement themselves. Give your friends and peers a reason to want to improve themselves and you will have more confidence in your work.

Be around people who make you feel confident every day and who make you think that your work is good.

6. Not being willing to ask for help.

We all procrastinate when we feel unsure or frightened about asking for help or time, but if you can take control of that behaviour, and deal with it instead, then you will be in control of your future.

Ask for help when it is required because it is a sign of intelligence and self-awareness. People will respect you for not trying to do everything on your own.

7. Confusion.

Confusion is the worst thing you can feel in life. Look for clarity when you are not sure, ask people if you don’t know. Make it a point to understand what you do know and what you don’t know. Take time to learn new things rather than focusing on your mistakes.

8. You need to be in control of your own life and not let anyone else control you.

Sometimes self-doubt comes from trying to please other people or think that you’re not good enough for something important but it’s okay because no one will ever know. Everyone knows everything and if they don’t then it’s only because they haven’t heard about it yet (sounds pretty cultish… but true).

9. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness due to the shortage of opportunities

Life is like a straw and you can’t get anything great no matter how hard you try. This truly does suck. But there are lots of opportunities, you just need to know how to find them. The best way to do this is to do something you love and make it work as a career.

10. Having your hard work ignored.

In the form of devalued, minimized or thrown away by someone else is devastating. Try to understand that these people are not actually doing it out of malice but because they see it as something much more simple than you do (and they are probably right).

11. Inability to take risks

We tend to avoid taking risks and being wrong because if we’re wrong then someone could criticize us for being stupid or incompetent. However, we should look at it this way: it’s easy to be a critic, but hard to be a criticizer. If people are always criticizing you then they can’t give you positive feedback either (remember, praise is more important).

12. Not being assertive or aggressive enough.

Be honest when you speak to people so that they know your intentions and make them confident that you are not trying to trick them. People will feel more confident in your abilities if they feel like you can be trusted and they don’t have to be worried about dealing with you on a day-to-day basis.

13 Things you can do to get your confidence back.

  1. Take a rest. If you are feeling low – go for a walk, eat something or take a nap.
  2. Understand the difference between problems and solutions. The more time you spend working on solutions the less time you will have to worry about problems.
  3. Learn to ask for help when it’s needed and ask yourself for help when it’s needed too (hence the above point about understanding the difference between problems and solutions).
  4. When you are asked for advice, listen to the person carefully and then give them your best possible answer. (Don’t get distracted searching for flaws in their question or doubt yourself.)
  5. If you have a project due at the end of the week, don’t start it until a week before (or if you have a deadline coming up – set some pre-deadline goals for yourself). This gives you more time to rest and relax before getting to it and less stress overall when doing so.
  6. When you are just starting a project, do not stress yourself about it. If the whole thing seems overwhelming and you are not finding any solutions – start smaller.
  7. If you are facing a big deadline or problem, take a few days off and do nothing at all. This will allow you to step back from the situation and let your brain think about it in some way (remember that we don’t work with our brains right now, we work with our bodies while they are thinking for us).
  8. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future. Be here now!
  9. Smile a little bit – it makes you happier, healthier and stronger. If you’re not feeling up to smiling – take some deep breaths or try laughing for a second (it’s okay if it sounds weird).
  10. Do something positive. Try to do something good for someone else, just for the sake of doing it. This will help you feel better.
  11. Eat some good food! (I recommend seeing a doctor first if you have bad stomach issues.) Don’t eat bad food (read more about why the same here).
  12. Learn a little bit of psychology – try to learn about how your brain works and what is happening in your mind when you are feeling low or when you do something crazy or not very smart.
  13. Have fun!

Are you ready to get started?

It’s time to change your life. I believe in you.

Let’s get to work. The sky is the limit and nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. Stay strong – you are an amazing person and I am proud to have you as a friend.

Do you have any questions about anything at all? Just leave them in the comments below!

Success comes to those who believe in themselves and not to those who are looking for excuses why they can’t. It’s time to start believing in yourself again! 🙂

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