When I was younger, I was a very shy guy. I often wondered how it would feel to be confident like a rap star. I mean, does Snoop Dogg ever feel insecure? Could you picture a shy rap star? How would you feel if you just didnít care about what other people thought? How awesome would it be to feel comfortable in every situation?
Itís just a stupid dream, right? Nobody in the world is always confident and feels comfortable in every situation (except Snoop Dogg, of course).
Being a shy guy, I was sure that’s just how I was born. Shyness is in my genes, you know. I’m an introvert, so I’m just going to spend my life following other people and hiding in the shadows. A glorious life ahead!
Fortunately a few years later I stumbled upon some self-improvement books and read ìThe Gameî by Neil Strauss. Neil went from an ubergeek to an ultra-confident guy. And then I thought maybe, just maybe, my genes don’t have anything to do with my shyness and I too can become confident like Snoop Dogg. And so began my journey toward self-confidence:
Fast-forward a few years and here I am writing a post with advice on how to become confident like a rap star. Life’s funny, donít you think?
Anyway, I’m not here to tell you the story of my life. This short introduction was just my way of saying that you, too, can get rid of your shyness and become confident. You’re not shy by nature. Here are 11 simple tips on how to go about it.
1. Improve your body
No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training! What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
Well said, Soc.
This one is imperative, for one simple reason: if you aren’t fit, you aren’t healthy. If you arenít healthy, you can’t enjoy life as much as a healthy person. If you can’t enjoy your life to the fullest, you can’t feel 100% confident.
If you’re looking for a permanent confidence booster, get rid of your belly and get a flat stomach. If you already have a flat stomach, put on some muscle. If your body is already perfect, then what are you doing here? (Just kidding, read on!)
Working out improves your physique and that alone will tremendously improve your self-confidence (do professional bodybuilders ever feel shy?). Improving your outer game DOES improve your inner game.
Don’t forget that weightlifting isnít only about training ñ itís about training AND proper diet. I’m a big fan of Martin Berkhan’s Leangains approach which is a nice mix of healthy eating with some indulgence.
If you’re not into resistance training, pick any other sport that will help you improve your body. Extreme sports are great. So is running, cycling or simply walking. Get off your ass and become active ñ as Mark Rippetoe said, ‘we have not spent the last 65 million or so years finely honing our physiology to watch Oprah.’
2. Expand your comfort zone
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca is one of my favorite philosophers for a reason.
Do you know why you’re shy? Because you simply don’t dare to be confident. I can assure you of one thing, if you’re going to avoid every situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, youíll never become confident. This is extremely important, so please burn it into your brain.
Being confident is difficult for you because you probably avoid every situation which could help you become more confident. Face your fears and make it a daily habit to do at least one thing that scares you.
Every time you avoid a situation that makes you feel insecure, you’re basically saying ‘sorry, I donít want to be confident, let me be shy.’ The choice is yours!
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
Traveling alone is one of the best ways of improving your self-confidence. When you travel alone to a foreign (preferably exotic) country, youíll face many challenges: loneliness on the road, homesickness, strange and hard-to-understand cultural differences.
Youíll have to face these problems alone and that will tremendously improve your confidence. Travel builds character. If you had survived culture shock (and hundreds of aggressive panhandlers) in Morocco, would you feel shy speaking in front of a small crowd?
Maybe, but I’m sure you that you wouldnít feel as nervous as you would feel if you hadn’t traveled somewhere alone. Traveling (and its challenges) changes your perception of uncomfortable situations.
Donít forget that when you’re away from home, youíre free of labels given to you by people that know you. Sometimes these labels are negative and can hold you back. If you are in a completely new place and have to create a new social circle, you can become a completely different person. Moving to another country is one of the easiest ways to completely redesign your life!
4. Chill out
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Do you live your life in a constant rush? If so, Iím not surprised that you’re reading this article (no offense, just stating a fact!). If youíre constantly hurrying somewhere, youíre constantly nervous and stressed. Can you feel confident if you’re tense? I donít think so.
Learn to relax. Spend at least 30 minutes a day relaxing. Whether it’s listening to music, reading books, walking, running, meditating, weightlifting or having fun with your friends, do something that relaxes you. Stress kills your self-confidence (and you, if you didnít know it yet).
Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
One of the most characteristic traits of shy people is their love for electronics and especially computers and the Internet. If you were to picture a typical shy guy, you would probably picture a guy with big glasses sitting in front of a computer playing video games.
Don’t get me wrong, all you fans of video games: it’s okay to play them from time to time. However, you have to remember that these games (as well as the Internet and TV) make you anti-social. Itís funny how new technology brings people together, but at the same time alienates them.
