5 Reasons Why You’re Not Confident and How to Fix It

It’s very easy for a confident person to tell you how to build self-confidence. However, before you even do that you need to be aware of why you might not be confident at all.

You see, confidence doesn’t have to be an overarching mindset. You can be confident in some situations in life and not confident at all in others.

It’s totally dependent on the individual.

You’d probably be surprised if I pointed out to you the times that you are confident because you’re so focused on the times that you aren’t.

For example, think about the first time you talked to someone you had a crush on. Chances are you were pretty nervous. It’s not that you weren’t confident, you were just nervous. That’s not the same as a lack of confidence.

Even confident people get nervous! You don’t think professional athletes get a little nervous before a game? It’s because they don’t know the outcome. All they can do is prepare the best way possible and know what they are capable of.

I wanted to take the time to point some reasons why you might not be confident. Some of these reasons are not so obvious and some are. But if you can address these issues then you’ll be well on your way to boosting your confidence.

Why You Are Not Confident

Don’t read this as if I’m talking down to you. I’m not. I want you to be the most confident asshole on the planet and that’s why I’m sharing these things with you.

I want you to be able to tackle any situation in the world because you are capable of doing just that.

Got it?

Good.

Let’s go.

1. You Need Outside Validation

This is probably the biggest one. I’m not a psychologist or anything so I can’t pinpoint why this happens but a lot of people are constantly seeking outside validation.

Now, I do think there is a difference between putting in a ton of work and looking for validation that what you did worked versus just wanting validation for no apparent reason.

Just because you put on some nice clothes and groomed yourself doesn’t mean people should comment on it. You need to do those things for yourself.

However, if you spent all night saving your company’s ass with today’s presentation then there is nothing wrong for wanting people to tell you good job.

Whenever you’re doing something you need to ask yourself what is the result that you want?

Do you simply want to feel better about yourself and what you’ve done or do you really need someone to give you a positive comment?

If you need a positive comment you might be in trouble because then you’re relying on someone else to take an action that you can’t control. This leads people down some dark paths.

Do what you need to do for you and only you. People will respect that and in turn you will get those positive affirmations.

2. You Don’t Take Care of Yourself

There is something to be said about looking in the mirror and not being totally happy with what you see. How often do you shave and step out of the shower and feel worse?

You don’t!

When you take care of yourself in the right ways (grooming, dieting, exercising) you automatically begin to have more confidence because you’re investing in yourself. It feels like the right thing to do and when you do the right thing you feel good about it.

When you start to let yourself go because you just don’t care then why should you have confidence? Confidence is a byproduct of caring about yourself.

I don’t mean being superficial and using the most expensive hair gel to send a message. I mean if it was just you alone on an island, would you be happy with the things that you do for yourself?

I had a big issue early in life where I would mistake my ego for confidence and so I would get sloppy with things.

I wouldn’t shave. I wouldn’t shower. I wouldn’t do a lot of things that pretty much every man should do and my thinking was that I didn’t care what the world thought about me.

While that’s true, I was also telling myself, through my actions, that I also didn’t care about me.

Now I actively set time each day to take care of myself because I know it makes me feel better, makes me feel more confident, and overall leads to a better day.

3. You Have Social Media Envy

Social media has this secret effect on you that you might not have noticed. On social media, most people only show their best life.

This is a problem because it makes you think that you should be living this best life as well but when things go wrong during the day that means you aren’t living the best life.

You hop back onto social media and see that Bobby is having a great day and it must be because of his new Nikes. So you go out and buy those Nikes or even worse, you feel terrible because you can’t afford those Nikes.

But Bobby could be having a completely shitty day. You wouldn’t know because Bobby has done a good job of capturing a moment and posting it on Instagram to provide the world with an illusion.

Bobby could be totally happy but you wouldn’t know.

Going on social media is fine but do so with a purpose. Our Instagram accounts are not meant to cause envy. They are meant to inspire.

You don’t need what we have and we don’t need what you have.

We live our own lives and you live yours.

4. You Don’t Know Your Skills

If you’re good at something then you’re confident in it.

Simple as that.

There isn’t a skilled chef that isn’t confident in their ability to cook.

When you work on your skills you become more confident because acquiring skills can only happen through repetition and practice which is a key cornerstone to building confidence.

My wife laughs at all of the hobbies that I pick up and I can see why. However, to me, they are new skills to acquire. New avenues to explore.

Do you actively try to acquire new skills or do you believe you are who you are now and there is no turning back or moving forward?

Each time I acquire a new skill it gives me the confidence to learn new things. Which leads me to the next point about having a fixed mindset.

5. You Have a Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is a dangerous mindset to have. It leads you to believe that you need to settle with what you’re born with and that’s just the way of the world.

