7 Traits of Highly Confident People

highly confident people

Even though the development of our self-confidence and self-esteem are influenced by our childhood experience, it certainly does not end there. In fact, it would be a great disservice to ourselves to think that we have little or no control over such things.

A healthy level of confidence may seem like a mystery to someone who struggles with feelings of worthlessness, but anyone can make great strides in this area. Like any other life skill, there are simple, straightforward ways to recreate our perception of self-worth, and improve the way we assess our own value as a person.

Except in extreme cases, adopting new behaviors can effectively reprogram how we feel about our own abilities and personal worth. Our behavior is generally a reflection of our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of, but this process can also run in reverse. If we want to change those beliefs, we can adopt different behaviors that will send powerful new signals to our nervous system.

The relationship between actions and beliefs

If our actions are not supported by our current beliefs then those beliefs will begin to lose their credibility. This opens the way for new beliefs that are being validated by the signals coming from our new behaviors.

While it may sound somewhat complicated, it is actually very simple to do, and the benefits can be felt almost instantly. It really comes down to this; when you talk and behave like someone with confidence, you feel more confident. As you continue to feel more confident, your perception of “self” changes, and perception is where beliefs come from.

With that in mind, let’s consider seven behaviors that can help increase your sense of confidence and self-esteem. We should also note that motivation is closely linked confidence. So as your confidence grows, so will your ability to motivate yourself.

You may already be doing some of these steps, and that’s great. If so, then this will serve as a valuable reminder, but if not, I suggest you begin ASAP.

7 behaviors that build confidence

1. Project confidence and self-esteem. You know the old saying, “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” That is a good reason to look others directly in the eye and greet them with a smile on your face. Direct eye contact and a smile project a sense of self-confidence. In addition, your posture, bearing, gestures, and gate, tell others (and your own nervous system) that you are a confident person. Body language is a much more powerful way of communicating confidence than anything you have to say.

2. Use your words to reinforce your confident image. When you meet someone new, whether in person or over the phone, always give them your name. Leading with a personal introduction underscores the feeling that you respect yourself, and that they should pay attention to what you have to say.

3. Be willing to accept a compliment. Don’t minimize expressions of honor from others. Instead of trying to sidestep a compliment, be gracious and appreciative. Giving plays an important role in life, but so does the ability to allow yourself to receive. Being able to accept form others provides them with an opportunity to experience the joy of giving. It’s a sign of solid self-esteem to be able to show genuine appreciation for a gift or complement.

4. Avoid self-promotion. Bragging comes from a lack of self-confidence and a desire for external approval. Conversely, genuine modesty is a characteristic of someone who is secure with who they are. People who brag are calling attention to themselves because they don’t feel worthy of respect. It’s like wearing a sign that says “please notice me and tell me that I am special?”

5. Keep the conversation positive. Avoid turning your problems into everyone else’s problems. Do this by not making problems the centerpiece of your conversation. Talk positively about your life and the lives of those around you. Train yourself to be aware of, and to move away from, negative thinking. Take notice of how often you complain and work to eliminate that tendency. When you are tempted to criticize or complain, find a way to turn your thoughts in a positive direction before you speak.

6. Counter doubt with positive action. Everyone’s confidence gets rocked from time to time. Dwelling on difficulties and disappointments will only make matters worse. The best antidote for doubt is to increase your level of productive activity. When your self-confidence is under fire, don’t sit around over analyzing the situation, do something. When you are busy taking action, your mind will be focused on solutions instead of problems. Maybe you can’t solve the problem immediately, but you can start working on it immediately instead of just thinking about it.

7. See everything as an opportunity. When you choose to see setbacks as opportunities your whole perspective shifts toward the positive. In its self, the ability to create this shift instills confidence. I like the saying from the movie The Ultimate Gift, “I’ve lost everything 3 or 4 times, it’s the perfect place to start.“ Everyone fails to produce their intended result sometimes, that’s how we know that it’s time to adjust our course. It is not a reflection of our value as a person, so don’t take it personally or let it rattle your self-esteem. If you feel that tendency, go for a walk and practice steps 1 and 2. Going through the actions will help restore your internal feelings of confidence.

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  1. Jeff January 20, 2009 Reply

    These are right on the money! I especially like #6. It takes action to get things going in the right direction.

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Thanks Jeff, countering doubt with positive action is one of my personal favorites also.

  2. Roger C. Parker January 20, 2009 Reply

    Beautifully laid out blog and a great writing style. Will be passing along to others.

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hey Roger, thanks for the kind words. I always appreciate it when someone shares with their friends.

  3. Brynn January 21, 2009 Reply

    Great post. One thing I have battled with is my self esteem. And one way I am improving it is by doing affirmations, seems silly, but it really works. I suppose it all depends on how low your self esteem is as to where your starting point is.

