Navigate your own life, rather than following the crowd.
Making choices, taking your life by your own hands, and being confident when leaving your comfort zone can be a scary and difficult practice.
Following the crowd, and choosing a path set by others, by comparison, is much easier, less stressful, and more comfortable.
Psychologists call this comfortable mode of thinking The Bandwagon Effect: it’s a cognitive bias that leads people to act in a certain way, because they believe other people are acting in that way.
“Bandwagons” serve as a mental shortcut (a heuristic) that people use to make decisions quickly. Therefore, rather than assessing whether it’s right to do something, most of us experience a trigger of thought —
“If other people are doing this, then I should be too”.
This is based on the age-old assumption that other people's judgments are worthy enough to be relied on — and that copying them is beneficial in some way. An assumption we all make so that: rather than thinking deeply about whether something is right, we can make quick and easy snap judgments.
But, sadly, suppressing the choices you truly desire in favor of an easier path set out will leave you feeling dissatisfied with your day to day life — and longing for something more.
It’s by having the ability to remain calm and take risks in search of the life they want; that confident people are able to carefully shape something that they want and appreciate.
If that’s something you want, maybe you should learn the top action-habits of truly confident people. Here are those habits.
They Navigate Their Own Lives
According to Psychological Counselor Meg Selig, making your own decisions is a key step to a stronger and more confident sense of self.
But you can’t just make choices willy-nilly.
Rather than making decisions without thinking, self-confident people always have a reason for why they make the decision. More still, they’re confident in that reason, and would stand by it should they be questioned.
That rationale is important for them to express, not only to friends and colleagues but also to themselves. It solidifies their belief that they are acting in accordance with their values — and enables them to be more certain in themselves.
It’s easy to forget the reasons why you’re performing something. But, according to Selig, reaffirming those reasons will bolster your confidence. It will also reduce the risk of you regretting that choice — because you know, all things considered, it was the best one for you at the time.
And should they make a mistake, they don’t get angry, or regret it — rather, they use and learn from that newfound information to ensure they don’t make the same one twice.
They Make Others Feel Safe
According to Simon Sinek, because they are so comfortable with their place in the world, confident people are able to navigate difficult and stressful situations with ease.
Nothing good comes from panicking — and self-confidence enables us to recognize this — and in doing so, we are more inclined to remain calm when things get heated.
And while handling such environments, if others find them challenging, they are skilled in remaining relaxed and guiding others through.
And with that, to an outsider, it’s like there’s nothing they can’t do. That makes others feel safe around them.
They Work on Their Assertiveness
Being assertive isn’t the same as chasing confrontation. it means standing up for yourself when you're being taken advantage of and confrontation naturally arises.
Rather than frequently being walked over, they have cultivated the ability to:
- Stand up for themselves in a variety of situations.
- And know when to let go.
According to Selig, assertiveness relies on inner honesty. It requires us to be open about what you are feeling, what you want, what you value, and what your boundaries are. It then requires you to have the courage to stand up for, and express those beliefs.
What Is Assertiveness?
According to Psychologists, assertiveness is a difficult practice:
- Being non-assertive will result in you being treated like a doormat. You don’t stand up for yourself, and regularly let other people violate your rights.
- Non-assertiveness, when endured for too long, can easily turn into aggression. Because having your rights violated all the time could amount to anger — so you begin to ignore others' rights just as they did to you. Of course, according to this account, you have a conscience so you’ll feel guilty afterward.
Being assertive perfectly navigates between these two behavioral tendencies.
“A direct and honest way for you to stand up for your rights, while also respecting the rights of others.”
According to Meg Selig, this requires us to empathize with other people's situations and rights — whilst keeping our own goals in mind.
Developing this two-track mindset is a complex skill, but it is what leads confident people to frequently use terms like:
- “I’m not comfortable with that.”
- “Let me think about it” (rather than jumping straight in).
- “I could use some help.”
And they are comfortable saying no, whenever things don’t feel right.
If you’re finding it difficult to remain assertive, it’s worth you resorting back to these sorts of phrases.
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” ― Warren Buffett
They Shrug Off Failure
In your life, you’re going to experience a lot of failures, and a little bit of success.
But, as humans, it’s common for us to self-define ourselves in accordance with our successes, and forget about our failures.
And in our search for that one success, we’re prone to taking risks. With that, the occasional failure is to be expected — and it is unimportant in the grand scheme of life.
Confident people recognize this fact, and to them — failure is no big deal. Rather than defining themselves by where they fall down, they remain unfazed by their mistakes, and recognize there will be other opportunities at success.
- Fail a test.
- Run out of time & fail to hit a deadline or quota.
- Make a mistake or an error of judgment.
They shrug it off as something out of character, and instead define their self-worth by the abilities and value they know they carry. They know that, given their capabilities, they are able to correct any mistakes they make.
And it’s not in their power to correct something, that’s okay too — there will be other opportunities for them to succeed.
At no point do they take that failure as an indication that they have less value, or are unskilled simply because they made an error, or can’t perform a single action.
After all, you can’t be good at everything — your worth is defined by the things you can do, not the things you can’t
A “Shrug-Off” Script
In our society, there exist vultures waiting to pounce when you fail. They’ll point out all your flaws, tell you everything you did wrong, and challenge your decisions after the fact.
I’ve experienced my fair share over the years.
They’ll challenge your decisions, and not always with grace and delicacy.
While it’s easy to fear people like this, confident people find it easy to stay true to themselves and not take what’s being said to heart.
So much so, that they develop a “shrug-off” script that they can respond with to easily navigate away from these hostile environments. Statements like:
- “If you never try, you’ll never know.”
- “At least I know it doesn’t work for next time.”
According to Psychologist Vernon Kelly, when faced with this criticism, confident children will first determine whether the feedback is coming from an authority figure or not:
- If it is, they welcome that feedback as valuable, and use it to improve.
- If it’s not, they acknowledged that the feedback isn’t credible, so they don't take it to heart. Instead, they shrug off such comments to minimize the negative impact of these comments on their well-being.
And with that, they are more willing to take risks — because they don’t care what other people think.
As humans living in 2020, we’re naturally drawn to what is comfortable and easy. As a result, a lot of people choose the comfort of following the crowd, rather than taking risks and navigating their own lives.
Of course, suppressing what you truly desire will leave you feeling dissatisfied. To take back control, you need to internalize the action habits of highly confident people:
- Navigate your own life, and remain calm when things get tough. According to Simon Sinek, this mindset means we can support others when they panic — which will inevitably make us more likable.
- Remain assertive, find a perfect balance between chasing confrontation, and letting others walk over you. Empathize with others situations, while remembering your own goals.
- Rather than fearing failure, shrug it off — your worth spans far beyond a single mistake, and there will always be other opportunities at success.
After all —
“Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can possess” — Sabrina Carpenter.
I write about Self-Improvement, Life Lessons, Philosophy, Psychology & Business — to help you reach your full potential.