How To Display Self-Confidence

Feb 13th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, confidence, mentor, negativity, self confidence

This week I engaged in a discussion on how to best to demonstrate self-confidence.  Before we even got started there was a big discussion on what self-confidence really is.  The difference came down to the comparison between two widely held definitions.   The classic dictionary definition – confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities, or a newer psychology based definition which states self-confidence is essentially an attitude, which allows us to have a positive and realistic perception of ourselves and our abilities.  There is a big difference between the two. The first is a personal inward looking assessment, and the other is an expressed attitude that is an external display.  Somewhere along the line, there seems to have been a shift from an inward looking personal assessment to outward display of ones perception of self.

Is a person who lacks self-confidence one who doubts his abilities or one whose attitude portrays them as non-assertive of their abilities? It seems like the Alpha personality has been interchanged or replaced with self-confidence.  If so, there is no real personal assessment of abilities connected with self-confidence, but only an attitude portraying no fear of dealing with a situation.  This is quite a shift in meaning.  When your doctor says that she is confident that she can successfully perform the operation; is she saying that she has the ability to perform the procedure or that she is not afraid to give it a try?  If I were the patient I may want to ask for clarification before signing on the dotted line.

There also seems to have been a shift in the outward signs that are interpreted as self-confidence.  Perhaps it is movies and television, which has changed how one demonstrates self-confidence.  When I was growing up most of the movie heroes were soft-spoken cowboys.  The strong silent type who always saved the day through superhuman courage, and would proclaim “Ah sucks it weren’t nothing”.  In today’s movie heroes are much more like the alpha personality stereotype.  This has translated into the workplace where assertiveness has become a measure of self-confidence.  In short your personality as introvert or extravert may determine how others perceive your self-confidence.

If you are a quiet person who is not prone to bragging, how do you express self-confidence?  The theory is that a person can learn to be more self-confident which in my view is a bit tricky.  For example, my golf game is really bad. My high handicap speaks for itself.  If you ask me about my golf game I will tell you that I enjoy playing but I am not very good at it.  My friends tell me that this demonstrates a lack of self-confidence. Instead I should never say anything negative about my golf, and only dwell on the good aspects of my game.  Perhaps they are right if self-confidence is an attitude, but if self-confidence is truly a self-assessment of my abilities then it would a misrepresentation to give the perception that I was a good golfer.  The truth is apparent in my score and high handicap.

Perhaps our discussion missed the point entirely.  Self-confidence is no longer an attribute but an attitude.  In the workplace and in our personal lives we are judged more on our attitude than accomplishments.  It is also much easier to groom yourself to display a positive can do attitude, then to actually have the underlying ability to perform the task.  You have probably experienced situations where the person who talked the loudest and knew the least got the promotion.  Then you were told that it was their self-confidence that won the day.

The point I am trying to make is the definition of self-confidence has shifted from an assessment of abilities to an assertive attitude.  If this has not registered with you to date, perhaps this will help you adapt to the new definition of self-confidence.  You should continue to trust your personal assessment of your abilities, but at the same time present a more assertive attitude.  Instead of an “ah sucks it wasn’t nothing” persona, you want to adopt a “Make my day” attitude.

The PracticaL Mentor.

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