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How Important Is Self-Confidence?

importance of self confidence

A lot of people have questions about self-confidence. They want to know where it comes from, what it actually is, and how to get more. We can appreciate how valid all these questions are when we consider the power of self-confidence in our life.

I have also noticed that there is more than enough confusion over these same questions even from noted experts.

What self-confidence can do for you

In reality, self-confidence is often a more important asset than skill, knowledge, or even experience. This might seem like a bit of a stretch, but let’s take a closer look. Imagine that you have the skill, knowledge, and experience to qualify you for a certain job. When you go for the job interview, what will set you apart from others who are equally qualified? Beyond your credentials, what is it that would make them want to hire you instead of someone else?

It’s the impression you make, right? Your credentials may be impressive, but if your body language or demeanor gives any indication of uncertainty, the interviewer will pick up on that. It may not be something they are consciously aware of, but on some level your doubt will become their doubt. So the job goes to the one that can instill confidence in others.

Self-confidence is reassuring to others

People have a natural tendency to trust you more when you seem self-confident. To the subconscious mind self-confidence equals competence. Does that seem unfair? Well ask yourself if you would hire someone who seemed unsure of their own abilities? If you needed surgery, would you use a doctor whose first impression left you wondering how he got his license to practice? It wouldn’t matter how impressive his credentials were, you would find someone else.

Self-confidence creates trust, and everyone wants to be able to trust the people they do business with, become friends with, and fall in love with. If you want to be trusted by others, you must first trust yourself. To project trustworthiness you must project confidence. Granted, this is all based on perception. You can be a very trustworthy person and still lack self-confidence. There are also people with loads of self-confidence who can’t be trusted.

If it’s just perception then why does it matter?

Perception is how we personally view things; it’s our version of reality. When we don’t know someone personally, our perception is based on the signals we pick up from their words, body language, expressions, eye contact, etc. We also sense their degree of self-confidence and it influences our perception.

Have you ever said: “I don’t know why, but I just don’t trust that person”? See, your mind didn’t have a logical reason for your lack of trust, but you still didn’t trust them. It’s because your perception was being influenced on a subconscious level. Perception may not be absolute reality, but it is your reality and that’s all that matters in a situation like this.

Picking up the Self-confidence torch

Self-confidence is such an important issue that I have decided to focus much more attention in that direction. In upcoming articles I will be covering many aspects of this important quality. Along those lines I would like your help. I would like to know your thoughts on 3 specific self-confidence questions.

1) From 1 (low) to 4 (high), how important is self-confidence to you?
2)
What would you do if you had more self-confidence?
3)
What questions about self-confidence would you like answered?

Feel free to leave your answers as comments below.

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Watch this video: To truly understand what is involved in building unstoppable self-confidence, we first must understand the relationship of Cause and Effect. In this short video Dr. Robert Anthony explains why cause is more powerful than effect and how you can use this knowledge to build your self-confidence very quickly. Self-Confidence Creator Video.

43 Comments

  1. Rocket Bunny May 11, 2009 Reply

    I have to say skills – knowledge and experience is the foundation of self confidence. Landing a job because you appear self-confident is only going to employ you for that 90 days probation period unless you prove yourself.
    I don’t know what it is like for a man. As for a woman you can act like a cheerleader or put your skills up front. Either way if the job wants a team player be one. If it calls for a leader be one and responsible for the team and their productivity.
    Showing confidence is showing strength and experience not BSing your way into a job.
    Cheers

    • Hi Bunny, I agree completely that you need the skill, knowledge, and experience. But if there are 3 people with comparable talents and one projects more confidence, then that one will have an edge.

      • Rocket Bunny February 19, 2011 Reply

        Well Yeah, That is because the one with more confidence isn’t afraid to take control. His wife allowed him to wear the pants that day.:)
        Seriously , confidence is a very attractive asset.

  2. Cody May 11, 2009 Reply

    Confidence is everything. the higher your confidence the higher your level of participation, the higher the participation the better the result. confidence is a very important root. Nice article.

    • Hey Cody, Thanks for that nice progression, confidence > participation > results. There are numerous important aspects to personal development but this one is truly a game changer.

    • abha October 9, 2012 Reply

      Yes
      Self confidence is very important because Confidence is everything. Confidence is everything in life so never be negative or you will lose confidence.

  3. Great stuff Jonathan, I can’t wait for more!

    1) For me it is a 4.

