I first put together this post on 10 Inspirational TED Talks About Building Confidence back in 2018 back when I was still afraid to show up on camera. Needless to say, my confidence has grown a lot over the past few years. As of this update in May 2021 this is still my most popular post on Pinterest so I thought it would be a good time to add some of my own personality and tips to building confidence.
My top building confidence tip: Develop a confident mindset!
I’ve learned a lot over the years about building confidence, but I still have a long way to go. If you’re wondering how to be confident, start here! Mindset is vital to building your confidence levels. The first thing to understand about mindset is that it’s all in your, well, mind. There are many ways you can approach developing your mindset for confidence and you really have to be curious and figure out what works for you. Here are a few effective tools for developing a positive, confidence-driven mindset.
Confidence Building Tool #1: Affirmations
If you explore my website you won’t be surprised by this answer. Affirmations are a powerful tool for changing the way your mind works. I use them every day. My favorite confidence affirmations are “I can and I will” and “I take imperfect action.”
Using positive affirmations for building confidence isn’t just all weird ‘woo-woo’ hippy stuff. People who use affirmations have been found to be more open to change (1). Using affirmations regularly reduces stress, enhances overall well-being, and improves academic performance (1). Because using affirmations works as part of a positive-feedback loop they have lasting effects (2).
In a nutshell, this means that you tell yourself positive things and boost your self-esteem. This results in you taking positive actions in your life whether it be your health, work, education or relationships. Positive things then happen in your life as a result of you taking action. Your self-esteem is further bolstered by these positive results and you feel more confident and positive about taking on new cycles. Affirmations -> Aligned Action -> Positive Results. Repeat.
If you’re skeptical the best way to find out about affirmations is to try them yourself. They’re a free tool to add to your personal development toolbox and highly versatile. If you want to learn more about using affirmations for building self-confidence and discover the results for yourself you can get my 50 Self-Confidence Affirmations Mini E-Book free for the Your Happiness Quest Tribe. This E-book has a straightforward guide on how to use affirmations and features 50 affirmations targeted to build confidence for you to choose the best ones for you.
Confidence Building Tool #2: Get out of Your Comfort Zone
When explaining how to use affirmations for confidence above I noted the formula: Affirmations -> Aligned Action -> Positive Results. Repeat. Getting out of your comfort zone is the aligned action part of this formula. Aligned action is a term commonly used in the manifesting world. Basically, aligned action is when you do something that makes sense to what you want to achieve; if you’re on the right path this will mean you’re doing something that both feels right but is also a bit scary and uncomfortable. Growth is about challenging yourself and expanding your limitations.
Getting out of your comfort zone example:
Say you want to go to Taihiti but none of your friends want to go and you’re scared of traveling by yourself. Maybe the thought of even going to a restaurant alone is uncomfortable. Step 1, you want to work out what scares you about these situations and then work on developing a mindset shift via tools like affirmations. The aligned action would be to go to a restaurant by yourself, be open to the experience and focus on all the positives that occur.
- Maybe it is that you get to choose whatever you want without anyone wanting to share with you.
- Maybe you notice that you really focus on enjoying the meal rather than being distracted by conversation.
- Perhaps you enjoy having time to think and reflect.
- Side Note: I like to take a book if you want to pass the time between meals arriving.
OK, so you’ve gone to a restaurant by yourself. Maybe you’re ready to book that trip to Tahiti. If not quite yet, take another aligned action step. This time it could be to go away for the weekend by yourself. Explore somewhere local. Enjoy your time alone and doing whatever you want! You get the idea; challenge yourself and use the positive results of your actions to support new bigger steps.
Confidence Building Tool #3: Observe Positive Results and Repeat
I touched on this above but it deserves repeating and I feel this is a tool/skill in itself. You have to look for the silver linings, the positive things that came out of the action, and use that as fuel to inspire new steps towards your goal. I mention silver linings because sometimes actions don’t always go to plan and it can be easy to use these events as evidence for why you can’t or shouldn’t put yourself out there. However, I believe there is a silver lining to everything—even if at the time it doesn’t seem like it. Finding the silver linings requires practicing gratitude, trusting that you will learn something valuable from the situation and not letting it get in the way of putting yourself out there in the future.
Example of observing positive results
Say you have a fear of public speaking (as most of us do). You have a big work presentation coming up and are terrified about it so you start by working on developing a positive mindset, you tell yourself you can do it. Next, you take aligned action by practicing your speech with friends or family. Finally, it comes to the presentation and halfway through you lose your train of thought, get your slides mixed up and one of your colleagues has to help you recover it.
