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How do we gain confidence and prevent Alderaan from becoming a fiery ball of interstellar ash?

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Amy Cuddy TED Talk:

SUCCESS Magazine article, "7 Mental Hacks to Be More Confident in Yourself":

Business Insider article on deliberate practice:



"5 Crazy Simple Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!" (How to Adult video on productivity):

Confidence can be an elusive elixir.  To quote Princess Leia, "It often feels that the more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems (and confidence) will slip through your fingers."  So, how do we gain confidence and prevent Alderaan from becoming a fiery ball of interstellar ash?  Yeah, that's a pretty loose metaphor but you get my point!

Let's start by pinning down what confidence is.  Confidence is not arrogance or narcissism, which are both based on unrealistically positive views of your self, your skills, or your ability to do like, really complicated, large jobs.  In fact, confidence is much more about seeing thing as they actually are.  (?~0:49) "Confidence is knowing what you're good at, the value you provide, and acting in a way that conveys that to others," or as psychologists who study the topic put it, confidence is one part self-esteem, one part optimism, and one part courage, all of which come into play when we respond to challenges.  

Now, there's some sad news and some glad news.  Sad news first, research suggests that our level of confidence, like our level of happiness, is partly based on factors outside of our control, such as genes or the social environment in which we were raised.  So the glad news is that a substantial amount of our confidence is completely under our control and here are a few of the ways that we can optimize it.  

Let's say you're heading into a job interview and you want that extra confidence boost.  Studies show that for everyone from athletes to astronauts, closing your eyes and vividly imagining a successful outcome can boost your confidence and your ability to actualize that outcome.  

You can also take a few minutes to strike what Dr. Amy (?~1:44) calls power poses: physical stances that might make us feel more empowered.  Replications of this original study have been inconclusive so, mmm, but if it works for you, go for it.  

Number three, be all about that bass.  It's probably not that surprising listening to uplifting music has been shown to elevate mood and confidence, but the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University conducted research indicating that specifically listening to bass-heavy tunes has the power to make you feel more confident.  I like an excuse to pump the bass in my Honda Civic.

Fourth, a couple of quick fixes.  Exercise.  Exercise leads to endorphin releases, which can give us a helpful boost.  Also, think about dressing in clothes that make you feel powerful.  It's much easier to feel confident and capable when you feel like your outfit is put together rather than thrown together.  

These tips are worth giving a try if you're in a jam, and if you can make them habitual, they might lead to lasting change.  Speaking of change, that's actually the topic of tip number five. In order to boost confidence, cultivate what author and Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck calls a "growth mindset."  Part of the reason people may lack confidence is their belief system about talents and abilities.  Many of us (?~2:57)