the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.
Ahhhhh, yes. Confidence.
Something I believe everyone wants more of and is usually one of the most common characteristics when talking to someone we admire.
When you're confident it makes these much easier:
- Speaking your mind
- Giving a speech
- Sliding into your crushes DMs
- Going to the gym by yourself
- Telling your friends you don’t want to drink because you want to be healthier
- Getting a salad instead of your usual chicken fingers
- Asking for help without thinking you sound stupid
- Posting something you’re proud of but think you’ll be judged for
- Doing anything that your old self wouldn’t do
It is a trait that I genuinely want to try and instill into other people.
I see it almost as a sense of freedom and independence. When you have that raw and true self-esteem, you listen to yourself first. People can come at you consistently and try to persuade you, hate on you, pressure you, but it doesn’t matter because you are going to block that shit out and do what you wanna do at the end of the day.
This allows you to be your authentic self without feeling bad or guilty for being different than someone else.
Then, when you follow your “true” path in life, you will ultimately be happier than someone who let other people dictate what they should do with their life.
Now. I get that this can be much more complicated than I’m making it out to be and I’m not saying confidence will solve all of your life’s problems. But, the upsides to being confident are simply too exponential to ignore.
Before we deep dive into how to be more confident, it is important to quickly make the distinction between confidence and arrogance because these can easily be misconstrued.
having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.
The main differences that I see with these two are that confidence reveals the truth and arrogance is an exaggerated truth. When someone is arrogant it is also usually followed by them treating others poorly or acting superior to others with no evidence to back it up.
Now that we have those two definitions cleared up, let’s get into how I believe is the best way to learn how to be more confident (without it being genetically instilled in you):
By studying some of the most confident people on the planet.
*Disclaimer: Some of these people may have had some rough parts of their lives and may not always act in a way that you believe is right. I want this article to focus specifically on what we can learn about their confidence and mindset, not debate on whether or not they are a good human being.*
5 Case Studies On Confidence
#1 Kobe Bryant
One of the very few people who can ever be compared to Michael Jordan when it comes to stepping on the basketball court.
Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant.
He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, and ranks third on both the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists. He holds the NBA record for the most seasons playing with one franchise for an entire career.
Soooo, yeah, he's pretty good at basketball.
In addition to his physical skill set, Kobe’s ferocious and relentless presence on and off the court became known as the “Mamba Mentality”. Consisting of trash talk, unthinkable playmaking, and a constant cold face of intimidation, his opponents had much more to worry about than most other players they faced.
Whether he was scoring 81 points in a single game, swishing two free throws after an injury, or winning five championship rings it has been evident that his game is very deserving of this title.
Kobe’s Keys to Confidence:
1. Practice & repetition
He is known for his sickening work ethic that puts other players to shame. He didn’t become the greatest by accident. In an interview in China, when asked to speak on his confidence he said the following:
”Practice. Confidence is a tangible thing, it comes from practice and repetition. You have to put in the work in order to build that confidence. When others see you have that confidence, they will gravitate around you and have confidence in you. But it starts with you.”
2. Study the best to be the best
Famously known for stealing Michael Jordan’s moves, Kobe openly talks about studying MJ as he grew up and tried to mimic his game. He tells people to try and be the absolute best in whatever it is that they’re trying to do and one of the best ways to do that is to mimic the greatest in your field. When you’re really good at what you do, the self-confidence will follow as a result.
3. Be selfish
He got bashed a lot by the media for being selfish but he stated in one of his interviews, “You have to have some selfishness to get to an elite level as long as it doesn’t throw off the balance of the team.” It’s very hard for many to be confident because they are too worried about people thinking they only care about themselves, but you always have to be your own biggest fan by putting yourself first if you truly want to get where you want to be.
#2 Gary Vaynerchuk
I came across Gary probably a little over a year ago and I can honestly say there has not been a single person, outside of family/close friends, that has impacted my life in a more positive way than this guy right here.
In case you haven’t read my other blog posts, most have originated or been inspired in some way by Gary.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, a full-service digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients across the company’s 5 locations. Gary is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times Bestselling Author, and has been named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists. His end goal is to one day buy the New York Jets.
Yes, I am a major fan boy. But I promise if you check him out, you’ll likely find something that you can relate to. However, when many people first hear him speak they are turned off by his ego and bravado he carries with him.
Because BOY, does he have a lot of it.
The reason it works for him and what people usually quickly realize is that he balances that large amount of confidence and ego with an equal amount of humility.
Out of these 5 case studies, if there’s one person you could look more into to benefit your life, I would recommend Gary. So, without further rambling and idolizing, let’s get into how he has built his confidence.
Gary’s Keys To Confidence
1. Gratitude & parenting
These are two of the main characteristics that Gary attributes his success to. He was born in Belarus, former Soviet Union, and his family was traded to the U.S. for wheat. This combination of sheer luck and what he calls being “perfectly parented”, is how he developed his enormous amount of self-esteem. He said his mother extensively praised him for even doing the smallest good deeds, such as opening a door for someone, which caused him to constantly chase that feeling and has driven him to the position he is in today.
