A lack of self-confidence can make a man's life miserable in many ways.
Feeling anxious in social situations, not having the courage to lead in your career, or even getting bossed around in your romantic relationships. These are all signs of low self-esteem.
But don’t freak out. It's actually very common amongst most men, especially the younger ones.
Confidence is a byproduct of your experiences, successes, failures, and knowledge. This means it would be rare for a man to enter adulthood with a lot of self-confidence.
Of course, if you’re delusional or arrogant you might come across this way.
But for most men, they’re still trying to tally up some wins and build their self-esteem.
You might be reading this because you’re afraid to approach women, maybe you don’t have many wins in your career or you hate the way you look.
Either way, this article will help you improve your confidence.
What does it mean to have self-confidence?
Put very simply, a confident man completely trusts himself.
Many confident and successful men would define confidence as a product of their experiences. They’ve tried a lot, and learned a lot, and as a result, they’re more confident.
According to the Univerity of South Florida, self-confidence can be defined as accepting and trusting yourself. You are in control of your life and you’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses. A confident man is also very secure.
The opposite of being confident is having insecurities and self-doubt. Insecure men don’t trust themselves, their abilities, or their skills. Whether this is the result of childhood trauma, lack of purpose and direction, or pure laziness it can be fixed. In some cases, very quickly.
How can you tell if a man is confident?
You might be thinking it’s easy to spot a man with confidence.
And sometimes it is!
He walks with his chest up, makes direct eye contact, and voices his opinion whenever he feels like it. However, these are outer confidence traits that can be “faked” very easily. The are many other traits and actions a man can possess that make him truly confident.
A highly confident man is also:
- Calm under pressure
- Competitive by nature
- Comfortable in his own skin
- Speaks slowly and with purpose
- Embraces and learns from his failures
- Proactive with his life (defaults to taking action)
- Keen to take on challenges that other people avoid
Here are the 16 best ways to improve your confidence as a man
Building your confidence as a man could be as easy as walking with your chest up and holding eye contact with people. Although, there are many other effective ways to build long-term confidence.
I will note that it’s going to require work.
All the good things in life are on the other side of hard work. Regardless of how “smart” you work. You’ll need to put in the effort and push past your comfort zone.
Mindfulness is a foundational pillar for good health. So you should be meditating regardless of how confident you are. It’s the practice of quietening the mind, observing thoughts, and focusing on the breath or body. It helps you build awareness and focus.
When you meditate you naturally relax through breathwork which helps slow your body and mind.
Meditation can help you prevent negative self-talk, focus on the positive, observe your thoughts, and stress less. Over time this will eventually help you become more confident.
According to Headspace, meditation can help you improve your sense of self. Some users have reported improved mood, energy, and self-esteem using the headspace app. The benefits of meditation are far and wide and if you can build a routine around this you will improve your self-worth.
2. Improve your posture
Ever seen Suits? What about John Wick?
You probably know where I’m going with this.
Confident body language is everything.
Science Daily found that “slouchers” are less likely to be confident or believe in their abilities.
The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, – Ohio State University & Science Daily
Here’s a picture of Leonard from Big Bang Theory.
He’s slouching, looking at the floor, he seems upset, sorry for himself, and lost. Not exactly screaming confidence. In fact, he was featured in an article showcasing all the beta males from popular TV shows.
If you compare this to Harvey Spectre from suits, you can instantly spot the difference.
Harvey's chest is up, his arms are spread out and he’s holding a firm gaze. His posture along with his style makes it clear he is a confident man.
So you’re probably wondering how the hell you can fix your posture.
Here are four tips to improve your posture quickly:
- Practice yoga or at least do a child’s pose daily
- Practice walking with your chest up and eyes ahead, not down
- Do scapular retraction exercises (also known as a standing pull-apart)
- Train more back muscles instead of chest muscles at the gym to avoid a rounded back.
- Improve your office setup so that you have an ergonomic chair and your head is upright with your eyes level to the top of the screen.
3. Hit the gym and put on muscle mass
One of the best confidence boosters you can receive as a man is to be respected by other men.
You get this respect when you noticeably improve yourself and achieve something of significance. The easiest way to achieve this is through strength training. Regular exercise isn’t enough, you need to be lifting weights.
The very nature of going to the gym and putting on muscle mass means you need to lift heavy. You’ll also need to eat well and stay consistent. Over time your physique, mental health, and lifting abilities are going to significantly improve.
People will notice.
A study in 2003 explored the relationship between should-to-hip ratios (SHR) and sexual desire across men and women. The findings make it pretty clear that men who are in great physical shape and have a good body image are more desired.
