Why You Should Be Confident: Part 1
It’s very hard to tell someone how (and why) to be confident. I mean, you can tell them all day, but it’s almost something you need to feel for yourself in order to fully understand it.
Some people try to approach this from the outside in. For example, they model the behaviors of confident people. Confident people do x, y, and z, so they try to copy x, y, and z. While this approach has its merits, it also has its issues. Just for the sake of example, let’s look at the following three behaviors that confident people tend to have:
1) good eye contact
2) expecting people to listen when you speak
3) taking up a lot of space (as opposed to trying to make yourself small, hunched over, turning sideways, etc.)
So let’s say you identify these 3 behaviors and decide to copy them yourself.
The problem with just blatantly copying those behaviors is that yes, confident people do them, but they do them automatically. When you are consciously trying to do those things, you hesitate because you’re not actually congruent with them. What this means is you don’t identify yourself as someone who should do those things. There are small microexpressions and such that give away that you aren’t congruent with them. Now keep in mind, people aren’t consciously noticing these microexpressions and stuff; it’s all subconscious. But our brains are wired to pick up on them. Call it a part of “vibes” or “energy.”
So let’s look at number 1. Good eye contact. There is a subtle difference between a confident person giving good eye contact, and a person who lacks confidence trying to do good eye contact. The first person will look at you and maintain good eye contact. The second person will look at you, but might look down for a millisecond (automatically) and then remember “no, wait, I’m supposed to be giving good eye contact” and correct and refix his gaze. Even though the two behaviors are virtually indistinguishable, subconsciously people will pick up on the difference.
Let’s look at number 2. Expecting people to listen when you speak. If you are high value, people probably listen when you speak. Therefore, high value people can expect other people to listen when they speak because they are used to it. Therefore, acting as if you are used to people listening when you speak is a high value behavior. But when unconfident people try this for the first time, it doesn’t come off as authentic. They miscalibrate, or they try too hard, as if they are over-acting on stage.