Building Self-Confidence: Fake it ‘til You Make it

Confident man exercising

Building self-confidence will help you in nearly every aspect of your life.  From attracting women to earning more respect from bosses and co-workers, increasing self-confidence will have everyone seeing you in a more positive light.  But if confidence doesn’t come naturally, then you may have to work to build it up.  That is, you’ll have to learn how to “fake it ‘til you make it”.

Building self-confidence

Just because you don’t feel confident doesn’t mean you can’t show confidence.  And once you start showing confidence, people will have no reason to think you’re anything but confident.

The key to showing confidence is adopting the body language.  This means keeping your head up, spine straight, shoulders rolled down and back, and making strong eye contact.  When you walk, do so with purpose and direction (no shuffling about aimlessly).  Whenever possible avoid fidgeting or other small movements done to release tension and energy (picking your nails, toying with your phone, etc.).  And always keep a warm, relaxed smile on your face.

Feeling more confident

The cool thing about showing confidence is that doing so will actually help you feel more confident.  Studies (like this one) suggest that adopting a certain body language can cause you to feel whatever emotion goes along with that body language.  Slump your shoulders and frown for a few minutes, and you’ll start to feel weak and depressed.  Stand tall with a big smile on your face, and you’ll increase your self-confidence instantly.

If you really want to tap into this phenomena and use the power of body language to radically shift your mood, try adopting the power pose.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, and hands above your head (making in a “V”).  Look up, smile, and hold that pose for a full 90 seconds.  Once that time is up you’ll notice you feel stronger and more powerful.  This is a great exercise to do before a date, interview, or any other event where an increase in self-confidence would be beneficial.

Maintaining confidence throughout the day

While the power-pose is a great way to temporarily increase self-confidence, there are other tricks that will help you maintain a higher level of confidence throughout the day.  One such trick is to “anchor” confident body language to something you commonly see during the day – like a doorway.

Each time you walk through a doorway make a point to check your body language.  Is your head up?  Spine straight?  Shoulders back?  Is there a smile on your face?  Are your muscles relaxed (if not, try breathing deep into your belly)?  Make the necessary adjustments so you can answer “yes” to all those questions anytime you walk through a doorway, and you’ll have an easy time maintaining confident body language throughout the day.

Acting “As if”

Beyond body language hacks, another way to increase self-confidence is to “act as if”. In everything you do act as if you are already the incredibly confident person you want to be.  If you’re not sure what action to take, think to yourself “What would someone with supreme confidence do right now?” and then do that.

This may be difficult at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets – especially when you start receiving positive feedback.  Everyone around you will see you acting confident and assume that its purely authentic.  As time goes on it will be easier and easier to “act as if”, and you’ll eventually become that supremely confident person.

Visualizing confidence

No doubt there are incidents in your life you wish you could do over – this time with more confidence.  That girl you should have asked out, the raise you should have asked for – you wish you could go back in time and try again.

Well, you can.  When you think about those situations imagine yourself going through them the way you wanted.  Take your time and use as much detail as possible.  Our brains actually have a hard time understanding the difference between what is imagined and what actually happens, so this will get processed as if it’s a real event.  In the future when you’re in a similar situation, you’ll have a memory of you doing things the right way that you can call on as a reference.  This will help you get a clearer view of what you should do in the current situation, and give you the confidence of knowing you can do it.

What if you don’t want to “fake it”?

Its understandable to feel resistance about “faking” confident body language in order to increase your confidence.  You don’t want to be seen as a fake and so it seems rational to avoid following tips like the ones mentioned above.

Rather than seeing yourself as someone trying to “fake” confidence, see yourself as a social scientist.  Spend a week testing the exercises mentioned in this article.  See if you notice any changes in yourself or changes in the way others react towards you.  By viewing this as just a big experiment you can lose that hesitation and resistance, and open yourself up to experience the positive changes first-hand.

And keep in mind that, if you really think about it, the alternative isn’t any more “real”.  You can either adopt confident body language and work towards becoming the person you want to be, or do nothing.  If you do nothing, you’re stuck being the more insecure person you don’t want to be.  And behaving in a way you don’t like simply because that’s what you’re used to isn’t necessarily any more “genuine”.  Reason being, that behavior isn’t “you” – it’s just the result of your habits and conditioning.  Therefore, you may as well start acting as the confident person you want to be.

What’s Next?

If you want to exponentially up your confidence game, check out our new Core Confidence Online Group Coaching program. You’ll get your own coach, along with proven drills and exercises to help you become the most confident version of yourself.

Brian M - author of 191 posts on The Art of Charm

Once he realized attraction was something he could learn, Brian spent way too much of his free time studying and practicing everything he could find on the subject. He stumbled across The Art of Charm podcast and eventually signed up for an AoC bootcamp. Excited by the progress he's made in his own life since the program, he decided to start writing for AoC to help other guys do the same. By writing about interpersonal dynamics, he’s finally able to put that psychology degree to good use.

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