Do you struggle with lack of confidence? If so, you are not alone. Most of us have moments where we feel insecure about things in our lives. Maybe you exude confidence on the outside but still struggle on the inside. How can you get to a place where you feel confident in all aspects of your life?

Confidence can be pushy. It requires you to confront some of your most profound truths, which is hard to do, but it gets easier once you break through. It’s easier still when you build the right habits into your life. 

In this article, Jay Shetty unpacks seven habits of highly confident people and explains how you can implement these habits into your life to create confidence.

Work Through Your Past

We’ve all heard the saying “The past comes back to haunt you.” In a way, it’s true. When you sweep things under the rug or ignore them, they do not get resolved. They linger, waiting for the right time to resurface … but it doesn’t have to be like that.

“All of us experience things when we're young,” Jay Shetty explains. “Those experiences create impressions, and those impressions leave marks on our consciousness. A physical wound or scar may not cause you pain after it has healed, but emotional wounds and scars continue to cause you pain every time there's pressure put on them, every time there's pain put on them. That's the difference between emotional scars and physical scars.” 

Confident people work through their past. They choose to navigate through the difficult times from the past so they can see how it affects them today and face it head on. 

When you think about your past, think of all the things that positively and negatively affected you. One great way to do this is to think about the habits you learned from your parents. What things did they pass on to you intentionally or unintentionally that you find useful, or perhaps not useful, in your life today? 

“When I think about what my parents gave me, it is unrelenting discipline,” shares Jay Shetty. “They made sure that I was focused and prepared. I knew how to research to get ready for an exam, test, or a game. They made me develop that skill set.”

So how does working through your past affect your confidence? According to Jay Shetty, if you have not processed your past, it leaves you feeling weak.

“In the movie Eight Mile, Eminem lists out all of his past failures, mistakes, and things that didn't go his way. He has to process them and accept them,” explains Jay Shetty.  “When he does that, his weakness becomes his strength and gives him confidence. Before he did that, he was always trying to hide his past.”

Too often, we hide our past because we are insecure about it or lack confidence when we reflect on it. Similarly, if you are unsure how to navigate the habits you have acquired in life, you will not feel confident. 

Develop confidence by connecting your past and your present. Learn where beliefs and behaviors in your life come from and why they exist. Explore how to use them in valuable ways or avoid them if they are not helpful.

Develop High Skill Value

Confidence doesn’t come from having the right clothes or the perfect body. There are plenty of well-dressed, well-toned, brilliant-minded people who struggle with confidence. They have the body, mind, and wardrobe they want yet still lack confidence. Why? 

Jay Shetty explains they lack a high-value skill that gives them purpose. Maybe it is public speaking, web design, excellent communication skills, photography, or event planning. Find something that gives you value. When you take the time to learn and excel at a skill, you value yourself more and don’t allow others to dictate your worth.  

Your confidence increases when you have a high-value skill, not because of that skill, but because of the effort it took to acquire that skill.

“You've been in difficult scenarios and have had to learn under stress and pressure,” Jay Shetty shares. “You had to overcome obstacles to get to where you are, and that's what makes you feel confident, that ability to overcome. It's not the skill that makes you feel confident. It's the journey you took to get that skill.”

Continue to Learn New Skills

Jay Shetty saw a post on Facebook once from Brian Tracy that has since become a viral quote. It said, “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.”

But how does learning contribute to confidence? 

“Learn a little about a lot of things,” suggests Jay Shetty. “Read articles about different things, research things that are blowing up in the mainstream. Having a little bit of insight about a lot of different things allows you to engage in conversations that you otherwise might be shy to engage in.”

This by no means makes you an expert on these things, but it gives you the knowledge to engage in conversation, growing your confidence along the way. 

When you disengage because you don’t think you are smart enough for a particular conversation, you stifle your ability to let your confidence shine. A little knowledge about many things can ensure you don’t miss out on the next conversation.

Be Compassionate

Extending compassion not only to others but to yourself helps increase your confidence. When you allow yourself some compassion, you give yourself a break from having to know all the answers or get things right all the time. 

Confidence is not about being perfect. It is about being ok when you are wrong and trying to figure things out. When you extend that compassion to others, it gives you a glimpse into their journey.

“You become soft-hearted because you realize how hard the work is,” explains Jay Shetty.
“You realize how difficult the challenge is. That's what makes you more confident. You realize no one's perfect. No one's getting it right all the time. No one's always on their game.”

Compassion breeds confidence. When others see how confident you are, they begin to feel that way too. 

“Confidence is less about the definition we've given it,” Jay Shetty explains. “We've made confidence seem like this unreachable, completely difficult place of perfection, when it's so much more about being honest about the journey, the process, and the story.”

Respond Slowly When Needed

Being quick to listen and slow to speak is advice most confident people take to heart. Confidence is not built by blurting out reactions to things just to respond. It comes from listening and thinking about the words that will matter and provide value to the other person. 

“Often, the person in the room who says the least, is usually the one whose opinion matters the most,” explains Jay Shetty. “They may not say a lot, but they're listening, and when they speak, everyone listens. Why? Because they don't waste words.”

When you are quick to respond, you end up saying things that are of less value or something that you wish you could take back. Your response generally comes from a place of pressure or pain. You act out of force. This reaction can leave you feeling weak and lacking in confidence. Hasty reactions cause people to lose confidence and trust in your word. 

Make it a goal to provide a slower, value-filled response rather than a hasty, wasted reaction. 

Know Your Motivation

Self-awareness is confidence. What is the motivation that drives you? In the Bhagavad Gita,1 there are four stages of motivation and intention:

“In ignorance, you're working from a place of fear and anxiety,” explains Jay Shetty. “In the mode of passion, you're working from a place of result, goal, or action. In the mode of goodness, you're working from a place of responsibility, accountability, virtue, and kindness. And in pure goodness, you're working from a place of love.”

Someone who lacks confidence will often operate from ignorance but not move on from that stage. A confident person can identify and accept whatever stage they are in.

“If you're on a climbing wall, a confident person is not just talking about the top,” shares Jay Shetty. “A confident person is just trying to place their next footstep correctly. That's what you're trying to do with your intentions and motivations as well. You're not trying to falsely appear greater than you are to be confident. You're just trying to make sure you place your next move.”

Plan, Adapt, Visualize

Has anyone ever said to you, “Let’s just wing it?” Maybe you thought, “Why not?” Does that make you a confident person? Actually, no. A confident person doesn’t just wing it. They don’t show up without a mental plan. 

The final habit of a confident person is to plan, adapt, and visualize. You may think that this is silly and feel you don’t need to prepare because you are comfortable in the situation. But you are not just preparing the words for the situation. You are preparing your energy and mindset. The confidence comes when your comments reflect your energy and mindset, creating the total package.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “7 Habits of Highly Confident People” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

1 Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
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