Ok, I know what you’re thinking.
Confidence hacks? Really?
The word “hacks” been used so much lately that it’s practically meaningless. The problem is, people now think “hacks” are just ways to get instant results without doing any real work.
These confidence hacks are different—they do require some effort. Each one is a highly targeted action you can take to get an almost immediate boost to your mood and self-esteem.
Without any further ado, here are 7 ways you can legitimately increase your confidence when you need it most.
Watch the video below or continue reading.
Big thanks to our sponsor Scentbird for making this post possible! Scentbird offers designer fragrances delivered right to your door each month. Use offer code TDM25 to save 25% off your first cologne or perfume.
1. Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body
One of the biggest enemies of confidence on a daily basis is your mind—yes, your own mind.
Some people speculate that the average person has approximately 70,000 thoughts per day.
And because humans evolved to be on alert for danger and risk, many of those thoughts are negative. The constant “what if?”
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I fail?
Sometimes we get so caught up in our negative thoughts that we go down a rabbit hole. And if you’ve ever been trapped in a negative head space, you know that trying to think your way out of that is almost impossible.
That’s why the fastest way to change your mood and your confidence is by changing your physiology—moving your body.
Not only does exercise help distract you from your negative thoughts—but it has also been proven to physiologically improve your sense of well-being by releasing feel-good endorphins that reduce anxiety and boost your confidence.
Even when you can’t exercise, deliberately adjusting your posture can almost instantly improve your mood. According to Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, just two minutes of doing simple “power poses” like putting your hands on your hips and standing up straight may significantly decrease cortisol (a stress hormone) and increase testosterone. This combination makes us feel more relaxed, empowered and confident.
2. Harness the Power of Scent
Scent also has a powerful effect on us. Have you ever noticed how one smell can transport you back to a specific memory in a way that no other sense can?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that smelling good can increase our sense of feeling more put-together and well-groomed.
But a 2009 study found that wearing fragrances can also improve how confident we appear to other people.
During the double-blind study, women were asked to watch videotapes of men who were either wearing cologne or not wearing cologne. Surprisingly, women found the men wearing fragrances to be more attractive—even though they weren’t able to smell them.
In a nutshell, smelling good makes us feel more confident, so we act more confident…and other people notice.”
That’s why wearing cologne can often be that final “X” factor in our grooming routine that takes us from having a ho-hum day to feeling like we’re on top of the world.
I’ve never been huge on cologne, but I’m just starting to dip my toe in the world of fragrance.
My Experience With Scentbird
About a year and a half ago, I discovered a company called Scentbird, which is a subscription service for fragrances. There are a few things that make it perfect for men who don’t typically buy a lot of cologne:
First, the fragrances come in a small spray size, so you’re not stuck with a large container of something you hate. You can sort of “date” different fragrances rather than having to commit to one.
Secondly, it makes the experience of shopping for a fragrance way more comfortable—especially if you’re like me and don’t love the chaos of department store fragrance counters. In the store, sometimes it’s hard to really know whether you like something when you’re surrounded by all these other scents and bright lights.
Scentbird partners with designer brands (everything from Tom Ford, to Prada to Guerlain, to Gucci) and their selection is pretty broad. You can go on their website and choose from over 450 different fragrances.
For $14.95 a month, they don’t send a tiny sample; it’s actually a full rollerball size that lasts 30 days—about half the price of what you would pay for something that size.
In the past, I was always afraid of using too much cologne. But as I’ve started to explore it more, I have a better sense of how much to use. And it’s nice because it really is that extra little “zhuzh” of grooming when you’ve taken time to look your best. You get that same crisp feeling of confidence that you get when you just leave the barber with a perfect haircut.
If you’re interested checking out Scentbird, they’ve been generous enough to provide an offer code: use TDM25 to get 25% OFF your first cologne or perfume.
3. Do A Small Act of Kindness for Someone Else
Another great way to quickly boost your confidence is to stop thinking about yourself so much…and to focus on someone else for a change.
We get caught so up in our own drama and baggage, that sometimes we forget a very simple truth:
We have the ability to make other people happy.
You’d be surprised, but knowing that you’ve actually brightened someone else’s day can help neutralize all the petty concerns that you had about your own day.
Guess what: helping others also has a physiological effect that can boost your mood.
In the book The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks and Peggy Payne talk about how helping others can trigger what they call a “helper’s high.”
Similar to the “runner’s high” that athletes experience, helping other people can trigger a release of endorphins. And after that initial rush, you experience a longer period of calm and emotional well-being.
Go out and do something nice for a stranger. You could go as far as volunteering at a shelter for half a day (nothing puts your petty concerns in perspective like meeting people who don’t have regular access to food and housing).
Or it can be as simple as paying for a stranger’s coffee in line at Starbucks.
You’ll be surprised at how good you feel afterward.
4. Take a Calculated Risk
Another thing that can sky-rocket your confidence almost instantaneously is when you step outside of your comfort zone.
