The Confidence Feedback Loop

One of the most popular articles I’ve ever written covered the subject of building self confidence. The chief criticism of this article was that you can’t just decide to be confident. You either have confidence or you don’t.

This type of thinking is flat out wrong and harmful to those who subscribe to it. The reason you CAN choose to become confident is the confidence feedback loop.

You might not be able to control your level of confidence, but you can control your actions. You can choose to act in ways that confident people act, even if you aren’t confident. I’ve experience that simply acting confident helps, but an even more important factor is the perception of others.

As one astute commenter pointed out, there is no outward difference between a truly confident person and a person who is posing as confident. The outside signals are the same, so observers perceive both people as confident. They treat both people with the admiration and respect commanded by confident people.

This is the confidence feedback loop. Once others start to treat you like a confident person, you start to believe it. The confidence you were faking before becomes real, leading to more positive feedback, leading to more confidence. It’s a virtuous cycle.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. 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.

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