Often before starting anything new we are reminded by the people around us to be confident, be it a job interview, first day at a job, school or college.
Let’s start by defining what confidence really is, Dr. Ivan Joseph describes what confidence is accurately as “the ability or the belief in yourself to accomplish any task no matter the odds, no matter the difficulty, no matter the adversity”. This points at various aspects of confidence and the importance of skill in life. If one believes in oneself and works towards achieving goals irrespective of the situation one is put through, the difficulty faced to get to that level or even the naysayers waiting for a pitfall, one can achieve tasks successfully.
Some say confidence is a natural trait, but I believe confidence can be worked upon and instilled in an individual with consistency in actions and repetitive efforts. Patience plays the key role here as confidence cannot be achieved overnight it takes practice and consistent effort on the part of an individual as any new experience or opportunity can be overwhelming for anyone but practice in that area can help one when faced with the situation and be confident in the endeavor.
Like in the case of sportspersons, every game they play is a novel experience for them but the practice and hard work they put in before the game helps them strategize their moves well and makes them confident throughout the game. An athlete who is confident will be able to overcome any hurdle thrown at them as compared to one who is not and will shy away from difficulty during the game.
The next aspect which is key to confidence in any individual is self-affirmation. Self- affirmation includes having an inner dialogue with oneself wherein one positively reinforces one’s actions and stays away from negative thoughts. Self- affirming statements include “I can do this, I got this, I am capable”. Once one convinces one’s own self and deems one worthy only then can confidence be achieved.
A related factor affecting confidence is knowing- what is good for oneself and what is not. When people only see what they did wrong, they tend to underperform. Likewise, when they are reminded that they are doing well, they tend to thrive. We all make mistakes and we are all likely to be entangled in these mistakes, so it is important to find ways to appreciate oneself, especially in the most difficult times. For example, writing a confident letter when one is in a good mood. One can list several positive aspects related to their life and character, including wise decisions and achievements. Later when one goes through tough times, is making mistakes, or being criticized, one can revisit these letters to uplift mood and remember the good qualities of oneself.
Not accepting failure is another trait of a confident person which helps them in succeeding eventually and maintains an overall optimistic attitude in people. Optimistic people tend to see the good in situations and are thus not easily discouraged, likewise, confidence in one's capabilities and not accepting failure as our ultimate fate helps us achieve greater things in life.
Avoid naysayers and people spreading negativity to always feel confident. If someone disappoints you, it will trigger your own negative thoughts. There are enough people telling us that we can't do it; we are not good enough. Why do we let them do that to ourselves? If we surround ourselves with negativity and naysayers we tend to give up easily and become a part of self-fulfilling prophecy wherein we let ourselves believe we are not good enough but in reality we just need to work harder and stay away from the negative energy of certain people in our lives. Therefore, it is important to seek supportive friendships and not be afraid to cut off relations with people who are not good for us.
Often self-efficacy is confused with confidence but self-efficacy is a perceived belief which affects our actions and in turn our actions affect our self-efficacy whereas confidence (as a positive state) has a positive effect on one's self-efficacy but the opposite may not be true, as suggested by Lucio Sabilia. Confidence is not necessarily related to a particular event as with self-efficacy.
Confident people tend to be positive and optimistic about the feedback they receive. If they hear that there is a 98% chance that they will fail at something, then confident people will interpret this percentage as a good chance of success. Two percent of job openings is enough to encourage them to work hard, because it means that success is possible. If everyone develops this habit of bold thinking, we will be far better off and be much more successful in life.