Do you wish you could feel more confident?
A research study by Alexander Jordan at Tuck School of Business found that most of us tend to think that other people are 20 per cent happier and more confident than they actually are. That’s because of something that I call The Confidence Con: the fact that we are conned by the surface appearance of confidence. So when we see someone who appears confident, we assume that he or she also feels confident inside. But the study by Alexander Jordan (as well as studies by other researchers too) tells us that’s often not true.
In fact, many individuals who appear confident on the outside are actually wracked by self-doubt and a lack of confidence on the inside. There are many examples of famous people who all appear confident on the surface yet report feeling incredibly nervous: people like the singer Adele and actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Dame Judi Dench. I have also worked with many executives, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and entertainers who seemed confident yet who confessed to feeling huge levels of anxiety and a lack of confidence. For the confidence chapter of my book How To Stand Out: Proven Tactics For Getting Noticed, I interviewed a sales woman who was described by her colleagues as a “power woman” and someone “really ambitious, confident, on it, quite matter of fact, very business oriented, just like a bulldozer.” Yet privately, she admitted to feeling great anxiety; she had even experienced panic attacks in the past without her colleagues knowing.
So trust me when I say the following to you:
There are probably many people around you who feel less confident than they may seem on the surface.
Okay. Perhaps you’re wondering: how does this help you if you’re struggling with your confidence?
So here are three points to take away:
- Remember that most other people appear more confident than they actually are.
- If you ever feel that everyone else seems more confident than you, remember that you’re probably wrong! It’s likely that many of the people you know privately feel less confident than than may seem publicly.
- So take heart from the fact that you’re far from alone. If you ever start to think that you’re one of the least confident people you know, keep reminding yourself that you are not!
— Dr Rob Yeung (@RobYeung) September 1, 2015