The confidence in yourself (self-confidence) is necessary for you to achieve the goals you set and is key to your well-being, as it is intimately related to self-esteem.

People who have confidence in themselves manage to develop their life projects or professional projects, because they are individuals who know how to assume certain risks, make difficult decisions and are highly resilient, that is, they know how to overcome the negative situations that may arise throughout their lives .

Self-confidence and self-esteem are not the same

Many people think that self-confidence and self-esteem are the same thing. But even though both concepts are related, are two different terms with clearly differentiated implications .

Self-confidence or self-confidence is l an appreciation of the capabilities you possess and focuses on the beliefs you have regarding the ability and the ability to succeed in a given context. While self-esteem is the general feeling of how valuable you are as a whole and refers to the appreciation you have of yourself.

If you are not clear about this difference, imagine a salesman or saleswoman who knows that he or she does his or her job very well. He has no doubt of his great capacity to seduce customers and knows that he has the gift of people that not everyone has. Thanks to this, he does his job perfectly, so he has complete confidence in himself when it comes to this task.

However, this person has a low self-esteem, because when he arrives home after a long day of work, he thinks: “I don’t have a partner, nor can I save enough money to buy a house. I am a failure. As you can see, he has confidence in himself and knows that he is a great commercial. However, he is not comfortable with himself, and regardless of whether this assessment he makes is correct or not, the overall image he has of himself is negative.

Related article: “The 4 Types of Self-Esteem: Do You Value Yourself?”

Self-confidence: the theory of self-efficacy

One of the great self-confidence theorists is Albert Bandura, who formulated his theory of self-efficacy (which means, roughly , something very similar to self-confidence) as part of his Social Learning Theory.

His research on human social learning allowed him to identify other cognitive components that facilitate the process of change and influence the formation of intentions and motivational self-regulation. One of these components is perceived self-efficacy or the perception of self-confidence.

Bandura states that the development of self-confidence consists of four components :

  • Performance achievements : past experiences are the most important source of self-confidence information, as they allow to check the real mastery.
  • Vicarious experience or observation : refers to modelling, that is, seeing (or imagining) other people successfully perform certain activities
  • Verbal Persuasion: Verbal persuasion is important, especially for those who are already confident and need only a little more confidence to go the extra mile and succeed.
  • Physiological state of the individual : Individuals often interpret states of great anxiety as signs of weakness or low performance. In contrast, positive moods or emotional states will also have an impact on how one interprets the experiences.

How can you improve your self-confidence?

But, what steps can you take to improve your self-confidence? Here is a list of 6 steps to improve your self-confidence:

1. Live situations in a positive way

As you have seen, for Bandura, verbal persuasion is a very important element in the development of self-confidence. Therefore, be positive even if you are going through a period when you feel that things are not going your way . Stop focusing on problems and focus your energy on solutions and positive changes.

Low self-confidence is often associated with thoughts of failure and negative thoughts that mediate between you and your goals. If you are constantly repeating to yourself that you are not up to the task, the only thing you will achieve is “self-fulfilling prophecy. So, even in unpleasant times, motivate yourself.

Recommended article: “The 30 best motivational sentences”

2. Be prepared

It can happen, for example, that you have to make a presentation at the university and you notice that you don’t have enough confidence in yourself. In this kind of case, what really works is to prepare your presentation well so that, when the day comes, you have full confidence in your possibilities .

Another example may be that you have started working in front of the audience, and as part of your work you have to give a welcome speech to the clients. Since you have never done this kind of work, you may not have full confidence in yourself. In this case, you can prepare your speech well, and in this way you will feel comfortable and secure in front of the clients.

Whatever is on your list of goals, being well prepared and feeling that you have mastered what you do increases your self-confidence .

3.Make a list of what you have already achieved and remind yourself of it

As in the first point, difficult moments can make you doubt and cause self-confidence to be undermined .

Life is full of change, and sometimes it’s hard to stay on top. In cases like this, it’s ideal to have a list of what you’ve achieved so far in relation to the goal you have, because visualizing your progression can help you self-motivate in difficult times.

4. Act

The engine of self-confidence is action : if you dare to act, then you win in self-confidence. Bandura, in his theory of self-efficacy, talks about “performance achievements”, that is, experiences are the most important source of self-confidence information.

It may be that, even before you act, you are already visualizing failure. So remember: if you don’t act, you lose 100% of the chances of achieving what you want .

5. Accept any past failure

And what happens if you act and it goes wrong? Well, performance achievements are the perception we have of our victories and failures . By perception I mean your assessment of the events that have taken place. If it has gone wrong, you have to accept it and see also the small successes, which surely there are, even in failures.

Self-confidence only develops if we manage to overcome the obstacles we put in front of ourselves: on the one hand, renunciation (which has to do with acting), and on the other hand, criticism. Seeing successes as the sum of our failures can help us gain self-confidence .

6. Observe successful people

Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy states that vicarious experience or observation is another key element of self-confidence. Observing or imagining other people carrying out certain activities successfully, can positively influence self-confidence .

This is one of the techniques used in coaching to increase clients’ confidence, as it is useful when clients have little knowledge of their own abilities or have little experience in the task at hand.