Spend less time on Facebook, less time watching TV or browsing the Internet, and start living more in the real world. Instead of texting with someone, meet him and talk face to face. Instead of poking a girl (or guy) on Facebook, get her number, call her and do something fun together. Instead of uploading new photos on Facebook, take a trip with your friends.
Be creative and do fun things in the real world. Make your life more interesting and youíll become way more confident.
6. Be positive
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
People who live a happier life are usually more self-confident. Moreover, they tend to have many great friends. Who doesn’t want to be around a positive person?
By being a negative person, youíre only making your life miserable. Read 10 Ways To Be Happy, On Purpose to learn how to become a positive person.
Get rid of your negative thoughts and fill your mind with positive ones. Youíll bring more positivity into your life and, along with more positivity, more self-confidence!
7. Learn by imitation
By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius was a really sharp guy. Imitation is indeed the easiest way to learn. You can easily use this technique to learn to become confident. Start meeting more often with highly confident people. Observe how they act and learn from them.
How do they move? How do they speak? How do they interact with people? How do they dress? What are their values? Take notes!
If you don’t know any highly confident people, itís time to expand your social circle. In the meantime, you can learn from movies. For example, recently I finished watching all of the James Bond movies. Why?
Besides having great fun, I’d been watching these movies because James Bond is probably the best icon of self-confidence and there’s a lot to learn from him. Every actor that has played James Bond can teach you something about self-confidence.
Observe Sean Connery’s James Bond: he’s the definition of style and elegance. Analyze Roger Moore’s James Bond: he’s quick-witted and very laid-back. Learn from Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond: he’s a master of seduction.
There are many movies that you can learn from, but observing confident people in the real world is still the best way to learn by imitation. So find these people and spend time with them!
8. Don’t hesitate
Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.
Confident people are decisive. Every time you hesitate, you come off like a shy person. Use the three-seconds rule (coined by the famous so-called ‘pick-up artist’ Mystery) to become a more decisive person and kill hesitation.
The three-seconds rule is very simple: when you see a girl youíd like to approach, you need to approach her in three seconds (even if you have no idea what to say). The longer you hesitate, the more insecure you are (i.e., you probably won’t act). Act instantly and there’s a great chance that youíll succeed.
It can be extended to many other things, including working on your confidence in general. When you are in a situation where you don’t feel confident (for example, before asking a question in public), act in three seconds. Donít hesitate. Just do it. Youíll be fine. Most often the scariest part is to start.
9. Set challenges and plan adventures
There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man.
Life is very boring if youíre following the same routine as everyone else. Itís no wonder that youíre shy if you never do anything interesting! Accomplish something admirable and Iím sure that youíll greatly improve your self-esteem.
Make your life more interesting by setting challenges for yourself. Every challenge will make you a more confident person (the more you accomplish, the more successful and confident you’ll feel).
Here are a few simple ideas for challenges:
- become fluent in a new language in 6 months (yes, it’s possible);
- travel to a remote place or spend some time in the wilderness alone (remember to prepare yourself!)
- set fitness goals (bench press 200 lbs, squat 300 lbs, run a marathon)
10. Approach random strangers and chitchat with people
A stranger is just a friend I havenít met yet.
Do you engage in small talk with your neighbors, shop assistants or even random strangers? If not, why not?
Small talk with strangers is one of the best ways to work on your confidence. And not only that ñ it also improves your social skills which are very useful in everyday life (they also build your confidence around people).
I have a challenge for you ñ every day, for the next 30 days, youíre going to initiate a conversation with at least one person (a stranger). The goal is to start a conversation and be friendly to other people, nothing more.
You can ask simple questions (ask for the time or directions), compliment someone (‘I love your shirt, where did you get it?’) or comment on something (‘what beautiful weather!’). It doesn’t matter what the response is. Just start a conversation. Learn more about the art of talking with strangers by reading The Shy Personís Guide to Talking to Strangers.
11. Never give up
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Confident people don’t give up. Period. How can you be a confident person if you are a constant quitter? The day you quit is the day you start living a life of regret. And that kills self-confidence.
You can accomplish almost anything if you just stick to it long enough. If you want to become confident, promise yourself that you wonít give up until you achieve your goal.
Develop a ‘never give up’ mentality. Itís an extremely important trait of every self-confident person. Take your life in your hands and never, ever, give up on something that is important to you!
To tell you the truth, I still sometimes feel insecure and I don’t feel comfortable in every situation. But you know what? Iím okay with that. Iím getting better with every day. And thatís what counts.
Start with a single step and focus every day on being more confident than you were yesterday. Rome wasnít built in a day, Snoop Dogg didnít become Snoop Dogg in a day, you wonít become confident like a rap star overnight.
Martin helps shy people become confident by sending them a free newsletter with advice on how to do it. Click here to sign up for his free e-course and further lessons.
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