How are successful people so damn confident? Is confidence hardcoded in their genes?

I am going to let you in on a little secret. The truth is that even successful confident people go through phases in which their self-confidence may not be the highest. They even doubt and second-guess themselves. But what sets them apart from the rest is their mental attitude. When something doesn’t go their way they don’t let it bring them down. Instead, they learn from it and become better. They are resilient individuals who are not afraid to continue to improve their skills.

Confidence is an attitude one has towards life and built from practice and experience. 

Confidence is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learned. It is not hardcoded in our genes. Just like many people who learn to ride a bicycle, drive a car, or play an instrument, you are able to learn to be confident in any situation.

Adding the word self to confidence suggests that one believes they are competent. A person could be confident that they can take care of every day tasks such as cooking, their job, and their finances, but they could doubt that they can give a lecture in front of a large audience or perform heart surgery. This means someone can be confident in one area but not confident in another area. 

One way someone starts to increase self-confidence is to get out of the comfort zone and discover just how far more capable they are then they imagine. Confidence activates the same parts of the brain which are activated by drugs and love. Just like when someone is addicted to a drug or when someone feels love, a little taste of confidence results in a surge of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and testosterone which increases the level of confidence.

While many hormones are released due to confidence and they have their own ways of being released and the results they cause, we will focus on one important mechanism:

  • Neurons release Dopamine to send signals to other cells.
  • Neurotransmitter receptors receive signals that triggers an electrical signal. 
  • When a neurotransmitter such as Dopamine binds to a receptor, the intended message is delivered.
  • Dopamine is related to the reward system in the brain. It informs you that it likes something or gives you indications of success. This is why just a little bit of confidence is like a drug to your body and your body will crave more of it.  

How is Self-Esteem different from Confidence? 

Self-esteem is how you feel about your overall self. It develops from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today. If you have healthy self-esteem, you approve of yourself. 

Many people lack self-esteem because they disapprove of themselves, imagining they are failures and not good enough. People who want to improve self-esteem issues can do so by recognizing their own value so they can see themselves as acceptable and worthwhile.

As you can see, self-esteem and self-confidence share many similarities but are quite different.

Confidence can be a very effective tool to improve your quality of life. It will help you realize that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to.

Maybe you want to lose 10lbs, for some this may not be difficult but for others, it could be. Especially if they tried before and they were unsuccessful. Maybe you want you to run a 5-mile marathon in under 50 minutes but you are only able to do it in 1 hour and 10 minutes. A person with low self-confidence may quit or give up, but what do you do confident people do when they fail? They go for it and find a way to do it. They don’t give up. 

Let’s take a look at another example: you are looking for a job and you know you are a qualified candidate with credentials to back it up, but deep down inside you have a feeling that no matter what you do you fear that you will not get the job. This is a perfect example of being insecure. A confident person will apply to the job with confidence. They know that they are qualified and after all what is the worst that could happen? 

This means that fear plays a role in self-confidence. People who are afraid of rejection often find themselves struggling to make up their minds. In reality, there is nothing to fear. Sure it would be nice to get all the companies who you applied to say yes to you, but in reality, it only takes one company to say “yes.” If it means taking 1000s “No’s,” then so be it.

One of the most important things the confident people do is that they don’t take rejection so personally. The hiring manager may not hire you because you may be overqualified for the position and maybe they can’t afford you. It is important to understand that this is not a reflection of you and you should not hold it personally. 

A reporter once asked Thomas Edison, “how did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I did not fail 1,000 times, the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. I found 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.” Therefore, a 1,000 “No’s” are a thousand steps forward to a “Yes.” 

Failing opens doors to success. By failing you are able to see what does not work. All successful people have failed. It is how they handle and embrace the failure that makes them successful. By failing they are able to see what does not work. When you realize this, you will not fear failure and in fact, you will embrace it. 

As part of being the Confident version of yourself, make a commitment to yourself starting today.

  1. I will stop making excuses
  2. I take responsibility for my actions
  3. I will not blame others 
  4. I consider failures as lessons learned
  5. I am always confident in _________ situation 

The purpose of the amygdala is to prevent us from doing something new. It does this by releasing chemical impulses to get you out of the situation. This is when we get negative thoughts, anxiety, feel scared, and nervous whenever we are trying to do new things. The good news is you can trick your amygdala to stop acting like this. It takes 30 to 90 days to form new thought connections in your brain to form new habits. Once the task becomes a new habit your amygdala will cease to cause the negative anxiety feelings. I recommend writing these down on a piece of paper and sticking it to your bathroom mirror and reading them many times a day. Once you habitually practice reading these multiple times a day your brain will make new connections and the confidence will start become second nature.