But it isn’t.

You can grow and learn new things. You can get better in what you choose to get better at.

A growth mindset allows you to tackle new things because you understand the process is the whole point of the journey. Every time you get a chance to face a challenge it’s a new opportunity to learn, not an opportunity to fail.

In fact, there is no such thing as failing. There are only opportunities to learn and get better.

This might sound cheesy but it is the difference between the man that looks like things just slide off of his back and the man who continues to build the chip on his shoulder.

If you want to learn more about the fixed vs growth mindset then I suggest you read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Confidence Is a Skill

Confidence itself is a skill that you have to practice every day.

People like to think that you’re either born confident or not but you’re not.

You acquire confidence at a young age usually based on the result of things and the external feedback you receive from your environment.

That feedback can help to shape how you approach everything else in your life so some people have to reverse that and start again.

But first you need to understand why you aren’t confident and then you can focus on doing small things to boost your confidence.

How to Build Self-Confidence

When you think about it, it seems kind of silly to try and learn how to be confident just by reading a blog post.

However, that’s what is going to happen by the time you’re done with this.

Why do I believe this?

Because I have confidence in two people:

  1. You
  2. Me

I have confidence in myself because I’ve spent years understanding what it takes to build up my own confidence.

I have confidence in you because just by coming to this post it means that part of you actively wants to be more confident. That part of you is going to grow and it’s going to drive you towards the things that you need.

Before we talk about how to build confidence I think it’s important to talk about what confidence is and why it’s there for some people and not others.

The Confident Athlete, the Scared Shitless Actor

I played soccer my whole life and I was good at it. This isn’t a cocky statement, it’s backed up by results.

I got a full ride to play soccer in college so you can say that every time I stepped onto the field I was confident.

I was confident in my ability to help my team beat any team that we faced.

Put me in a situation on the field and I was confident I could get the best out of it.

The complete opposite was true if you got me on stage in front of an audience.

In 6th grade I was in the Christmas play. I didn’t have many lines but that didn’t matter. I got lucky in the fact that my role required a clipboard which meant I could attach my lines to the clipboard and read them without being noticed.

I was shaky. I was nervous. I stumbled over the lines that WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I was a wreck. I was never so happy to leave a situation in my life.

The same person (me) was confident in one situation and completely lacking in confidence in another.

What was the difference?

Preparation.

After playing 100+ soccer games it’s pretty hard not to feel good about yourself on the field. You’ve experienced a ton of different situations so you can see different outcomes.

For the school play I didn’t rehearse that much. I was never one to sit down and really put that kind of effort into something like that. Because of that I wasn’t prepared.

But what if I had been practicing my lines for a month every single day. That means that for 30 days I had gone over the same sequence of events over and over and over again.

By the time I would’ve gone on stage for the actual production, it would just seem like another practice because I had done it so many times.

So is that what confidence is, preparation? It can be but confidence is so much more.

The Definition of Confidence

Here is the dictionary’s definition of confidence:

the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something;

The simple belief that you can rely on someone or something.

By this defintion it seems like when you aren’t confident in yourself then that means you feel that you can’t rely on yourself.

That’s kind of a weird thing to say because you certainly rely on yourself to go to the bathroom in time so you don’t piss your pants.

But can you rely on yourself to get a crowd to laugh on stage at open mic night?

Confidence isn’t something that is constantly on. There can be moments where you’re full of confidence and moments where you have no confidence at all.

Sure, there are some guys that always seem confident but that’s probably because you only see them in one type of situation.

Almost everyone has a situation that you can put them in where they will lack confidence and you’ll understand why in a bit.

However, I think it’s important to understand that you can lack confidence and not be afraid of something.

You can be confident that you won’t succeed or perform well at something but you can be confident that you’ll try and that’s why you might lack fear.

And that’s exactly why confidence matters in all aspects of life.

Why Confidence Matters

There is quote that I came across one day. I have no idea where I saw it but I loved it:

Change only happens when you do.

Absolutely nothing changes in your life unless you do. If you stay the same then everything else stays the same.

Most people’s lives don’t change because they don’t have the confidence to try and make change.

If you lack confidence then you lack the ability to take action.

It’s great to have goals about all of the awesome things you want to accomplish but the reason they are goals and not things already checked off in the #wins column is because you haven’t made changes to make them a reality.

Would you be surprised to know that most people don’t do the things that they’ve always wanted to do in life?

It seems absolutely insane that many of you reading this will die not having come close to even TRYING to do the things you’ve wanted to do in life.

Forget accomplishing. I’m talking about just trying to do those things.

You can’t expect to wake up one day and the confidence for something to happen finally appears.

If you continue to lack confidence then your only option is to put your back against the wall and you don’t want to wait until then.

