[quote style=”boxed”]Self-Realization doesn’t start from the outside, but from the inside”[/quote]how to act self confident when you are not

When I first got into personal development and started to read books about the subject. I would often consistently come across the statement ‘Fake it ’till you make it’, which I never seemed to quite grasp.

How can you fake being something when it isn’t who you really are in the first place?

Wouldn’t that make you even more insecure?

It was difficult to understand at the time because my understanding of it was that who we are isn’t enough and that in order to ‘become’ something, we would have to change something about ourselves. In my eyes, this seemed unethical and illogical because it assumes we have to acquire something due to not having it within us in the first place.

This rationalization is no coincidence because in most of western society, we are often taught that external validation is what’s required in order for us to feel better about ourselves.

In fact, the majority of advertisements we see around us is built on this idea. In order to feel great and have a solid identity, we need a bigger house, a nicer car, nicer clothes and more material wealth.

While I can’t go into the reasons behind why it’s built this way and best served for another article. It’s of little wonder why the majority of us lack belief in ourselves and why we’re constantly looking for outside validation in order to give us an indication of our value. So the model of this is as follows:

Seek > Acquire > Believe

While it seems to make sense on the surface, I never quite understood it’s practicality as it requires that we ‘chase’ after what we want from ourselves. The issue is, it’s never ending.

Based on the above logic, the solution to how to act self confident when you are not would be to do the following:

  • Make loads of money
  • Buy nice clothes
  • Make loads of friends
  • Buy a big house
  • Buy a nice car

What if we achieved material wealth, what next?

The Paradox

Having met numerous people experiencing success and achievement who were also lacking in self confidence, It’s clear that external achievement and ‘status symbols’ isn’t enough. This puzzled me for a while because the solution to this seemed unclear.

Vincent Nguyen and Ivan Chan wrote a great article about wasting your life and in particular, mentions how we tend to focus on the wrong things in life, which causes us to lose focus. It reminded me how powerful our thoughts are and can easily feel misguided and lose touch of who we really are.

The deeper and more developed I became in my own self-esteem and self-confidence however, the more it started to become clear.

Your outside world is a result of your inner world

The more I started to build myself internally, the more I started to see my outer world change:

  • I made better friends
  • I achieved more things
  • I became competent at more skills
  • I took better care of myself and treated myself with respect

This was the major paradox that I was better able to explain the more I improved myself.

The difference between 2 people with status and achievement is in their mindset

If a person embarked on success in order to feel better about him/herself then in essence, they have placed an anchor on their self worth, which if taken away would destroy it.

On the other hand, if a person embarked on success due to his/her level of self-confidence and belief in themselves, then the external achievement would be of little importance due to how they feel about themselves on the inside.

Therefore, the model is reversed:

Believe > Seek > Acquire

You can’t achieve in order to believe. You have to believe in order to achieve.

I really do believe that there’s a fine line between success and failure and it’s all to do with your mindset. The reason why it’s difficult to apply is because it’s difficult to truly understand it until you’re actually experiencing it.

While I’ve written about this as best I could, My only hope is that you get to read it and understand the basic concept as to what it means to truly believe in yourself.

We can all achieve great things in life and already have the resources within us to do it. If it means ‘faking it ’till you make it’, it should hopefully make you realize that it isn’t faking at all, but training you to act as though you already have it. Because in reality, you do!

Question: What did you do to change your beliefs about yourself? Please leave your comments below…

Onder Hassan
Onder Hassan

Onder is the founder of Dawn of Change. He spends most of his time in the discovery of his own potential, building his self-confidence and using his experiences to share and teach others how to do the same.

    21 replies to "How To Act Self Confident When You Are Not"

    • Diana Reid

      Isn’t it fascinating how the inner world and outer world are connected? while so many of us have the equation back to front, Im so glad you set the record straight & more importantly shared this from your own experience. For me change occurred when i realized that you cant make everyone happy, I decided to do the things that made me happy and as a result live a better more authentic life! Great post Onder such an important lesson.

      • Onder Hassan

        Thanks Diana 🙂
        Not caring about what other people think helps for sure.
        A lot of people do things just to make others happy or to get validation that they’re worthy enough to be taken seriously by people.
        The truth is, you gain respect by having a healthy inner dialogue. It never comes from material possessions or status. That stuff comes as a result of how you feel about yourself.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Onder, I think there are several things you can do to achieve self-confidence. One is to choose a worthy goal (not material success, that is a by-product rather than and end) and pursue it wholeheartedly. Even in the earnest pursuit of your goal and the good energy it engenders, you become more confident; when you achieve a goal, you become so much more confident and stronger. Also, serving people gives us purpose and validity, while it takes the focus on “me me me.” Connecting with others in a warm and open way really builds confidence. I totally agree that you have to “believe in order to achieve” and not the converse, great post!

