Boost your confidence: 5 confidence building activities

A renowned life strategist, David J. Schwartz is still regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation. In his book The Magic of Thinking Big, he provides a go-to guide to a better life, starting with the way we think. One such lesson is the importance of confidence; I decided to put his teachings into practice following these five tips for building your self-confidence. 

By Amy Fisken


1. Be a front seater

'Ever notice in meetings - in church, classrooms, and other kinds of assemblies - how the back seats fill up first?'

Most people will scramble to the seats at the back so that they can appear less conspicuous and this is usually a sign that they lack confidence. 

Sitting at the front has the opposite effect; it can help to build confidence. Practice it, each meeting or talk that you attend, sit as close to the front as you can. As Schwartz says, 'Sure, you may be a little more conspicuous in the front, but remember there is nothing inconspicuous about success.'

2. Practice making eye contact

Many people struggle to make direct eye contact; this can often give off the impression that they are untrustworthy or afraid. Make your eyes work for you. 'Aim them right at the other person's eyes. It not only gives you confidence but it also wins you confidence, too.'

3. Walk 25 per cent faster

Schwartz describes how when he was younger he used to observe how people walked down the street. He claims that those who walk a little faster than the average person have a walk that tells the world, 'I've got someplace important to go, something important to do. What's more, I will succeed at what I will do 15 minutes from now.'

Use the walk-25-per-cent-faster technique to help build self-confidence. 'Throw your shoulders back, lift up your head, move ahead a little faster, and feel self-confidence grow.'

4. Practice speaking up.

The more you speak up, the more you add to your confidence, and the easier it is to speak up the next time. Speak up. He describes it as a 'confidence-building vitamin'. 

Put this confidence builder to use. Make it a rule to speak at every open meeting you attend. Say something voluntarily at every business conference, committee meeting, community forum you attend. Make no exception; this could be making a comment, a suggestion, or asking a question. Try to be the person to break the ice, the first one in with a comment. Don't leave it until the end to contribute. 

5. Smile big

Finally, you can't overlook the importance of a smile. A big smile actually gives you confidence. Schwartz claims that, 'A big smile beats fear, rolls away worry, defeats despondency. And a real smile does more than cure just your ill feeling. A real smile melts away the opposition of others - and instantly too.'

Often a person's response to this advice is to point out that when they fear something, or when they're angry, they don't feel like smiling. Schwartz points out, of course you don't, no one does. He claims that you actively have to tell yourself to smile, and then smile. He calls on us to 'harness the power of smiling.'

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