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Confidence is a Skill - Here's How to Learn It

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You might think confidence is genetic, but research shows that's not the case. Shyness and cautiousness are natural human traits. But you can learn confidence, in the same way you can learn any skill. Here are a few ways you can learn how to be more confident:

Don't Take Your Thoughts Too Seriously

According to Becky Blalock, author and former Fortune 500 executive, the average human has 65,000 thoughts per day, and most of them are negative, warnings to yourself about things to worry about or fear. But thoughts are just thoughts -- they don't necessarily reflect reality. Just be aware that this is the way your brain works and know that you have the power to disregard or challenge any thought you have.

Set a Goal

Goal-setting is something professionals in all walks of life do all the time. Write it down and then concentrate on meeting it. When you do, you'll feel a little more confident in yourself and your abilities.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Every moment you spend inside your comfort zone, it slowly shrinks. Step outside it on a regular basis and guess what? It starts to expand, little by little. We're all afraid to do something, but if we push ourselves to do it, we usually find it wasn't as bad as we'd imagined. That's not to say you should take foolish risks, doing things you're really not prepared to do. But if it's something that most people are able manage without too much difficulty, give it a try. If you can conquer your fears a little each day, you're making progress. (Practice!)

Learn to Bounce Back

It's not an actual failure that hurts your confidence, it's not getting up and trying again. Surrendering won't get you anywhere. Resilience and persistence are the tickets to success and an ensuing sense of confidence.

Do Your Homework

Good preparation goes a long way toward boosting your confidence. Nervous about giving a presentation? Practice it several times, record it and listen to each practice session until you like what you hear. Whatever the situation, if you're prepared, you'll be more confident.

Ask for Help

People don't automatically know what you want or need. It's up to you to ask for help when you need it. You'll find that most people are more than willing to give objective advice about a situation if you ask them. In fact, they're usually flattered that you chose to ask them.

Practice is the key here, just as it is when learning ride a bicycle. And once you learn, most of it stays with you, adding to your level of skill. Go forth with confidence!

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