You could leave this scenario with two frames of mind. The first one being that you were terrible, and this is why you shouldn’t ever do a presentation again. OR you could look at it and think something along the lines of, “I got up, and for the first half, I was doing really well. I just need to make sure my cards are ordered well in the future. Maybe I could cable tie them in a loop so they won’t get mixed up next time. I’m really proud of myself for putting myself out there and giving the presentation a try.”
Do you see the difference? Option A is easier. It gives you an excuse to fall back into old habits. On the other hand, Option B takes some critical thinking skills, solves problems, and sets you up to achieve better next time. These are my best tips for building confidence; I hope they helped. Now it’s time to explore more tips by all kinds of confidence experts from around the world.
10 Inspirational TED Talks About Building Confidence
These 10 timeless and unique TED talks will help inspire you to build the confidence to tackle your own Everest and follow your own passions. The old saying ‘fake it until you make it’ holds true to this day. Even the most confident of us need a boost every now and then. Everyone has something they feel unconfident doing. We also have good days and bad.
1. How I beat stage fright – Joe Kowan
In this 8-minute talk, Joe Kowan shares the creative way he managed to overcome his stage fright.
“I had all these stories and ideas, and I wanted to share them with people, but physiologically, I couldn’t do it. I had this irrational fear…But I took a deep breath, and I signed up to play, and I felt pretty good.”
2. How to build your creative confidence – David Kelley
If you don’t feel very creative watch this 11-minute talk. David uses stories from his own life to break down the divide between ‘creative’ and ‘practical’ people. We all have a creative inside of us.
3. Your elusive creative genius – Elizabeth Gilbert
I love this 19-minute talk by Elizabeth Gilbert from her book ‘Big Magic‘. This book is so inspiring. It will definitely help inspire you to overcome your fears to chase your passions. If you don’t have time for the whole book this is a great creativity pep-talk to start with.
4. The day I stood up alone – Boniface Mwangi
Wow. This is an amazing 7-minute talk. Boniface shares his inspiring story about overcoming trauma, abuse, and corruption. Despite growing up as an unconfrontational child, Boniface teaches us that some things are too important to not stand up and fight for them.
5. How to speak up for yourself – Adam Galinsky
Adam is a social psychologist. In this 15-minute talk, he will help you enhance your personal power, better assert yourself and navigate social situations.
6. How to live passionately; no matter your age – Isabel Allende
At 71 Isabel has no plans to stop living passionately yet. No matter your age you will learn something from this 8-minute talk.
7. My journey to yo-yo mastery – Black
Black is a yo-yo master. He knew he had to follow his passion despite knowing it was an unappreciated craft. Black shares his unique passion in this 10-minute talk & show.
“I realized society didn’t value my passion. So I went back to my college and became a typical Japanese worker as a systems engineer. I felt my passion, heart, and soul, had left my body. I felt I was not alive anymore.”
8. Your body language may shape who you are – Amy Cuddy
In this 20-minute talk, Amy explains how changing our posture can enhance our confidence, even when we don’t feel like it.
9. The game that can give you 10 extra years of life – Jane McGonigal
In this inspiring 19-minute talk Jane, a game developer, aims to add 7 and a half minutes to your life. Jane talks about how we can use games in our daily life to achieve our goals, better our lives, make us happier and extend our lives.
“There are four kinds of strength, or resilience, that contribute to post-traumatic growth, and there are scientifically validated activities that you can do every day to build up these four kinds of resilience, and you don’t need a trauma to do it.”
10. A pro wrestler’s guide to confidence – Mike Kinney
In this 13-minute talk, Mike shares stories from his life to explain to us how finding what makes you unique and playing that up will help you become a more confident person.
Do you have any building confidence life hacks to share? Sharing is caring. Please comment below.
(1) Christopher N. Cascio, Matthew Brook O’Donnell, Francis J. Tinney, Matthew D. Lieberman, Shelley E. Taylor, Victor J. Strecher, Emily B. Falk, Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 11, Issue 4, April 2016, Pages 621–629, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv136
(2) Cohen G.L. Sherman D.K. ( 2014 ). The psychology of change: self-affirmation and social psychological intervention . Annual Review of Psychology , 65 , 333 – 71 . https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137