2. Not caring about what others think
Gary constantly talks about being a contradiction to himself. He verifies that he doesn’t care at all about what anyone else says about him while equally caring so much about what everyone says about him. Meaning, he is respectful to everyone and listening to what they have to say, but once they try to impose their will against him he will immediately block them out. He says the main reason people aren’t confident is because they care what other people will think about them if they fail. He says it’s his L and his loss, so he will worry about it and handle it on his own. He also likes to mention how “delicious” losing feels and how excited he gets when people doubt him because it is in his hardwiring to prove them wrong and “shove it in your f*cking mouth”.
3. Being the absolute best at what he does & focusing on strengths
Gary believes at his core that he is one of the all-time greats at business. He compares it to superstars being born with amazing singing abilities, being beautiful, natural athletic ability, etc. His natural ability that was instilled in him was empathy for human behaviors and being a salesman. He preaches hard work and “bleeding from your eyes” to reach your dreams, but he says talent is absolutely an important variable. He also likes to take pride in “staying in his lane” when it comes to confidence, because he doesn’t talk much about what he is not an expert in. In his popular talk with college students at USC, he says to “triple down on your strengths and not give a f*ck about what you suck at.”
#3 Muhammad Ali
Arguably the greatest boxer of all time, this guy had to make my list because he was just the complete package (and he was born in Kentucky, c’mon, had to).
Cassius Clay (later changed his name to Muhammad Ali) is regarded as one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 20th century. He remains the only three-time heavyweight champion, winning the titles in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Not only was he a world class boxer, as a musician, Ali recorded two spoken word albums and a rhythm and blues song, and received two Grammy Award nominations. As an actor, he performed in several films and a Broadway musical.
Not only was he the best in the ring and an entertaining celebrity, he was also a great human being and loved by millions all over the world for speaking his mind over cultural and religious issues he believed in. Whether you agree or disagree with his beliefs, I think his bravery for speaking his mind is something we can respect.
Be it his charisma, honesty, charm, work ethic, confidence in himself, obnoxious quotes, or all of the above, it is hard to argue we can’t learn something from this guy.
Cassius’ Keys To Confidence
1. Balancing humor with ego
Muhammad did an awesome job with the media because he would give such exaggerated answers to their provoking questions. His famous quote - “I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick.” - is a prime example. This was entertaining to many people and actually made them like him more because you can’t take him serious. His confidence was real, but his arrogance was simply an admirable act.
2. Success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success
I think this is going to be the one main underlying principle between all of these case studies because it is the backbone of each individual's confidence. He was given the nickname “The Greatest” for a reason. He started boxing at age 12 and worked with a hall of fame trainer that said Muhammad was one of the most dedicated students he had. He was always the first one there and the last to leave, with no bitching about being there. His confidence was built from the ground up starting with those daily training sessions at age 12 and ending with winning three heavyweight titles. The better you get at something, the more confidence you’ll present.
3. He didn’t care to make others feel uncomfortable
People are often not confident because what they’re saying isn’t how they really feel. When someone asked Muhammad a question, he would give them the absolute truth about how he felt. A prime example was when media was pressuring him for his decision to not join the military draft, he had a famous quote saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” He was not going to be swayed by other people’s opinions and proudly took a stand for what he believed in, whether you liked it or not.
#4 Michelle Obama
To be 100% honest, I barely knew anything about Michelle before I wrote this blog post simply because I have zero interest in politics (doesn't mean I don't think it's important). I’ve seen her in a few instances on TV and I’ve always respected how she presented herself, so I decided to dig a little deeper and I was not disappointed.
I am not naive to the persona people may put on in her position, but her credentials, the way she carries herself, and how she treats others only lead me to believe her intent is pure. For those reasons, I decided to proudly add her to the list.
Raised on the southside of Chicago, she experienced many of the hardships of a typical African American female in her younger years. Constantly being discriminated for being a girl and her opinion on matters were usually dismissed. She said this fueled her to keep her going and make her family members proud of her.
Fast forward a few years and following in her brother’s footsteps, she attended Princeton University where she was made more aware of her ethnicity and said she felt like a “visitor” on campus. This didn’t discourage her, however, and she ended up graduating with honors at Princeton with a degree in sociology and a minor in African American studies.
She further “proved herself” by graduating from Harvard Law School and then eventually becoming the first African American First Lady of the United States.
Basically, Michelle is a beast and has earned her way into becoming the woman she is today. Her confidence was tested throughout the entire journey, but she stayed true to herself and clearly it has payed off because she is one of the most influential females of this generation.
Michelle’s Keys To Confidence
1. Embrace the suck
Growing up on the southside of Chicago and always being in the shadow of her brother, she gained a nice-sized chip on her shoulder. This, in combination with the adversity and doubt she faced as an African American girl, made her determined to prove everyone wrong. She used her shortcomings as fuel to building her own self-esteem. When you constantly do what others say you cannot, you have no option but to believe in yourself and surpass the limitations others have tried to force on you.
