Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity. Successful men/women act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.
– Dupree Jordan, American biologist, educator (1851-1931)
Lack of self confidence, of self assurance, of belief that you are worthy of the admiration of others if they only knew your qualities and talents, your skills and knowledge, shows on your face, in the expression on your face (facial language), in the way you carry your body (body language), in the position in which you place yourself in relation to someone you are speaking with, in the manner in which you speak.
Belief in yourself as lacking success and self worth shows on you as much looking successful and confident does on someone who feels successful and worthy of admiration. Others will treat you accordingly.
Part of the skill of exuding self confidence can be learned, such as what you need to do to give the perception of success and confidence. The other part, perhaps the more important part, is attitude. That’s what you believe about yourself.
Despite what some guides to success will tell you, how you dress has little to do with the perception of you by others of success. Bill Gates, of Microsoft, for example, dresses casually–more correctly like a geek–all the time, though few would ever say he lacks confidence. If your footwear doesn’t fit with the rest of your attire, that is apt to tell more about you than whether you are dressed formally, casually or in grubbies.
One of the main reasons that people lack confidence in their abilities is that they don’t have sufficient knowledge, skills and abilities to feel confident about. That’s a simple matter of filling in gaps in your knowledge or skill sets.
In a casual discussion you must know at least enough to keep the conversation going so that you can come across as a good listener. If the discussion is more like a debate, then you must know more than the others involved or your lack of information will be revealed.
Knowledge and skills do not gift themselves to you within your genetic code. You earn them with hard work. Something you learn today may do you no good for another 30 years, but when you can bring it up in a discuss then it shows you to have both a good memory and a deep base of knowledge.
Read, observe, listen and learn. There’s no such thing as knowing too much. Where a problem arises is when you know a great deal about one subject but next to nothing about most others. You can’t carry a good conversation if you don’t have enough knowledge to participation in a broad range of subjects. If you know only one subject well, you may try to dominate conversations about that subject to show yourself well, but that could turn people away too.
Bill Gates began his adult life as a computer geek. But he learned a huge amount about business, about public speaking, about personnel management. Now he’s learning about what it’s like to be a benefactor as he gives away billions of dollars each year, computers and software to schools, and dollars for research into cures for disease, especially AIDS. He didn’t stop learning when he had expertise in one subject area.
Acting with confidence while having little to back it up with may not be wise either. Most of us have met people who seem confident to the max, but you can’t get them to do much or to say much of value because they don’t have the stuff to fill their self-inflated balloon of confidence.
You don’t have to be an expert to be confident in yourself. Most pretty people are confident, yet airheads if you get them into a serious conversation. They are so used to gaining attention for their beauty that they have to keep the conversation light so their basic ignorance of most subjects isn’t revealed.
How can you become recognized for your knowledge long before you know a huge amount about a subject? Learn something then talk about it. Watch a documentary, then include information about that subject in a conversation the next day. Read the newspaper daily, then include facts about a story in your water cooler chats. Read a good book, then be prepared to recommend it to others. Cumulatively, these all add to your aura of being a knowledgeable person.
Act confident and successful, but keep your mouth shut when you don’t know much. That’s when your skill of being a good listener comes to advantage. A good listener will hear something, then ask a question which the speaker will appreciate because it indicates that the listener has been paying attention and thinking about what he or she has heard. And you will learn in the process.
You can act confident and successful when you don’t know much about the topic of conversation but you look confident and ask relevant questions so that your participation is recognized and appreciated.
Nobody knows everything. You only have to know enough when it’s your turn to speak and to keep quiet when you don’t have relevant information at hand. In between you can smile knowingly and nod at the right times.
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