How to Build Self-Confidence & Improve Your Capabilities

Jordan Tarver
October 7, 2021

Self-confidence is a valuable quality in many societies for understandable reasons: it represents the ability to trust one's skills and abilities. When you're self-confident, you posses a positive self-image, which plays a role in motivation, social interactions, and mental health. People who struggle with confidence may shy away from social situations, stop trying new things, and avoid rewarding challenges.

Self-confidence often needs a foundation to build from. And if you want to have a positive self-image of yourself, it's crucial to invest your time in your own self-discovery—the process of discovering yourself. My book, You Deserve This Sh!t, offers a simple, digestible process to guide you through your journey of self-discovery, leading you to your most authentic self.

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What Is Self-confidence & Why Is It Important?

Self-confidence is the ability to trust your abilities, qualities, and judgement. It creates beliefs related to the outcome of certain aspects of your life, like completing a goal or facing a challenge. For most people, the inception of your self-confidence is a tangent of past experiences. Your past experiences, whether positive or negative, create belief systems that feed your levels of self-confidence.

For example, let's say you set a goal to run a marathon (26.2 miles), which requires a rigorous daily training program. If you struggle during that program, you may have negative thoughts, making you feel less confident. However, if your training program is a success, you'll feel confident about your marathon race.

Self-confidence leads to a greater belief in yourself. And as E.E. Cummings once said, "Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

When you build self-confidence, the doors of your life open up. Over time, you'll realize your self-trust allows you to self-motivate, achieve your goals, face your fears, and take on challenges. Taking risks feels a little less risky.

5 Ways to Build Self-confidence

Building self-confidence takes time and can be outside your comfort zone, but it can be done by following specific tips and tricks. For example, if you want to be confident in yourself, you should avoid comparing yourself to others and surrounding yourself with the wrong people. There's not one switch that turns your self-confidence on—you'll need to address different areas of life.

Here are five ways you can gain confidence in yourself.

1. Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to others doesn't just make you feel less than others, but it also sparks envy—which occurs when you desire another person's qualities, achievements, or possessions. When you are discontent with your life and envious of another's, you lose confidence in yourself. 

As a matter of fact, studies prove this: People who compare themselves to others feel envy. Researches found that the more envy someone experiences, the worse they felt about themselves, leading to a drop in self-confidence and self-esteem.

However, it's easy to get caught up in comparing your life to others. If you find yourself stuck in comparison, remind yourself of your own successes and the opportunities you have through your qualities and skills. A journaling practice, especially gratitude journaling, can help remind you of everything your life possesses and keep you from comparing yourself to others.

2. Practice Positive Self-talk

The words you speak to yourself play a role in your mental health. If you feed yourself negative words or self-sabotaging thoughts, such as "I'm not worthy" or "I'm not good enough," you'll develop a negative mindset. However, when you feed your mind with positivity and talk to yourself intentionally, you can develop a positive mindset.

If you're feeling a lack of self-confidence, double down on the way you speak to yourself. Make positive self-talk a priority, as it can help build up your self-confidence and develop a mindset that makes you trust your capabilities.

3. Build a Supportive Network & Community

The people you choose to put in your life can impact the way you feel about yourself. As the saying goes, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with—this applies directly to building self-confidence. 

If you choose a confident and supportive network, you'll not only take on their qualities, but they will also build you up through their supportive attitudes. However, if you surround yourself with people who lack self-confidence and/or don't take the time to help you become confident, you'll find yourself lacking the confidence you crave.

While it may be easy to blame yourself for a lack of self-confidence, the people you spend the most time with are a key factor. Being intentional with who you surround yourself with can create a path to your own self-confidence.

4. Sit or Stand In a Power Pose

Body language works wonders. It doesn't just speak to others, but it also sends signals to yourself and your subconscious—the part of your mind that is not fully aware but influences your actions and feelings. For example, when you slouch while sitting on the couch, you may start to feel tired or lazy, but when you sit upright, you'll likely feel more alert.

But how does your posture on the couch have to do with building self-confidence? Well, it doesn't, I just know we all can relate to indulging in a dose of coach potato-ness, so it's the perfect example to illustrate how your posture impacts your action and feelings.

Now, let's take something a little more serious: a high-stakes task like a job interview. A Harvard study researched if one's non-verbal behavior—their posture, for example—could improve their performance in an evaluated task. Specifically, if power posing impacts performance and self-confidence. The study found people who demonstrated power poses experienced significantly higher performance levels than those who did not.

To apply this in your own life, focus on how you carry yourself. If you catch yourself feeling low or incapable, check your posture. Being intentional with your posture can affect the way you feel about yourself and how you perform—it can help you gain confidence in yourself.

