How to be More Confident

I recently read an article by Seth Godin called:
Turning the habit of self-criticism upside down

It was a very interesting article when he shared his thoughts on dealing with setbacks:
“When it’s time to write a resume or talk to a boss or discuss a project glitch with colleagues, the instinct is to spin, to avoid a little responsibility, to sit quietly. Put a best face forward, don’t set yourself up.

When reviewing just about anything you’ve done with yourself (in your head), the instinct is to be brutal, relentlessly critical and filled with doubt and self-blame.

What if they were reversed?

What if the habit of the project review meeting was for each person to put their worst foot forward, to identify every item that they learned from? What if we took responsibility as a way of getting more authority next time?

And the flip side–when talking to ourselves, what if we were a little more supportive?”

It got me thinking; what if it is was reversed?
What would happen if you told your bosses, I did this wrong and I need help to improve, I want your feedback? What would happen if you started telling yourself, I learned, I did well, let’s get back on the horse and try again?

Be your own cheerleader
I think this thought is very important. If you keep motivating yourself to try again, to try harder, never give up and take every possible opportunity to learn by asking your peers, bosses and employees we would quickly become widely successful.

The Chinese Proverb comes to mind:
“One who asks questions is a fool for 5 minutes, one who does not ask questions remains a fool forever.”

How to change your inner dialogue
The most efficient method I have found to change your inner dialogue is to start saying more and more positive things to yourself until it becomes a habit.
Start saying things like “I like myself” “I am great” “I do this well” “I can do it!”

And soon it will become habit so that every time you have a setback you will reply with, that is okay, let’s do it again, time to learn, time to improve, I can do it!

By changing the way you talk to yourself you can change your life
A negative inner dialogue is one of the most common causes of stress and depression. By changing that dialogue you can break many negative cycles which will free up a lot of positive energy for yourself.

Application Exercises
1. Start Using Self-Affirmations
Tell yourself every morning “I like myself” “I am great” “I do this well” “I can do it!”.
If you don’t believe me that this works, try it out for 30 days.

2. Stop laying blame
Start taking responsibility for your mistakes and make sure to learn.
All the energy you spend today trying to cover up your mistakes can be used in a much better way; it can be used to make positive change.

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  4. With Our Thoughts, We Make The World
  5. Go the Extra Mile and You Will be Rewarded
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17 Responses to How to be More Confident

  1. In any sales position, if you don’t have confidence, you’re dead in the water. I learned that on a daily basis, it seems. Inner dialogue is critical to success. You’re absolutely right, if that “self talk” isn’t favorable, you’d better change it!!

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Joe,
      Having a negative self image can be devestating. LIke you said, if you go into a sales situation without confidence, it will be very tough for you to perform.

  2. Frank says:


    Great spin on a timeless action. I know I don’t know it all and I think that is why I continue to push myself to higher hieghts. I spend most of my time trying to figure out what I don’t know instead of boasting about what I do. That was not always the case. I used to (just yesterday before I read this article) brag about my abilities. Now I am humbled becasue I know there will always be someone who knows more than I do. In fact there are a lot of people who know more than I do.

    I am a continual student. This actually boosts my confidence. I am confident in my ability to learn anything and accomplish whatever I need to do.

    I have to go now. I need to do some more affirmations. I have a big meeting tomorrow. :-)

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Frank.
      Humility is important, you have to be able to see your limitations and you need to be able to work with others.
      But don’t become to humble, be proud of what you know, of what you can do, of what you have accomplished.

      Stand proud and glad when you think about it.
      Let your confidence shine through, but be so confident that you don’t need to tell people why you are the best ;)

  3. Hi Daniel,

    Yes to being our own cheerleader. We are our always our worst critics. The worst part is that we start to believe the horrors we tell ourselves.
    I always said that we would probably punch someone who spoke to us the way we speak to ourself.
    This isn’t a one time action , but a continual process. Making sure we watch the way we talk to ourselves, just like we make sure we watch what we say to our boss.