Action happens when confidence appears

When you’re confident you can tackle almost any obstacle. You can still be nervous but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to try. It just means you are nervous.

Taking action means you’re investing in yourself and that’s important.

Mindset + Skills = Confidence

If I ask you to cut a piece of cheese you’ll be pretty confident you can do it because you have the mindset that you can which is also backed up with the skills of you cutting cheese before.

A lot of people have the mindset but they don’t have the skills. That is arrogance.

It’s one thing to believe that you can learn anything if you put the time in.

It’s another thing to believe you can do anything without ever giving it a shot.

Arrogant people are arrogant because they need to fill the hole in their mindset that needs confirmation.

Confidence means you no longer are seeking that confirmation because you’ve already confirmed it. You know what your capable of and you know you can do it again whatever it is.

Being confident is about how you see yourself, not how others see you.

How to Be More Confident

Okay, all of this talk sounds great, but how do you actually become more confident?

There are some simple tricks that you can use.

1. Create Your Alter-Ego

Start with an alter-ego.

Yep.

Give yourself an alter-ego. This alter-ego is the opposite of what you currently are when it comes to confidence.

Maybe you’re scared to speak in front of others but not your alter-ego. Instead, they live for these moments.

Paul (that’s me) can try to avoid social interaction and keep to himself but Scrivs (that’s also me) thrives in social settings.

Remember, confidence is partly about mindset. You’ll be surprised at the changes that will occur when you make a simple statement.

Scrivs loves the opportunity to meet new people and gain new knowledge from the conversations he has with them

Just by saying that I feel confident to go out and talk to some people.

Give your alter-ego a name (that’s always fun) and whenever you need to really step up on something, tell yourself that maybe it’s a job for insert alter-ego name here.

This is similar to a fake till you make it strategy but I find it easier to employ because it helps to adjust your mindset.

2. Fix Your Posture

Check out this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy:

It’s amazing how we set our confidence back before we even get started. By simply putting yourself in power poses you give yourself a better shot at being confident.

It’s very similar to working out to get stronger. Even when you feel like a crap, a shitty workout is better than no workout.

When you aren’t feeling confident going through the motions of being confident can greatly change how you feel.

You can check out the power poses here.

3. Dance

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Dance?

Yeah man, dance!

Are you ever at home or in the car and a song comes on that you love and you just start moving? You don’t even think about how you look because you’re so focused on that song.

You will never not dance to the song because it’s your jam!

This is the power of music.

It’s much easier to be confident when your mind is focused on something else.

Do you think it’s a weird coincidence that you always see professional athletes with headphones on before the game?

4. Dress for Success

You know the saying.

It’s said for a reason.

Have you ever put on an outfit that makes you feel like you’re putting on a superhero costume?

When me and the boys would go to the club I would change into my club attire and feel like a completely different person.

Of course, if I dressed like that today I wouldn’t be as confident because my mindset is different and I dressed ridiculously.

But understanding how to dress can play a big role in your confidence.

I’m not making this up. Studies have shown that when workers wear nicer clothes, they achieve more.

5. Groom

To follow up on the last point make sure you keep yourself well-groomed. This means taking showers, shaving and getting a haircut.

Does anyone ever feel worse after getting a haircut?

It’s like you’re a new person. Every haircut is the beginning of a new life.

6. Practice

Remember that confidence is your mindset plus skills. When you practice things you become better at them. When you become better at them you become more confident.

You might say that you can’t practice them because you lack confidence. Fine, let your alter-ego practice them.

10 years ago if someone came to me and asked me to help them build a business I wouldn’t have the confidence in doing so because I lacked the skills. I had the arrogance though which is why many of my own businesses failed.

However, it’s a different story now.

Today I can build a business in almost any niche that I want because I’ve spent time acquiring the skills necessary to make it happen.

7. Learn

Many people as they get older stop learning.

I don’t know why, but they do. The more you learn, the more you expand what you do know which in turn helps you to build confidence.

Read books. Watch educational YouTube videos. Do what you can to learn a new skill.

I’m the type of guy with many interests and I have no problem diving into something new because I’ve done it so many times before.

This helps me out with future things that I’ve never done.

If you ask me to do something I’ve never done, I won’t be arrogant and believe I can do it even though I have no skill set. Instead, I’ll be confident that if you give me enough time I can learn the skills necessary to get the job done.

Why?

Because I’ve done it time and time again.

8. Adopt a Growth Mindset

This tip is the gamechanger.

Once I learned about the differences between a growth mindset vs fixed mindset it changed how I approached everything.

Instead of focusing on the result I focused on the process.

You don’t have to worry about confidence when you’re focused on the process because it’s always about learning.