    • Jonathan January 21, 2009 Reply

      Thanks for your comment Brynn, affirmations are not the most powerful way for dealing with serious self-esteem issues, but they can be very productive with mild cases. You are absolutely right about things depending on the degree of low self-esteem. Serious cases generally require more advanced techniques, but there is almost always a simple set of skills that will produce good results. Low self-esteem is the product of limiting beliefs, so the first step is to dismantle those beliefs and replace them with empowering ones. Then it is important to reinforce the new beliefs until they are firmly established.

  4. Frances January 23, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this post! I’ve really been working on being more confident, so this couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I really appreciate it.

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hello Frances, I am so happy that you found it helpful, also thanks for joining the conversation.

  5. RaiulBaztepo March 29, 2009 Reply

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hi Raiul, your English is fine, it’s a tough language to learn. I was born here and I still struggle with it.

  6. Lisa Diamond May 26, 2009 Reply

    Great information. I will be sure to pass this along. Confidence and positive self image is something that I think a lot of folks struggle with on a regular basis.

    • Jonathan May 26, 2009 Reply

      Hi Lisa, you are absolutely right, many do struggle with these issues. In fact, my desire to help have moved me to create a whole coaching program specifically aimed at creating greater self-confidence. I am still in the early stages of development right now, but I can tell you it will be completely different than anything else I have seen. The best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to our RSS feed.

  7. The only point I would disagree with is self-promotion. But I think the way I think about it may be different than what you mean. In other words, bragging to prop up low self-esteem is not helpful. On the other hand, too many people are hesitant to document and promote their accomplishments to help others see the value of their work. I would say that self-confident persons are not hesitant to do so.

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hi Steve, certainly we should feel comfortable making our accomplishments known when necessary, but not as a “look at me” banner. I think a reasonable degree of modesty is a sign of confidence.

  8. jonathanfigaro December 14, 2010 Reply

    Great post. Best way to gain confidence is to ask yourself , what do i need to do to be confidence? create a list and start doing something each day to achieve this level of personal comfortability with your self.

    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hey Jonathan, that’s an interesting approach, but people who lack confidence don’t always know what they need to do, so they can’t answer the question accurately. That’s where a little guidance come in.

  9. Dandy December 14, 2010 Reply

    Very smart post. It is true about the relationship between action & belief. Years ago a therepist told me to “act as if”. At the time it seemed so fake to me, but after trying it & paying attention to my posture, eye contact, and projection of voice that I could see that others saw me differentely. Then I started to feel differentely…more confident and self-assured. Thanks for your smart tips!


    • Jonathan February 1, 2011 Reply

      Hi Dandy, sounds like your therapist had a basic understanding of NLP. Our posture and body language can send powerful signals to our nervous system, and yes, our mind will respond to those signals.

  10. Jayne November 6, 2011 Reply

    Jonathan, what great pointers. The thing is, these are all common sense and so easy to pay attention to.

    I particularly liked the saying – “I’ve lost everything 3 or 4 times, it’s the perfect place to start.“ LOL. but , yet it’s not a laughing matter… it’s the truth. By looking at ‘negatives’ as an opportunity for improvement is the only way to rise up.

    Thanks for such an awesome post.


    • Jonathan November 7, 2011 Reply

      Hi Jayne, much of what I write is based on a common sense approach. Sadly, common sense seems to be less and less common with each passing year. I think one of the contributing factors is that a lot of education focuses on producing a certain outcome without any understanding of the process. When we understand the process (cause and effect) we can then apply that understanding (as common sense) to other areas of life

  11. Ryan Critchett January 7, 2012 Reply

    All good points. Confidence seems to the be the root that if watered right, can grow a pretty awesome tree.

  12. Chris Akins February 4, 2013 Reply


    Great post. Im a firm believer that successes build confidence. For those who struggle with confidence, putting yourself out there, and taking rational risks to build a history of successes works wonders!

    Another great way – which you allude to – is to really tackle limiting beliefs head on through challenging them and the self-talk that sustains them. NLP has some great techniques for overcoming limiting beliefs as well.


  13. Anna Maroni February 5, 2013 Reply

    I like what I read here, there is a great sense of self worth in these words alone . The greatest thing I see here is the ease and ability to apply them to your life in ways that are truly needed. One such way is in the quest for a job, build the confidence even before you start interviewing is extremely important. The way you portray yourself in those precious first minutes can be the difference. Again great article here with some amazing life points.

    • Vaishnavi May 3, 2013 Reply

      I liked this article.I feel it is not possible to have 100% self confidence all the time.

  14. Eniale June 27, 2013 Reply

    I innately knew this, and for some reason let self-doubt and not being fully focused throw me. I am so happy to have this reinforces that it is not written in stone, but can be changed through simple steps that build upon one another. Great huh?

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