Males with high SHR and females with low WHR reported sexual intercourse at an earlier age, more sexual partners, more extra-pair copulations (EPC), and having engaged in more instances of intercourse with people who were involved in another relationship (i.e., having themselves been EPC partners). The predictive value of these morphological features was highly sex-specific.Evolution and Human Behavior, Science Direct
4. Update your soundtracks (positive affirmations)
Everyone has a voice in their head they listen to way more than they should.
Maybe it tells you to stay in your current role because you’re not good enough to apply for a new job. Or to get some extra sleep because you won’t get a great gym session in on six hours of sleep.
If this is you, then you need to rewire your brain to help you. Not restrict you. These negative thoughts will never serve you.
Positive affirmations are the positive phrases you tell yourself to challenge negative self-talk.
Here are the three lessons from Jon Acuff in the book “Soundtracks” that will help you build positive affirmations.
Lesson 1: Ask yourself if your thoughts are true, kind, or helpful. If not, drop them.
Lesson 2: Borrow soundtracks from people who inspire you and invert old thoughts into better-thinking patterns. Below are my favorite soundtracks.
- “The most consistent win at everything” – Ayn Rand
- “Would the person I want to be, do this?” – Jon Acuff
- “Build wells, not holes” – Nick Bare
Lesson 3: Embed your new soundtracks into an item to make them permanent. Think of a necklace, sticker, or even a phone case.
If this is too much for you to begin with try limiting the amount of time you spend on social media. It’s an easy way to help improve your soundtracks.
5. Practice gratitude journaling
This is one of my favorite practices. It’s effective, easy, and backed by science.
Some men find it difficult to journal. The idea of writing down your thoughts doesn’t sound appealing. However, following a structured approach is usually more effective. There are two journals I suggest men get started with.
Mind Journal: This is a journal created specifically for men who want to improve their life. It’s said to be one of the best journals on the market for men. I particularly like this because it guides men in all aspects of their life. If you’re trying to build your confidence I highly suggest this journal.
Five Minute Journal: This is another structured journaling practice. As the name suggests it should only take you five minutes a day. You could easily do this on a daily basis to improve your mood, health, and habits. This also ties in nicely with updating your soundtracks and building positive affirmations.
Related article: The simple guide to journaling for men
6. Force yourself out of your comfort zone
Mediocrity is everywhere.
Staying in your comfort zone is causing you to be mediocre and ruin your confidence.
You're not learning, growing, or experiencing new things in order to build your confidence. And how can you expect better results without changing anything in your life?
The reality is you need to suffer and get out of your comfort zone. I'm not saying you need to take this to an extreme level but you do need to take on challenges in order to build your confidence.
Here are some activities you can start doing right now to get out of your comfort zone:
- Take cold showers in the morning
- Stick to a gym program for 90 days
- Take up a martial art like jiu-jitsu or boxing
- Start the side hustle you’ve always been thinking about
- Set an alarm 30 minutes earlier than you normally wake up and get out of bed on time
There’s no right answer here. It’s up to you to figure out where your edge is and push toward it as often as possible.
7. Find your tribe
“You’re the sum of the five people you hand around”.
You’ve probably heard this too many times to even count.
It couldn’t be any more true. You need to surround yourself with other great men.
Men who will support you, guide you, challenge you, and call you out on your crap. This will bring huge amounts of value to your life.
If you’re wondering how you can find your “tribe” there are some easy ways to do this. You could join a new martial arts gym, a business meetup, or even a men’s community.
Joining a male community is great for surrounding yourself with men you aspire to be like. Especially if the entry price is over $1,000. You already know the members are qualified. A great example is Rich Cooper’s Entrepreneurs in Cars community.
If you’re into your fitness, wellness, and spirituality the Sol Club is also a great option.
8. Naturally increase your testosterone
This one is critical.
It should also be the first thing you do in your quest to become more confident.
Testosterone levels have been significantly decreasing among young men.
Forbes even released an article titled “You're Not The Man Your Father Was”. Not only does this mock the modern man, but it also doesn’t provide any guidance on how men can fix the issue. So I’ll try to make this as clear and easy as possible.
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones, it’s responsible for regulating sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength, cognitive ability, and overall health and well-being.
It’s literally what makes us men.
Here are five ways to naturally increase your testosterone in 30 days:
- Implement a healthy diet
- Light heavy weights often
- Fix your sleep schedule, 7+ hours is ideal
- Supplement Vitamin D and get more sunlight
9. Look for small wins
Utah State University found that your performance affects confidence.
So the more you perform and tally up small wins the more confidence you’ll have.