      • Onder Hassan

        Thanks Kathleen,

        You’re absolutely right. I think for a man especially, it’s vitally important to have a higher purpose above anything else because it allows him to achieve his full potential as a man.

        Not saying it’s a gender thing at all, just pointing from my experience specifically having recently reached adulthood. My twenties have been an ‘adult adolescent’ period and learning about what it means to be a man.

        It’s taken me my whole twenties to figure it out, but now that i’m approaching 30. It makes much more sense to me. 🙂

        The mark of a man is to pursue something that is far greater than himself.

    • Lynda Sherry

      Yes, I think you have to feel it and experience it before it gets you and you understand what this difference really means for you. Several others have said the same thing using different vocabulary. Tony Robbins, ” develop routines and change your strategy.” Dr Phil, ” if what you are doing is not working, don’t keep doing it.”
      Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

      • Onder Hassan

        It’s so true Sherry. It’s a universal truth that everyone seems to figure out and explain in their own way, but is fundamentally the same.

        Here’s another example by Earl Nightingale, which was the main premise for all of his teachings – “We become what we think about” 🙂

        Thanks for reading!

    • Trevor Wilson

      I don’t believe confidence ever comes from material things. Self-confidence is belief in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no amount of money can ever change that.

      But on the flip side, you can’t force yourself to believe something you don’t. If you don’t believe in yourself, simply telling yourself how confident you are isn’t going to work.

      What’s the solution?

      You have to earn your confidence. You have to get out there and take a chance or two. You have to start making decisions that you can respect. In time, your pattern of behavior will make a difference. You’ll see that you face fear, stand up for what you believe in, and go after what you want.

      In essence, you have to prove to yourself that you’re capable before you’ll ever feel confident. But once you do, it’ll be damn near impossible to ever break that confidence.

      And as always, it starts with simple actions taken in the right direction. The choices might be hard, but the right decisions usually are.


      • Onder Hassan

        You make a good point Trevor.

        I think therapy becomes vital at that level because a person lacking self-esteem and confidence would not know their self worth until they got reminded by it by a professional.

        Otherwise we would be looking for success for all the wrong reasons. It’s why what I explained above makes sense in that you can be successful yet still lack self-esteem.

        I think seeking therapy and coaching would be vital when first starting out.

    • Dan Black

      The first person we have to lead and manage is our self. We have control our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions if we expect to do anything significant in this life. Once we can control the person in the mirror we will be able to do more. Great thoughts.

      • Onder Hassan

        It’s true Dan but it can be very difficult.

        You have to almost be Zen like to have total control of your emotions and not get affected by outside circumstances. I think the easiest way would be consistent exposure to the same situations until you reach a point where it no longer affects your mood.

        • Dan Black

          Ya, I hear you. The hardest person to lead is our self. It’s like some once said, “If I could kick the person most responsible for my problems I would not be able to sit down for a week.” Leading self is a daily task/challenge. Keep writing great content Onder!

          • Onder Hassan

            Lol For me, it would be more like a Year 😛
            Thanks for the support Dan!

    • Steve

      I think faking it until you make it works. When I was younger I did it with confidence and it worked out well for me. Usually the people who need to do this are underestimating their own abilities. Faking confidence pushes themselves to do things they didn’t think they could. So when they achieve things under that fake confidence, they gain real confidence.

      • Onder Hassan

        It definitely works Steve,
        I don’t think it’s really faking it because if you’re already behaving in a certain way, then that means you already have it 😉
        The difficulty is turning it from a conscious behaviour to an unconscious behaviour.

    • Stefan Pylarinos

      Thanks for sharing. I agree… you definitely need to be able to BELIEVE first, then you’ll see it. I’ve been doing a morning ritual for awhile now that has helped me to change some of my beliefs. It really makes a difference.

      • Onder Hassan

        No problem Stefan,
        Rituals are definitely crucial when it comes to building new habits and patterns of behaviour.

        When you think about it, everything we do, good and bad is all a result of daily habits we did on a daily basis without realizing it.

    • Jantje

      Thank you, Onder! Your question “What if we achieved material wealth, what next?” resonated most with me. We always ask for me, even though we could be happy with what we have, but no.
      To answer your question, I talk to close friends and ask them detailed question on how they see me, on different topics. That does not make me change my belief from one day to the next, but it triggers a process, which is often worthwhile!

      • Onder Hassan

        Thank you so much for the great feedback Jantje 🙂
        It’s always good to ask for feedback from people as they tend to notice things about you that is often difficult to notice by yourself.
        Another thing you could try, which I do constantly is record myself to see if I can spot things that need improving. I had a friend do it a few years ago and it was fascinating!

    • Guest

      Very useful and supportive article. I wish I can do all of
      that in a short period of time.

    • […] I would encourage finding someone who’s on the same mission as you who also works extremely hard. The harder worker they are the better since they will literally force you to step up and take things to the next level. […]

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