    2) I would probably want to do public speaking and just take more risks in general.

    3) What makes some people confident and others not when there may be no other appreciable difference in their competency? What specifically can one do to increase confidence – real confidence?

    • Hey Stephen, now that’s the spirit! Thanks for answering the questions, that is really helpful. Those are 2 excellent questions you asked and I will be sure to get into them in an upcoming article. Public speaking is one that intimidates people in general. I can help you with that, I’ve done a lot of it and I actually enjoy it. I can tell you that the 5 or 10 minutes of anticipation right before you go on stage is way worse than actually being on stage. It’s that pre performance anxiety that gets you. Beat that and the rest is easy.

  4. kate smedley May 11, 2009 Reply

    Self confidence is so important to anyone, very interesting article.

  5. Thoughtful article, Jonathan.

    1) For me, self-confidence is a “4.” I find that when I don’t compare myself to others it’s easier to be self-confident.

    2) hmmmm…I’m not sure

    3) There can be a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. How do we make that line wider?

    How can we help others (friends / family) with their self-confidence?

    Why is there a difference in self-confidence depending on what we do? If we’re confident in one area, why doesn’t that necessarily translate (foundationally) to other areas?

    • Hi Laurie, those are some excellent questions, I can’t wait to address them. This is really helpful and exactly the response I was looking for, thanks!

  6. Dragos Roua May 12, 2009 Reply

    1) number 4, definitely

    2) I usually have problems with taking too much risks, so more self-confidence would be a little bit dangerous here. But in an ideal situation I would do more finalizing than starting, which is something I am really good at. Starting, I mean, as opposed to finalizing.

    3. More grounded examples on how to build self-confidence. Tutorials :-)

    Thanks for sharing, I liked this twist in your approach ;-)

    • Hey Dragos, we are very much alike with risk, starting, and finalizing. For sure confidence needs to be tempered with reasonableness. For example, it doesn’t matter how much confidence I have in my ability to fly. If I jump off a 10 story building I also need to know how to land.

  7. Alex Fayle May 13, 2009 Reply

    I’ve been recently looking back at my life and finding moments where I was really confident and seeing how those are the important parts, not where I let insecurity and fear of rejection block me from doing what I really wanted to.

    It’s really changing how I perceive myself now and how I think about the future.

    • Hey Alex, with hindsight we can really see what a game changer confidence is. It would be a good idea for everyone to follow your lead. Just look back on your life so far and compare the confident times with all the rest. Thanks Alex!

  8. Annette Colby, PhD May 13, 2009 Reply

    Great article Jonathan! While there is no one set definition for confidence, on the whole it means being able to trust yourself. This means that when you set a goal for yourself, you trust yourself to make a plan, take charge of your actions, evaluate your actions, appreciate your efforts and successes, provide supportive self-talk, and do whatever you can to prove to yourself that you can indeed influence outcomes.

    One way to strengthen confidence is to appreciate your efforts and successes along each step of the way. To balance the scale of triumphs and challenges, you need to recognize and feel good about all the small steps you take each day, and the efforts you put forth toward achieving your goal. Building on every little victory acts like fuel to your confidence.

    For me, self-confidence is at a 4. Yet, as with most people, there are areas in my life where confidence in a particular activity could be higher than it currently is. I haven’t yet discovered any miracle cure for overcoming our deepest fears, but I do have faith that with perseverance, we can move beyond the limitations that hold us back.

    • Hi Annette, “trust yourself” that’s really it in a nutshell. I appreciate that you mentioned the small steps. We are all confident in many areas that can easily go unnoticed unless we do that.

  9. Robin Easton May 13, 2009 Reply

    For me self-confidence came about through many things: facing my fears (even when I didn’t want to, even when I was terrified); being starkly honest with myself (no more lying to myself about what I felt, what I was doing, how I was living, how I treated others, etc.); developing a strong sense of who I am through experiential living where I dove into life with an open heart and mind; took risks, did things that weren’t “typically” me, traveled off the beaten path both literally and in my mind and soul; lived in different cultures, fell passionately in love and had to let the person go due to illness; tried new ways of eating, thinking, living, went through great physical pain, deep loss, near death, etc. I mean put someone in a clothes dryer, run it for 60 minutes and when they come out they won’t care too much what other people think of them. When you’ve gone to the most bottom level of your soul, it’s all up hill from there. Everything looks good and wonderful and hopeful. LOLOL!!!! :)

    At the age of 25 I made a conscious decision to experience life “full-on” (without knowing a thing about it except that I would make many mistakes), but would still embrace it ALL, openly, bravely. I would dare to be uncomfortable, empty, raw, vulnerable, foolish and not-knowing. I would choose to move into Life with great expectations and joy even when there seemed no hope at all and everyone around me had given up on me. I choose to embrace all that I am, all that Life is, without judgment. All these things gave me confidence. For me it’s not about having the perfect life, it’s about fully embracing the experience of Life. Once I lived thusly, very little bothered me. I look at other people and see a new experience, another opportunity to know myself and the world more fully.