“Research in the confidence-performance relationship found that performance affects confidence and confidence affects performance”. Utah State University
There's no need to overcomplicate this one. I'm not suggesting you get first place in a jiujitsu tournament (although this would help). You can achieve this by simply going the extra mile at work, starting a new side hustle, hitting a PB in the gym, or approaching the girl you’ve been thinking about for a while.
Take some action and you’ll start seeing small wins.
10. Do the work!
You could read all the self-help content in the world.
Eventually, you’ll realize they all lead to the same thing. Taking action. Confident people take a lot of action.
If you’re not doing the necessary work you can not achieve great things. The results you get in life are directly proportional to the effort you put in.
11. Do masculine things
This sounds obvious but men aren’t doing masculine things as frequently.
When was the last time you worked on a car, repainted your house, or caught a decent-sized fish?
“Now Millennial women yearn for guys who can “man up” and take care of business.”Forbes
Remember, competence leads to confidence. Even a basic home repair could make you feel more confident in your abilities as a man.
12. Keep your word
As a man, your word is important.
It means everything to the people you give it to.
If you keep breaking your word to yourself and the world how can you expect to be confident?
Everyone, including other men, will judge you on your ability to keep your word.
“On the other hand, the masculine means what it says. A man's word is his honor”The Way of The Superior Man
Here are three easy-to-practice keeping your word.
Learn to say no: We often agree to things out of peer pressure or fear of upsetting someone. If you say no to things more frequently you’re less likely to break your promise since you haven’t made one. If saying no is too direct then default to “let me think about it first”.
Be clear on expectations: When you do promise something, be very clear about what it is you’re promising. Even if you think you’ve delivered on your word the receiving party might think otherwise.
Be impeccable with your word: This is one of the guiding principles from the book The Four Agreements. Say only what you mean and mean what you say. Take extra care to observe your thoughts and your conversations.
13. Quit porn
Your lack of confidence could be directly related to the amount of porn you consume.
Porn affects the brain the same way an addictive drug would. It triggers huge amounts of dopamine and eventually, you require more of it or more extreme measures to get the same hit.
Consuming porn has an endless list of negative repercussions. One particular issue that is ruining your confidence is instant gratification. Indulging in porn prevents you from experiencing delayed gratification. This eventually spills over into other aspects of your life. In order to achieve your goals, there’s like to be some delayed gratification involved. If you’re conditioning your brain to instant gratification it’s going to be an uphill battle when it comes to your goals.
14. Set and achieve tangible goals
According to David Deida in The Way of The Superior Man, men are purpose-driven. You would be doing yourself, your women, and the world a disservice by not living to your edge.
When it comes to setting goals it gets even better.
A Harvard Business Study explored MBAs who wrote their goals down and those who didn’t have any goals at all. They analyzed the MBAs ten years after graduating.
The study found that the 3% of graduates who had their goals written down earned up to ten times as much as the other 97% put together. The study has been difficult to validate but the message is the same.
In other words, set SMART goals and make sure you diligently work towards them. It will help with your confidence and success in life.
If this is too overwhelming start with small goals and slowly work your way up to more audacious ones.
15. Embrace your obstacles
As the saying goes “a calm sea never made a skilled sailor”.
Whilst this is just a metaphor it’s actually a very practical one. Without obstacles, it’s pretty much impossible for you to learn and grow. So we must embrace them.
In the book Obstacle Is The Way, Ryan Holiday explores how stoicism can help you embrace your struggles and become more resilient.
Here’s the 1-Sentence-Summary from four-minute books: “The Obstacle Is The Way is a modern take on the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, which helps you endure the struggles of life with grace and resilience by pulling lessons from ancient heroes, former presidents, actors, athletes, and how they turned their adversity into success, thanks to the power of perception, action, and will.”
Related article: Best Books For Men To Read Before 30
16. Appear more attractive
First impressions count. Therefore, your appearance actually matters.
The Economist David Hamermesh has explored the relationship between attractive people and success. He notes that attractive people are more likely to be employed, paid a higher wage, get approved for loans faster, and have higher-status souses.
Men who aren’t genetically gifted should not worry.
With some discipline, you can easily “looks max”. Looking your best leads to feeling your best. So it’s worth investing in.
Some easy first steps you can take:
- Buy fitted clothes
- Wear quality clean shoes
- Groom your hair, beard, and nails
- Keep your teeth clean and breath fresh
- Go to the gym and put on muscle mass
Working through all of the practices mentioned above will help you build your confidence. The first step is to adopt a growth mindset. You truly need to believe that you can improve yourself through deliberate action.
Eventually, you’ll also experience better relationships, a more fruitful social life, and achieve the big goals you set for yourself.