Although many of the factors affecting self confidence are beyond your control, there are a number of things you can consciously do to help increase your self confidence. By using these 10 strategies you can get the mental edge you need to start experiencing the benefits associated with greater self confidence.

1. Dress Sharp. Although clothes don’t make the man (or woman), they will certainly affect the way you feel about yourself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t feel like you look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage. If you dress in a way that makes you feel more confident, you will also carry yourself in a way that projects greater self confidence.

2. Walk Faster. One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about themselves is to watch how they walk. People with self confidence walk quickly and with purpose. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your sense of purpose and self-confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25% faster will make to you look and feel more self-confident.

3. Good Posture. The way you carry yourself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and everyone around can tell. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel greater self confidence. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You’ll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more self-confident and empowered.

4. Personal Commercial. One of the best ways to build self confidence is listening to a motivational speech. You can fill this need yourself by creating your very own personal commercial. Write a very short pep talk that highlights your strengths and goals. Then practice it in front of the mirror aloud. When you need a boost in self confidence, recite you personal commercial to yourself in your head.

5. Gratitude. When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can’t have it. This can lead you to dwell on unproductive negative thoughts. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to do a gratitude review. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive experiences. You’ll be amazed how much you actually have going for you, and being grateful for these things will increase your sense of self confidence.

6. Compliment other people. When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of complimenting others for the qualities and skills. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to build up and encourage those around you. In the process, you’ll become well liked and your self confidence will grow. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

7. Sit in the front row. In schools, offices, and public assemblies around the world, people constantly strive to sit at the back of the room. Most people prefer the back because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self confidence. By choosing to sit in the front, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self confidence. You’ll also be more visible to the important people talking from the front of the room and you won’t be easily distracted by things going on around you.

8. Speak up. During group discussions many people never speak up because they’re afraid that people will judge them for saying something stupid. This fear isn’t really justified. Generally, people are much more accepting than we imagine. In fact most people are dealing with the exact same fears. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you’ll develop your courage and you’ll display more self confidence when expressing yourself in front of others.

9. Stay in shape. Physical fitness has a huge effect on self confidence. If you’re out of shape, you’ll feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By exercising regularly and staying fit, you will radiate self-confidence. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, it creates positive momentum that will carry over into everything else in your life. There is a direct link between your fitness level and your sense of self confidence.

10. Focus on contribution. Too often we get caught up in our own goals and desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about you own flaws. This will increase your self confidence and allow you to make a valuable contribution to the world around you. The more you focus on contribution to the world the more recognition you will receive and the more self confidence you will feel.

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