    Often in our culture USA there is almost nil opportunity for people to go through initiations. I realized this at a young age and decided to make all of Life my initiation. We often slide our more painful, trying, emotional experiences over into negative context, cover them over — out of sight out of mind — but it is in looking at and embracing these experiences that builds character and confidence in us. We start to learn what we are capable. When we don’t know what we are capable of we can live in anxiety and fear. It may not even be conscious but it is very disturbing to NOT know our own potential, our own courage, and our own inner strength. It is why so many indigenous cultures had visions quests and various initiations for young people, so they could learn and KNOW what they were capable of.

    • Greetings Robin, as you have proven to yourself, we are capable of so much more that we will ever realize unless we are willing to go for it. Those inner strengths we discover are a game changer.

  10. Kikolani May 13, 2009 Reply

    I think if I had more self confidence, I would be more comfortable with people in person like I am on the internet. I have a small phobia of saying or doing the wrong thing, which makes dealing with people on the internet much easier than in person, simply because I have time to review what I’m going to say before I say it.

    ~ Kristi

    • Hi Kristi, thanks for being so open and honest. I think the same is true of many people online. I’ll be sure to address that small phobia in a future article.

  11. Ciel May 13, 2009 Reply

    You forgot the shoulders! Because they are connected to an emotionally sensitive muscle they are very revealing of mood and interest. And a great place to express confidence.

  12. Vince Stevenson May 19, 2009 Reply

    Self-confidence to me is the cornerstone of personal and business success. I love working with confident people, it gives me the belief that the right things will be done at the right time and the right outcomes will be achieved. Rgds Vince

    • I agree completely Vince. When we are confident, others feel the same way about working with us. Confidence instills confidence!

      • prem November 7, 2011 Reply

        Hello Jonathan,

        Could you plz suggest on which factors self confidence depends ?
        and among those factors which factors are actually under our control ?

        Thanks in Advance

        • Greetings Prem, self confidence is based on our conclusions about our own abilities. These conclusions are influences by both external and internal factors. External influences include the results we have produced in the past and our assessment of them (whether we feel that we have succeeded or failed). Internal influences include our level of self-esteem and our assessment of our individual talents (strengths) and our shortcomings (weaknesses). All of these are perception based and therefore under our control if we have the right skill set.

  13. Sidik November 12, 2011 Reply

    I see this especially in most students’ successes, it’s not only in their abilities or habits but it’s their self-confidence that is the basic reason they do well in school. Due to their confidence, they are not shy to ask questions, discuss and so on. This habit of believing in themselves will lead them to have more successes in their futures. Thanks and regards, Sidik

  14. prem November 14, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for your reply Jonathan :
    However when I see your statement in the beginning of this Article.

    “In reality, self-confidence is often a more important asset than SKILLS knowledge, or even experience.”

    Then this does not make much sense to me
    “All of these are perception based and therefore under our control if we have the right skill set”

    So Self confidence is greater than skillset and also for self confidence you need right skill set. ( Which comes first egg or Hen ?)

    Don’t you think the people who are self confident are naturally confident without any extraordinary skill set. Because they are self confident so what ever to do they can do easily compare to people with low self confidence.

  15. Marta November 27, 2011 Reply

    Hi .
    1: On a scale of 1 to 4, I feel that self confidence is a 3.
    2: I would overcome my fears and look at my past without regrets .
    3: I would like to know how to be confident no matter what.

  16. Philip April 1, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    1. On a scale of 1 – 4 I have to say that it’s a 4.
    2. Be even happier than I am right now.
    3. My question would be, Why did it take so many years for me to finally “get it”?
    Kind regards Philip.

  17. Tara April 5, 2013 Reply

    1) 4
    2) I would be happy, I don’t remember the last time I was happy.
    3) I want to know how to make confidence not so important to me, I obsess over it. it’s all I want.

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