The meaning of confidence

What is confidence?

Confidence is usually defined as being assured that something is going to happen in a predictable way. For example, most people are confident – even if they could never really be entirely sure – that the sun will come up tomorrow. As such, confidence tends to be built on the experience of past events. When someone has become convinced of something, their behaviour may change accordingly. For example, a gambler may bet a larger sum if they have greater confidence in the outcome. Lack of it, alternatively, may mean wagering a lower amount or not betting at all. Being confident, therefore, can lead to greater risk-taking activities, but it may also mean being more assured in what you intend doing anyway. At a personal level, confidence means being assured of what you aim to achieve or say.

What can confidence do for you?

With greater confidence, you can appear to be more self-assured. People who do not feel confident in a given situation may come across as insecure or even bumbling. For example, unless a person has a great deal of experience with public speaking, it is more likely that he or she will stutter or get their words confused when giving a speech. Feeling confident can also lead you to try new things based on positive experiences in the past. For instance, someone who has gained assurance about their worth in the workplace will often go for new employment opportunities that are more rewarding. Under-confident people, on the other hand, tend to stay where they are.

How does confidence lead to success?

Because it means feeling more fearless, there is less doubt that a confident person will be subject to. As well as leading to more of a can-do attitude, it means being able to try new things out or apply old skills in new settings. A confident person is likely to define success in such a way that is more likely to be achieved. Some without this trait will often say to themselves that they will never reach a goal, so why bother trying? Confident people turn that question around by seeing an ambition as a challenge that excites them.

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Is confidence an emotion?

Many people agree that confidence is an emotion that falls into the same bracket as things like happiness, gratitude and arousal. Like other emotive traits, this means that it is something that people can develop a better understanding of within themselves. To some psychologists, over-confidence means not being able to truly get to grips with its emotional aspects.

How can you develop more confidence?

Visualising yourself succeeding is a common way that people get themselves to feel more confident. Simply rehearsing something so that it is less unusual to you will mean that you become more assured doing it. In addition, you can build self-confidence by affirming greater positivity, for example, by doing something as simple as making a list of good things in your life.

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