We spend so much of our lives living within a very confined sphere—work, home, friends, family. In that familiar environment, all of our self-criticisms and problems seem bigger and more difficult to solve.
But we forget how invigorating it can be to get a different perspective. To challenge ourselves. To take a risk.
I’m not talking about doing something physically dangerous. There are many social risks that are just as scary to tackle.
Single? Grow a pair and finally approach that girl you’ve been meaning to talk to.
Wear a piece of clothing that you think it too bold for you.
Try a new haircut.
Take a class and learn a new skill.
Attend a conference or plan a trip to a place where you don’t know anyone else.
So many of these things seem like “risks” before you do them. But then, if you actually work up the courage to take the leap? Suddenly a weight is lifted off of your shoulders.
I was afraid to do this?
The best thing is, even if you don’t reach your intended goal—even if you “fail,” you still feel better about yourself because you had the cojones to put yourself out there.
After a while, you begin to crave that sensation of staring down your fears and charging right into them. And your confidence builds because you feel that positive momentum in your life.
5. Reconnect With Play
Another thing that sometimes zaps our confidence is this constant drive to achieve more.
Technology has made it so that we’re always “on,” and now the rat race is even more of a grind than ever.
We feel like have to constantly push ourselves to work harder, achieve more…but it’s never quite enough.
The thing is, sometimes working harder isn’t the solution. It’s allowing yourself to rediscover play.
Play is a state where we are truly ourselves, once we let go of our egos and fear of looking stupid.”
As Charlie Hoehn writes in Play it Away, allowing yourself to reconnect with the simple joy of play can do wonders for your stress level and confidence. No longer are you beating yourself up for not working harder or achieving more. You’re simply allowing yourself to be.
Rather than trying to be “productive,” for once, maybe you should just let yourself enjoy playing a game, doing a puzzle, shooting hoops, playing catch. Being a kid again.
Charlie says, “Play is a state where we are truly ourselves, once we let go of our egos and fear of looking stupid.”
Ironically, allowing yourself periods of play can actually help increase productivity. The release that comes from letting go of that stress—even for a few hours—can help improve our focus, creativity, and satisfaction with our work and our lives.
6. Talk to Yourself
Whether you realize it or not, you already talk to yourself all the time. But it’s easy to forget that you have the power to control whether that self-talk is positive or negative.
Think positive self-talk is too “woo-woo”? Do you know who else gets motivation from talking to themselves?
Navy Seals…Oh yeah, and Olympic athletes.
Even with their elite training and extreme levels of physical fitness, Navy Seals and Olympic athletes have figured out that psyching themselves up mentally and squashing negative self-talk is key to achieving peak performance.
But it turns out there’s a right way and a wrong way to talk to yourself.
Personal development guru Gary John Bishop believes that positive affirmations don’t work—because we’re trying to convince ourselves of something we fundamentally don’t believe.
Like when I tell myself: “I’m a killer on the dance floor. Ladies can’t resist my super sexy moves!”
Yeah, that’s a great aspiration. But when you’re trying to convince yourself that you’ve already attained something and you haven’t yet, then it becomes a disconnect in your mind.
According to Bishop, instead of using affirmations you should use positive assertions.
The difference is that assertions are things you can legitimately summon on your own. One of the big assertions that Bishop talks about in his book is the phrase “I am willing.”
“I am willing to practice and work hard at becoming an amazing dancer. I am willing to risk making a fool out of myself to get more attention from the ladies on the dance floor.”
Assertions work because they don’t conflict with reality. You can make them true. And no one can take them away from you.
7. Create an “Awesome Log”
A final way to quickly boost your confidence is by simply reminding yourself of your past victories.
We all have small successes—they happen all the time. The issue is that we forget about them.
At best, we give ourselves a moment to bask in the afterglow, and then we’re right back to dealing with the next challenge or drama in our lives.
It helps to sit down and try to think of all the times in your life when things have gone well, when you’ve had little wins, etc. But it’s even better if you can set up a system to capture those memories going forward.
That’s why you should create an “awesome log” and use it to keep track of things like:
- Little personal wins
- Great complements you received
- Small victories at work
- Deeply meaningful conversations you don’t want to forget
- Things that made you proud
You could go “analog” and capture this stuff in a notebook, or do it electronically in an app like Evernote. You could even make it a little more physically interactive and fun by putting post-it notes in a mason jar—so you can visually watch as your awesome log grows.
We all have small successes—they happen all the time. The issue is that we forget about them.”
If you’re having trouble thinking of past victories, ask for some help. Ask your friends or coworkers. Sometimes they will remember positive experiences about you that you’ve forgotten.
By capturing those thoughts going forward, you can refer back to your awesome log whenever you need a little pick-me-up and to help you remember that “oh that’s right, I AM awesome. And here are a few tiny reasons why…
It’s true that you can’t just summon confidence out of thin air. You do have to make an effort to change your mindset.
But if you focus on a few key actions like the ones above, you can almost instantly boost your confidence and your overall outlook.
Now I want to hear from you. What other tips do you have for quickly boosting your confidence? Leave a comment below.