Remember your very first date? The first time you went dancing in a club? The first time you gave a presentation at school?
Most likely you felt a little nervous in those situations, and a bit scared of embarrassing yourself.
Yet a few dates, club nights and presentations later your confidence in those situations improved.
So here’s the thing:
Competence breeds confidence.
And if you lack confidence in certain areas of your life, most likely it’s because you don’t have any experience under your belt.
That’s why I’d like to show you 7 hobbies that will allow you to gain experience in situations that most people feel uncomfortable in.
By taking on one of those hobbies you’ll be able to build real and lasting confidence in a pragmatic way.
Let’s jump right in:
1. Stand up comedy classes
If you are scared of public speaking, Stand Up Comedy might be the perfect hobby to take on.
You’ll learn how to bring out your natural humor in front of an audience, overcome stage fright and learn how to structure a show. All of which are skills which will make you more confident in other areas of your life as well.
There are many courses out there that take you from absolute beginner to your first show in 5 days. Don’t worry about being nervous – these classes are used to scared beginners and provide a supportive environment.
So if you’d like to become more confident on stage while becoming funnier in the process, Stand Up Comedy might be the perfect new hobby to start.
2. Explore different sub cultures
Man people are confident around their friends, but feel uncomfortable socializing with strangers.
In my experience being confident around a certain group of people is just the result of you being around that group of people often.
So make it a point to stretch your comfort zone when it comes to people: If you’re nerdy, make friends with fitness junkies. If you are more of a green juice yoga girl, make friends with a someone who likes to party. If you’re working in finance, befriend artists.
Being able to roll with a range of different people and being able to relate and have fun is a great confidence booster. It will also make you more open minded in the process.
3. Go out sober once in a while
This isn’t really a hobby, but rather an activity you can try.
Next time you go out partying, pour yourself a glass of tonic water and tell your friends it’s Gin Tonic. (We all know how good friends can be;)
Then have a full night of going out sober and see how it makes you feel. Most likely you’ll be surprised how intimidating the nightlife environment can be without having your booze (even if you’re a seasoned partier).
Yet you’ll find that by the end of the night you’ll be as relaxed as your drunk friends, just sharper between the ears.
In my experience going out sober builds confidence, simply because you acclimatize to hectic social situations without using alcohol.
Try it once in a while, and see how it makes you feel.
4. Try out martial arts
Many people are scared of confrontation.
While not getting yourself into fights is a good thing, many people wish they could feel more confident about their ability to defend themselves or their friends in a dangerous situation.
If that’s you I recommend trying a few martial arts classes. You don’t have to become a Kung Fu master – just try some kickboxing classes or whatever interests you and invest a few weeks.
I did kickboxing for a year when I was 16 and to this day I feel quite confident in my ability to defend myself.
Just knowing you can if you had to will help your confidence a lot, and it’s great exercise as well.
5. Improvisational theatre classes
A common public speaking fear is “What if I forget what I wanted to say?”.
Improv classes will eliminate that fear for you forever. I attended an improv class before and was surprised how much easier a presentation felt that I had to give the week after the class.
Improv is a form of theatre where the scene is made up in the moment: actors are given roles or are put in situations spontaneously, and then have to improvise a show.
Especially if you’re the type of person that tends to overthink what you want to say in your head, joining an improv class will help you become a more intuitive and sharp conversationalist.
And like Stand Up Comedy it will make you more confident on stage.
Travel is a gentle comfort zone stretcher and generally a fun activity to do.
It teaches you to navigate unfamiliar environments, figure out how to get places you don’t know, and will make you are more resourceful and open-minded human being.
I recommend travelling at least once in a while to an unfamiliar place.
It doesn’t mean you have to fly anywhere: Start locally and visit places that are close to you, but you haven’t been to before.
For many people their level of education can be the cause of many insecurities.
They fear coming across as stupid, or feel timid around people that they perceive as “smarter than them”.
Especially in a world that is changing at such a fast pace it can be easy to feel inadequate about what you know.
That’s why I recommend making self-education a hobby: read books, watch documentaries, listen to audiobooks.
You’ll expose yourself to new ideas, understand the world a little better and learn to trust your own opinion…
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the list.
You’d be surprised by how quickly you can become more confident in different areas of your life.
After a few hours of experience most of your fears will lose its charge, and voilà – your confidence improves.
If you resonated with this article and want to learn more about pragmatic self development, please check out my article on Why Trying To “Learn Smart” Is Holding You Back (And What To Do About It)
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.