    Great post Daniel, I really enjoyed.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey John,

      If you hate what you say to yourself, then you are realy saying the wrong things.
      It is important that our own self talk is positive and respectful. Because we care so much about ourselves what we tell ourselves hurt more than when someone else says it.

  4. Great advice Daniel. I couldn’t agree more.

    I used to manage a lot of people and other managers and I had one rule (ok, I had more than one rule, but this was a big one): Mistakes are ok and even expected, but lying about it is not. We created an environment where employees knew that if they made a mistake and owned up to it, they would be given all the support possible. I would personally have their back, no matter what their job was. But if they tried to cover it up, they were on their own.

    Some might think that this would lead to less control and tons of mistakes, but it was the opposite – people took more risks, came up with more creative solutions and there was an atmosphere of trust instead of fear. And because employees weren’t afraid to mess up, they also weren’t afraid to ask their coworkers and managers for help, which led to much better communication and overall much fewer actual mistakes. And you don’t have to be hard on anyone (not the employees and not yourself). Mistakes are just learning opportunities, really.


    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      It is human to make mistakes.
      That is how life works, we make mistakes and hopefully learn.
      It is very impressive that you successfuly created such a trusting atmosphere.

      I can really see the value in it. I try to do the same at my job.

  5. Rob says:

    Hey Daniel,
    Great article and I also love John’s take in the comments. I do believe that we must be willing to be our own thought guardian. Does it make sense for me to have defeating thoughts? Why do I fail all the time? Etc. I am firm on momentum stacking: Building upon small victories and snowballing them into even bigger ones.
    Thoughts can defeat or empower. The thing is, we get to choose which.
    Live it LOUD!

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Rob,

      Great point about the snowball metaphore.
      When we build on past success and use it for future success you create a positive spirat that can quickly lift you to new hights.

      Thoughts are very powerful, but they are completely in our control. We can chose.

  6. Mike says:

    “A negative inner dialogue is one of the most common causes of stress and depression.”

    As someone who has suffered from both depression and anxiety disorders for over forty years, I find this statement outrageous, dangerous, and totally unsupported by modern research. Depression and anxiety disorders are not something you can snap out of by just telling yourself affirmations, and your statement can harm people by having them fall into the old trap of blaming themselves when they can’t treat their own depression or anxiety by themselves, instead of seeking professional treatment. Your statement could also reinforce the horrible idea that we’ve fought so long to overcome, that people with depression and anxiety are weak, and are just feeling sorry for themselves. It harkens back to the days when alcoholics were thought to just be weak of will.

    Depression and anxiety disorders are serious medical problems, with possibly fatal outcomes, and the sentence from the article in question is irresponsible, and never should have been published.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Mike,

      Thank you for sharing your views and experience on this subject Mike.
      Building confidence and relieving smaller depressive breaks are very different from the kind of dissorders you have experienced.

      My brother has aspergers syndrom, I do not expect him to change this by using a positive mindset.

      Depression, true depression, takes a lot of work to turn around, there is no quick fix. I am very much positive to getting proffessional help.

      I have myself gone through a depressive period, not one that needed medical or proffessional intervention but one that was deep enough and is the one most people live through in their lives.
      For that typ of depressive problems Self-affirmations can make a big difference.

      When you start falling into anxiety attacks and the more deeply rooted problems it takes a deeper approach.

  7. Good post Daniel. It’s really got me to thinking. Thanks

  8. Timo Kiander says:


    Negative inner-dialogue closes door, whereas positive one opens them.

    I think that it is important to see the lessons in everything, since that is the only way to grow yourself.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Timo,

      Thanks for stopping by buddy.
      Your inner dialogue makes a big difference for how you view the world.
      If it is postiive you will see a lot opportunitities.

  9. Pingback: How to motivate yourself « c# to javascript, actionscript

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