2. Being proud of who she is
Michelle was never unaware that people treated her differently. She just didn’t care. She didn’t cry and complain about not having the same opportunities as others who were white or male, she was just better than them. She worked harder and smarter than them. She was not defined by other people’s perceptions of her and wanted to empower others like her to do the same. Using the traditional “that’s just how things are” excuse was just not how her mind worked and she decided to go against the status quo. By giving herself zero excuses on why she couldn’t be great, she was building her confidence every step of the way.
3. She had a duty to others
Perhaps one of her most powerful drivers to become more confident was her duty to become a great woman because it is what her parents expected of her. She was obsessed with making her parents, specifically her father, proud of what she accomplished. This internal motivator is so important because it is very easy to let yourself down, but when your actions are based around being accountable to someone else who is very special to you, it is much harder to give yourself an excuse to not follow-through. In order to accomplish this goal of hers, her confidence (along with every other characteristic) was forced to be taken to the next level.
#5 Conor McGregor
There’s not another person in the world that gets me more fired up than this guy right here.
Conor “The Notorious” McGregor.
I was never really into MMA and the UFC until I found out about Conor. When I did find out about him, I hated him on my first impression of seeing how he acted. There's a very fine line between arrogance and confidence, and Conor pushes it to the absolute limit.
I don’t normally respect someone who acts the way that he does, but then I looked into him more because his bulletproof mindset intrigued me so much. After watching a few documentaries and tons of YouTube videos, I respected the hell out of the guy because he was quite the gentleman outside of the ring, went out of his way to pay back to his fans, and his psychological warfare with his opponents is extremely entertaining.
Most importantly, though, the dude was the best at what he does and he backed all of his shit talking up. Conor knows he’s the best, has always believed he is the best, and makes sure that we know he’s the best too.
When you see someone that confident, who has earned their way into the top spot of their profession, it instantly makes you question your efforts towards what you really want. Whether I’m feeling unmotivated or anxious about something I’m not completely confident in, I’ll watch a little bit of Conor and I feel like I can rip someone’s face off.
It’s very easy to dismiss him and think he’s a terrible guy, but try to open your mind and realize what kind of work he is in. He has to fight people for a living. Psychology is huuuuge in fighting and if you have any form of intimidation of the other guy/girl, you’ll quickly be exposed (take most of his opponents, for example). His paycheck is also dictated by his demand by the fans and I can promise there’s not many people who don’t at least find this guy fun to watch. His over-the-top personality works for him financially and in the ring and I think it is just absolutely genius.
So, that being said, what’re Conor’s secrets to his ruthless confidence?
Conor’s Keys to Confidence
1. Focus on yourself
Conor is constantly bombarded with questions by the media, asking about how he is preparing for his next fight. He usually answers the same way, saying he doesn’t have to get ready for his opponents, they have to get ready for him. He says that he only has one opponent and that is himself. He doesn’t get caught up in what the other fighters or media are saying about him, he only focuses on being better than he was yesterday. When you know that you are progressing and getting better each day, while not worrying about your opponents, you stay out of your own head and build confidence as a by-product.
If there was ever someone who is a prime example for the “Law of Attraction”, Conor would be a perfect fit. It’s actually pretty crazy how scary accurate Conor is with his predictions against his opponents. Famously calling out the round and the way he is going to defeat his opponents… then it actually happening, is very common for him. He envisions the entire fight, including him coming out on top, over and over in his mind so when the time comes for him to actually perform he has already been in the situation thousands of times in his own mind. By visualizing exactly what you want to happen in the future, you can repeatedly use positive reinforcement to increase your confidence in that situation.
3. Sickening work ethic & pure obsession
Many people don’t understand the multidimensional and dynamic skill that goes into UFC fighting (myself included). You don’t get into the position Conor is in without working on your craft every single day. Conor’s famous quote saying, “There’s no talent here, this is hard work. I am not talented, I am obsessed.” His confidence is reassured every day that he practices because he goes into each training session with a “white belt mentality”, forcing him to pushing himself just as hard as when he first started. He never wants to get comfortable because that is when he will start to decline. He started fighting at the age of 10 and he said he had only one goal in mind: To be a world champion, at every waking moment. Just like the rest of the people on this list, confidence is instilled through hard ass work and not looking for the easy way out.
I really hope these case studies of some of the most confident people on the planet have given you a toolbelt of strategies to use. I truly believe confidence and self-esteem are the most important characteristics we can instill in others.
That is why I made this blog post.
I want you to take these strategies to heart and not just use this post as entertainment or short-term motivation.
Reading about these case studies are great to help light a fire under your ass, but my true intentions are for you all to go out and execute against these keys I have laid out for you.
At the end of the day, the belief of inner-confidence has to come from you and only you.
No one else is going to do it for you.
Do it now.
Make the mindshift and go kill it.
*If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I would love for you to do me a huge favor and share this with just one person who may need to read this. It would mean the world to me. :)*
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