Confidence is more important than competence
A lot of people don’t realize this, but research has found that being confident is actually more important than being competent for success.
Researchers asked a group of subjects to rate the competence of 60 individuals who were either taking an exam or participating in a tennis tournament.
The subjects were given 2 pieces of information. How well the individuals had thought they would perform, and how well they actually performed.
Here’s where things get strange.
Even when the individuals who had thought they would perform well performed badly, the research subjects ranked them higher and more competent.
Fascinating isn’t it? If you believe in yourself, others will too – regardless of whether or not you are actually competent.
Brain tricks to feel and become more confident
Over the years psychology research has shown us multiple ways to feel and act more confident. We’ve listed some of the most fascinating psychology studies that can trick your brain to feel more confident below:
Use a lucky charm
Research has found that lucky charms actually do work.
In 2010 a german psychologist studied university students who were taking part in a mini-golf game. The group was divided into participants who were given a lucky ball, and those who weren’t. The participants who were given “lucky balls” played 35% better than the other students.
The researchers then did a study on a set of different students who said they used lucky charms. They used a variety of items including wedding rings, special stones, and even stuffed animals.
The participants were asked to give their lucky charms to the researchers for a picture, after which they were asked to do a computerized memory test. In a twist, only 50% of the lucky charms were returned to the participants before the test.
The students who had their lucky charms on them, did significantly better on a memory test they were given, than those who didn’t.
Even Michael Jordan has attributed his success to wearing his college team shirts under his shorts at every game.
Chewing a gum
Chewing gum has been found to instantly make you feel less stressed and more confident.
When you chew gum, tricks your brain into thinking that you are safely eating a meal. Therefore it starts to produce chemicals that make you feel relaxed and neutralize any stress response. This is the perfect way to feel confident and calm before going in for an important meeting or interview.
Chewing gum also has the added benefit of boosting your mental focus. Even more so than caffeine. But the effect is short-lived, and only lasts for about 20 minutes.
In one research study at st. Lawrence University students were asked to complete a list of demanding cognitive tasks. This included solving difficult puzzles and repeating random numbers backward. Half the students were then given gum to chew during the tests, and half were given nothing. The students who chewed gum did better on 5/6 tests. The only test they didn’t do better on was verbal fluency, where they had to name words from a particular category such as “toys.”
Smiling makes you more confident
We all know that smiling makes you happy. When you smile your brain releases endorphins which reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, and most importantly make you feel better about yourself.
But smiling also has the added benefit to trick your brain into feeling more confident. It’s because of something called the mind-body connection. When your body acts as if it is feeling a certain way, your brain follows suit.
The brain-body connection works both ways. When you have a negative thought or feeling, your body posture may begin to slouch, and you may suddenly feel tired.
So when you smile, your brain thinks that your body is feeling happy, and confident so your brain should too. It, therefore, stimulates the amygdala, which releases neurotransmitters that make you feel more positive, and confident.
You might have to fake a smile initially but it’ll become a habit soon enough! And if it makes you feel better, your brain doesn’t entirely know whether you’re faking a smile, or actually smiling!
When we feel confident, our body language often reflects that. We stand up straighter, our chest is more open, and we may even take up more space. This is known as power posing.
Power posing has been found to have a number of positive effects on the body. It can increase your testosterone levels, which makes you feel more powerful and assertive. It can also increase your feelings of self-worth and reduce stress levels.
The best part is that you can do power poses anywhere, without anyone knowing. They’re a great way to boost your confidence before an interview or important meeting.
There are a few different power poses that you can try. The first one is called the Superman pose. You literally just have to stand like the superhero.
Another one is called the Wonder Woman pose, which you can do by making a fist with your hand and placing it on your chest.
The third one is called the Goddess. You can do this pose by placing your hands on your hips and tilting your head back slightly. This will raise your chin making you look more powerful and positive.
All of these poses have been found to release a hormone called testosterone, and reduce cortisol. More testosterone in our body leads to greater confidence, while lower levels of cortisol lead to reduced anxiety, and a better ability to deal with stress. The end result is we feel more confident, assertive, and in control.
This amazing Ted talk by Amy cuddy is a great way to get started with power poses!
Fake it till you make it
So, if you want to feel more confident before an important meeting or interview, try chewing gum, smiling (even if you have to fake it at first), and taking deep breaths. These tricks will help your brain get into the right state for success. And remember, even if you don’t feel confident at first, faking it till you make it can work
Interested in becoming more confident our 30-day Challenge workbook is designed for you.