I sat down and went through a series of breathing exercises. The cold water ran through my hair and down my face. It found trails and rivers down my back. The water wept over my chest, it froze my nipples and sent shocks through my stomach. It shriveled my loins and pooled around my buttocks.
I reached down and stopped up the tub and then laid down on my back. I closed my eyes and let the cold water consume me, embrace me, cover me. I was left with only my nose and mouth in the air to breathe. The rest of me was lost. I was floating in a cold sea of thought.
What do people need? What do men need?
These days, more than anything, they need confidence. They need to know that it is okay to stand up and be a man. To be confident in themselves, confident in their abilities, confident in their opinions.
To that end, I’ve put together this list of seven little tricks, my scared pup, that will make you look more confident to others and feel more confident yourself. Enjoy!
It is hard to express just how much confidence and power you can draw from a smile. It is truly one of the greatest wonders of the world. In fact I feel like I’m giving away the biggest secret first, here. Smiling is the one thing on this list that will get you the most mileage and the most immediate results.
When you smile you come across as kind, you’re naturally disarming, and you put yourself and others in a good mood. Smiling will make people trust you and whatever it is you’re talking about. It will inspire them to be confident in you, which makes you more confident in yourself.
Make sure that you engage your eyes, eyebrows, and cheeks when you smile. If you only engage the lips or lower cheek area you’re going to come across as false and weird. This is the opposite of what we’re trying to go for, here. Imagine “compassion” when you smile and not, “that one bad guy from men in black that was a giant roach in a people suit.”
Look Up, Not Down
I will never forget the time my wife and I were on our second wedding anniversary at Ocean Isle beach and we saw this guy. He was such a fat, sad looking man. He must have weighed 300 pounds, and stood no taller than maybe 5’9”. He was wearing a bathing suit, flip flops, and an XXXL blue t-shirt.
As he trudged down the little wooden walkway towards the hotel I couldn’t help but notice he was slouched and his eyes were firmly glued to his feet. It was painful to watch him. I remember vividly sitting there, leaning forward in my chair, and studying this poor walrus. He looked so sad.
When you have poor posture, shoulders turned in and head tilted down, you look like you’re trying to hide. And, in fact, you are! This type of posture signals that you’re trying to avoid any kind of contact with other people. It’s disgraceful. Look up when you walk, look at your destination, not your feet. Trust me: Your feet are still down there.
Do you know the number one giveaway of a panicky person? They move too quick. Think about it: Criminals run; liars fidget; and you power-walk from your desk to the bathroom. Barring any intestinal disturbances, you really should cut down on your speed.
Confident people know where they’re going, and they get there whenever they want. They’re open to conversation, open to experience, and living in every moment. Most people suffer from either living in the past – trudging through their days, drunkenly retelling high school football stories – or they’re living in the future. Always panicked about the next appointment, hurrying through their lunch, rushing their kids to bed so they can finish up that TPS report.
Try living a in the present instead. Take your time when you’re going somewhere, move a little slower. You don’t have to panic about your next meeting, you don’t have to panic about your irritable bowel syndrome. Just relax and enjoy life as you live it. Don’t live in the future, enjoy current moment.
This is another easy one that will have some pretty powerful results. Whether you’re at a bar chatting up some thottie, hanging out with your friends, or in a meeting with your supervisor, you can never go wrong by just not saying anything. Seriously, think about it. Think about all of the dumb things you say that ruin otherwise enjoyable situations.
The remedy here is to just not speak. Imagine you’re at the bar chatting with Becky and things are going well. She asks you a question that you don’t know how to answer. Your choice is to either a) Say the wrong thing; or B) Say nothing. I know! At this moment you’re kicking yourself. “Damn,” You’re thinking, “I’ve spent my whole life doing A! I should have been doing B!” Exactly!
Or let’s imagine you’re in a situation with your employer and they’re upset. They’re giving you rope in the meeting so that you can hang yourself. What can you do to look confident, self-assured, and put them at ease? Personally, I would just stop talking.
Seriously. It is much easier than you think.
I know, it’s scary. Well unfortunately for you, Captain Asperger’s, we’re going to have to overcome that fear. Solid eye contact is going to be integral to any Confidence Man’s repertoire. You just can’t convince people that you’re honest and outgoing if you’re constantly looking around like a shifty-eyed lizard man.
An immediate confidence signal is eye contact. When you make eye contact with people it lets them know that you’re not scared of them. It lets them know that you are present in the interaction. Both of those things will bolster their confidence in you and your own confidence in yourself. Conversations are much easier when you know what the hell is going on.
Open Your Midline
This goes along with moving slower, eye contact, and holding your head up. So much of personal confidence comes down to confident posture. When you open up your midline to people you’re saying that you aren’t threatened or scared. This is an animal thing that we all understand.
Think about your pet dog or cat rolling on their back and showing you their belly. They do this because they have a high degree of trust in you. They’re confident that you will rub them instead of disembowel them.
When you stand with your arms loosely by your side instead of crossed over your chest you are saying essentially the same thing to Eric from Accounting: I trust you not to disembowel me.
It is such a simple concept that it almost seems silly to describe it to people. The truth is: If you don’t dress like a piece of shit you won’t feel like a piece of shit. I mean, that’s it. That’s the whole tip. When you dress well you feel confident in yourself and that comes across to other people.
Now am I saying that you should wear a suit and tie everywhere you go? Nah, not really. But maybe you should ditch the Star Wars t-shirt for something a bit more considered and purposeful?
After all: Everyone you meet is going to make an irreversible snap judgement about you, so you might as well stack the odds in your favor.
If you want to feel more confident you need to start doing confident things.
If you do the things I’ve listed here I’m positive that you’ll see an immediate improvement. You’ll also notice that people tend to treat you just a little bit better.
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Until next time!