The belief in one’s ability to achieve things is the key trait that separates confident people from those who lack this confidence. People who lack it often have negative thought patterns holding them back. Once these seeds are planted, other negative thoughts are likely to follow which only serve to reconfirm their negative self-talk, launching a vicious cycle that’s difficult to escape.
But everyone has the ability to change, and to develop the characteristics that help give people confidence in themselves. It starts by stopping these negative thought patterns dead in their tracks. The cognitive behavioral approach to addressing your negative thoughts allows you to understand that you have control over every emotion you feel and every choice you make. It also allows you to see the positive in yourself and others. After all, confidence starts with having high self-esteem, so what a better way to build confidence than by first making yourself feel great?
How to Develop the 3 Key Traits of Confident People
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
– J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
In order to fully understand what this means, let’s dive into detail about three key traits of truly confident people. This will help shed light on the reason some people are perceived to be confident, and provide you with the tools not only to look confident, but to truly be confident.
Be willing to take responsibility
When you take responsibility for your actions or failures, it gives you the control to shape your outcome and eliminates excuses. The more in control you are, the more likely you will reach your goal. And nothing boosts your self-esteem more than crossing an accomplishment off your list.
You must also be comfortable with your decisions and stick to them. Consistency shows others how in control you are, which in turn garners you the respect of others — and of yourself. Especially in cases where a decision you’ve made goes horribly wrong, you always have the choice to either blame others or take responsibility for the outcome yourself. If you choose the latter, it will gain you even greater respect from others. It is always challenging to admit your errors, which is all the more reason to: it shows character, which in turn creates a persona of confidence that others will notice.
Be willing to be vulnerable
Many people have a crippling fear of vulnerability. Overcoming this fear is not an easy struggle for anyone. However, if you implement the strategies of the cognitive behavioral approach, it will help you defeat the harmful thoughts that keep you trapped into thinking, “I can’t do it.”
When you continually repeat these types of judgments, it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. You shy away from trying something new out of fear of vulnerability, which in turn guarantees your failure, only perpetuating the cycle. This holds you back from exploring your true potential. So why not tell yourself instead, “It isn’t that big of a deal,” or “I can do it”?
The first step to overcoming a negative thought pattern is to develop an awareness of the way your thoughts are holding you back. You can then replace those knee-jerk and fear-induced thoughts with new thoughts. These then provide you with positive input that allows you to let down your guard and be vulnerable.
Once you establish new thought patterns, you’ll be more likely to place yourself in new situations. This in turn will lead you to feel more comfortable with being vulnerable, which will increase your resilience and encourage you to do it again. You’ll become more comfortable in your own skin, and others will start to see you as the most confident person in any room.
Once you continue to use these new thoughts, you will likely be overcome with gratitude for doing so. You’ll be so completely proud of yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone, and you’ll switch from a vicious cycle to a virtuous one.
Be willing to share the limelight with others
Confidence doesn’t come from thinking you are better than others. It comes from being a team player. It is great to think highly of yourself, but you have to remember that others’ viewpoints are just as valid as your own.
Whether you are engaged in a group project at work or with friends, keep in mind that the focus doesn’t need to be on you. Once you establish a habit of listening rather than talking, you’ll show others how confident you are by not needing to be the center of attention.
Sharing the limelight will help you understand that being effective at anything in life requires you to put your ego aside and allow others in.
Now go out and be the most confident version of you!
Confidence is within you, and it’s up to you to bring it out. Hopefully the strategies above will get you started on the path to developing the traits of confident people. Just keep in mind that the moment you change your perception of yourself is the moment others will see the confidence shining through.