Jon Hamm in Mad Men. Design by the author.

“How to be more confident?” Good question. But I have got a better one. “What do you mean when you say the word confidence?”

Are you overly concerned about how you look, speak, what car you drive, and most importantly, what other people think about you?

If you say yes, you are (A) mistaken and (B) making it harder than it needs to be.

Want to know what I have learned in the past few years, working with clients from all across the world?

True confidence isn’t about flamboyance.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Here’s something about most people who try to come across as super confident.

They are narcissists overcompensating for their covert inferiority complex. These are the people who crave constant external approval because, without it, they are worthless.

Does it sound like real confidence to you?

When you are truly confident, it’s more about who you are instead of what you want people to think of you.

Here, you don’t waste your time faking until you make it.

On the contrary, you focus on making it big time, so you never have to fake anything.

Learning to hunt is far more effective than faking a roar, after all.

That’s exactly what I’m offering here. And it’s not that hard. Here’s what you need to do.

Read A Lot

Imagine being the guy at the party who is dead confident about what he’s saying but lacks the bare minimum substance to back it up.

Yeah. That’s how you embarrass yourself.

Newsflash: Being an empty chatterbox isn’t charming.

If you want to come across as more confident than most people, you have to have a stronger foundation than most people have.

And the best, as well as the cheapest way to do it, is to read books.

Most leading thinkers and entrepreneurs you will see across the time are extremely well-read and well-informed.

It’s because reading

• helps you improve focus

• gives you more clay to make bricks

• lets you learn from the greatest minds who ever lived

• enhances your decision-making skills

• makes you more creative

Knowing more and understanding things better than most people is the cornerstone of greater confidence. Without it, confidence is nothing but foolishness.

Listen More Than You Speak

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools speak because they have to say something.


Being confident and being a clown are two different things.

When you interrupt people while talking only to talk over them, you might think you are oozing charm and charisma. But in reality, you are only being a self-serving asshole.

Confident people will listen more than they talk.

They do it because listening is powerful. It gives you an undue advantage. It lets you see people for who they really are.

It’s not just what they are saying but also how they are saying it. You don’t listen with your ears but with also your eyes.

These people don’t talk until they have to. And when they do, it leaves an impact.

It might sound counterintuitive. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

The fact that they don’t like to waste their words on anyone and everyone only to get cheap attention makes their words even more valuable.

Leave Your Ego Aside

Most people mistake ego for confidence.

And they could not be more wrong even if they wanted to be.

If confidence is self-awareness, ego is self-absorption. If confidence helps you overcome crazy obstacles, ego makes you get in your own way.

As author Ryan Holiday rightly quotes it:

Confidence is earned. Confidence is based on evidence. Confidence is based on experience. Ego is based on nothing. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned.

When you draw your drive from ego, you make everything about yourself. You take things personally. Put yourself in trouble trying to satisfy your self-esteem. And overestimate your capabilities.

True confidence comes from openness rather than defensiveness. It’s not a zero-sum game. Others don’t need to lose for you to win. They don’t need to be worse for you to be better.

Confidence is when you learn to accept that you are not the protagonist of every damn story.

Accept Your Imperfections

It’s easy to disregard your flaws and pretend to be perfect.

It takes courage to accept your imperfections and deal with them in a way; so others don’t have to.

Okay. I get it.

It’s hard to accept that you are not any special just because you exist. Like everyone else, you, too, are flawed. And your ego doesn’t take it well.

But think for a moment. How do you solve a problem if you are too proud to admit it exists? Here’s the answer. You don’t.

It takes true confidence to see you with all your glory and flaws, strengths and weaknesses, beauty and ugliness.

That’s how you accept yourself for who you are.

That’s how you get comfortable in your own skin.

Ditch Your Fixed Mindset for a Growth Mindset

People with a fixed mindset want to keep things the same. They don’t challenge their boundaries, and they never get anything extraordinary.

Then, they find their solace by playing the victim and getting offended by other people’s success.

They don’t realize it, but it hurts no one but themselves.

However, when you have a growth mindset, you strive to do better, learn newer skills, and change your circumstances through deliberate action.

By doing so, you have evidence of what you have done and what you can do. It gives you an accurate representation of your capabilities.

So you will no longer need to exaggerate your little achievements and minimize others to feel good about yourself.

Now, your confidence will have the proper foundation.

Confidence can’t exist in a vacuum.

There has to be something to be confident about.

When you are confident for no reason, it becomes toxic.

You can try a hundred things to boost your external confidence, but until and unless you have something to base it upon, it won’t help you.

If you want to be more confident, you have to:

• up your game

• lay a solid foundation

• respect others the way you would like to be respected

• be self-aware

• and be really comfortable with your own insignificance

Like what you are reading? Feel free to…