1. Change your wording.

There is no such thing as failure if you actually went for something but the outcome wasn’t what you desired. Yes, you didn’t get what you wanted but you did learn something.

If you don’t use what you learn to improve yourself, then you’re a failure. As long as you are improving and learning, you’re never truly failing. You may be learning slowly but as long the trend is accumulation rather than degradation of knowledge, you’re doing just fine.

Small improvements, over time, result in big time change. Focus on improving the process. The outcome will take care of itself.

2. Believe that nothing is impossible.

The universe says only two things are impossible: perpetual motion and violation of causality. In other words, everything runs out of energy and you can’t reverse the flow of time.

If it’s been done before, it can be done again. It may be difficult and it may require more than you’re willing or able to give, but whatever you want can be accomplished.

You’re probably missing out on some of the best things in life because you believe that it’s impossible for you to have greatness. Nothing is impossible. Believe this, even when the circumstances say otherwise.

3. You are insignificant.

Scientist estimate that it’s about 13.82 billion years old. I’ll write it again differently so that the point is made. The universe is 13,000,000,000,000 years.

That’s 15 digits long. You’re only going to live 2 digits long. Maybe 3 if you’re really lucky. This means that your life is effectively worthless. The blink of an eye last 300 to 400 milliseconds. That’s roughly a 1/3 of a second. If the universe were an eye, you don’t even live for 1/10 of its blink.

Don’t worry about what others think of you because they aren’t going to be alive or matter much in the long run. If you’re afraid of people making fun of you or looking stupid in front of them, it won’t be long until both of you are dead and forgotten. You better make the most of this eye blink of an existence.

4. Do what makes you happy.

Happiness is a subjective idea and I’m not a fan of subjective life advice, so I’ll make this more concrete: do the thing which overlaps with your minimum income requirements for a stress-free life and brings you the greatest enjoyment.

Most people mess this one up. As a result, they lack confidence for one of two reasons: they spend their life doing something they hate or they’re broke as hell. It’s hard to be confident when you hate most of your life. It’s also hard to be confident if you’re broke with no prospects for making money.

5. Money neither provides nor deprives you of happiness.

People who say that money can’t buy happiness have it wrong. People who say that it can ALSO have it wrong. Money buys freedom. Freedom is a really nice thing to have, but if your mind isn’t free then it doesn’t matter how financially free you are.

Lottery winners fall back into debt all the time because their minds aren’t free but their financial limitations are effectively eradicated. Prisons are full of people who were chasing money but their minds were still a slave to low-level thinking.

The more freedom you have, the more confident you can be. You probably have some shackles on your mind which keep you from taking chances and doing the things that will make you happy and confident.

6. Vanity, superiority or arrogance can be powerful tools when used in the right context.

If you need to channel vanity or the need to feel superior to act, then so be it. When I was afraid to randomly talk to girls during the day, I used to get myself to act by worrying about being made fun of for being afraid.

When I realized that a lot of my friends were just as scared, I told myself that I had to do it because I was better than them. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. All that matters is that I took action. The action got me results.

The more action you take, the easier it is to fool yourself into being confident. This is because nothing makes you feel better than success. One of the strongest barriers to success is getting caught up in your thoughts. This is the infamous analysis paralysis. The cure is simple: act first, worry later.

7. “Fake it till you make it”.

I once read that “it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting”. Confidence is a state of mind and nothing else.

At the end of the day, it’s a thought process which makes you act with the conviction that your desires will come to pass. If you take physical action that leads you closer to your desire–even if you don’t believe you can do it when you start–your confidence will gradually increase.

Doing it the opposite way doesn’t work. Psyching yourself up seems to make you even more nervous and thus more likely to make an have an unfavorable outcome. Then we’re back at step 1.

Physical action is the easiest way to fake it until you make it. Taking a step in the direction of your goal, no matter how small, convinces you that it can actually be accomplished . This is what’s really meant by faking it till you make it.

8. Very few things in this world are objectively true.

The only thing that matters is what you believe. These last two sentences contain a lot of power if you know how to harness it.

Learn to lie to yourself. If you can tell yourself a convincing lie that gets you to act, it’s more useful than a thousand little truths that give you reasons why you won’t succeed. When objective reality and your subjective perspective clash, you’ll feel resistance from the universe. The more outrageous your perspective, the harder reality will try to beat you into submission.

You can believe anything you want about yourself that isn’t included in point two. If it makes you feel confident that you’ll achieve your goal, it doesn’t really matter. Reality wants things to be one way, but the power of confidence is that it gives you the power to make things another way.

9. Almost nothing works the right way the first time.

Or the second time. And most times not on the tenth try either. Who knows how long it’ll take but as long as you’re learning from each time, you’ll get there eventually.

Building confidence takes patience to realize that not all actions and changes are instantaneous. Most people are going to give up on their dreams. They aren’t prepared to sweat, suffer, and endure embarrassment and disappointment.

The world will mercilessly sap your confidence if you believe that everything you do should have an instant effect and be perfect.  Your failures will reduce your will to that of a petulant child if you approach the world and your dreams in this manner.

10. Always give back to the world in whatever capacity you can.

No matter where you are in life, there is something that you can do to make another person’s life better. There is some lesson that only you can impart.

Even a murderer on death row can serve as a reminder to people about the pitfalls of life to avoid. You can either be a great example or a horrible warning.

Watching people improve their lives or avoid tragedy from your advice will reaffirm your self-confidence. Helping the world has a weird way of coming back to you.

More powerful ways to build confidence

I've written more extensively about confidence in this book.

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