5. Work In an Manageable Zone of Difficult

Completing tasks or goals can help boost your self-confidence sometimes. When you achieve something, it builds a positive self-belief system—which aids your ability to trust your skills. This gives you the confidence to face your next challenge and can start a domino effect.

If your self-confidence is low, look to complete a task or a challenge to ignite your confidence flame. However, choosing a simple, easy task won't give you that much a boost, and something way over your head may drain your self-confidence. Instead, focus on a concept introduced by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: working in a manageable zone of difficulty.

To boost your self-confidence, you need just enough satisfaction from completing a task, goal, or challenge—you don't need to make headline-breaking news. Working on challenges of just manageable difficulty—not too easy, not too hard—is a good way to avoid failure but just enough to feel like you earned your achievement. Confidence boosted.

Benefits of Building Self-confidence

  1. Increases performance: When you build confidence, you feel more motivated and capable of achieving your goals. You will see an overall boost in your performance levels. 
  2. Improves your overall well-being: Self-confidence improves your mindset, outlook on life, and self-image. Focus on gaining confidence to improve your overall well-being.
  3. Motivation will be easier to find: Developing self-confidence gives you the excitement to face challenges every day. Without it, motivation won't knock on your door in the morning.
  4. Greater chances of achieving your goals: Goals are hard to achieve when you have a low self-esteem. When you gain self-confidence, you'll have more trust in your ability to achieve your goals, leading to better results.
  5. Less fear and anxiety: Fear and anxiety are two common feelings people struggle with. Self-confidence can free you from those feelings and help develop a clear, positive mindset.
  6. Abundant self-worth: Self-confidence and self-worth go hand in hand. When you trust your skills and abilities, you'll have a positive outlook on your own worth.
  7. Frees your mind of negative thoughts:  Low self-esteem and/or self-confidence can spark negativity within your mind. High levels of confidence, on the other hand, can help invite positive thoughts into your life, and free you of negative ones.

Confident vs. Unconfident Behavior

Confident Behavior Unconfident Behavior
Doing what feels like the next best step for your life. Not doing what you think is best for you because you're worried about judgment.
Owning up to your mistakes and using them as a learning opportunity. Doing everything you can to hide your mistakes so you don't appear weak to others.
Being open to life outside your comfort zone, taking risks, and accepting challenges that require all of your efforts. Living inside your comfort zone and running from anything that feels risky and audacious.
Showing up every day to work toward a goal even though you know it may take a while to achieve. Deciding to quit on a goal because you haven't seen any results after a few days of work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Self-confidence is the most important quality for building new relationships, finding motivation, achieving your goals, having higher levels of self-worth, and increasing your overall performance. This is just a short list of why self-confidence is important. At a high level, self-confidence is important because it improves the quality of your life.

Low self-confidence can be a tangent of different situations, which differ for each person. For example, past life experiences, genes, epigenetics, poor academic or work performances, abusive relationships, injury, and mental illnesses like anxiety or depression can cause low self-confidence.

Because self-confidence is the state of trusting your abilities and skills, it often to relates to someone knowing they perform something well. For example, a public speaker knowing they can give a perfect speech shows they are confident; or a pianist who knows they can play all the scales on a piano well is an example of self-confidence.

There’s nothing wrong with being confident. While others may become jealous of you, that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Being confident gives you the greatest opportunity to improve the quality of your life, achieve your goals, and have high levels of self-worth.

In this confidence article, I outlined five larger steps you can take to build your self-confindence. However, there are also other simple confidence-building exercises you can do:

  • Smile more
  • Celebrate your small wins
  • Reflect on past achievements
  • Focus on positive thoughts
  • Be grateful for the skills you have
  • Set achievable goals
  • Listen to uplifting music

Here are things to say to boost someone’s confidence:

  • “You are capable.”
  • “I believe in you.”
  • “You are worthy.”
  • “That was brave.”
  • “You are successful.”
  • “Let’s do it together.”
  • “I support you.”
  • “You are courageous.”
  • “I have faith in you.”
  • “You are enough.”
  • “You make me proud.”

Bottom Line

Learning how to build self-confidence can improve the quality of your life and self-worth. With higher levels of self-esteem, you will feel more happy, positive, and have an encouraging outlook on life. Use these five confidence tips to help you trust your skills and abilities.


Jordan Tarver is a lead editor at Forbes, a keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of You Deserve This Sh!t.
He’s transformed over 30,000 lives through his book, amassed more than 200,000 devoted followers, and garnered over 60 million views online. Jordan is on a mission to empower people and organizations to unlock exponential growth and expansive possibilities.

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