The Art of Confidence

Here at FashionBeans we like to talk about accessories. Watches, ties, tie bars, pocket squares, collar pins, lapel adornments… you get the impression. The list can go on and on. However, there is one accessory that tends to get looked over the most and can be considered the most important one of them all. I’m talking about confidence.

Now this is always going to be tricky subject to cover. It’s one I’ve wanted to do for a while but have always put off. This is because the detail that I could go into and the wealth of information and research out there on the subject is pretty daunting. Similarly, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have their own opinions on the subject that will disagree with what I’m about to suggest and set out. But either way, I thought it was time to suck it up.

Let’s clear one thing up first. I am talking about manly confidence, not boyish confidence. Because these are two completely separate things. Many guys out there often see a man with confidence and confuse his key to success or appeal as cockiness. This is what I mean by boyish confidence. And some guys out there are confusing this with just being a dick.

Manly Confidence

A true manly confidence is quiet, unpretentious and when they walk in a room people can feel it. It doesn’t need to be advertised and it comes from being confident that you can handle any situation that may come your way.

However, as always, there is a fine line between having it and not. If you don’t have it, you can be taught it but it will take some time to build. Therefore, in the interim you’ll need to do a little bit of ‘faking it until you make it’. There are a few well known tips and techniques that you can use that will automatically communicate confidence while you build up your real supply internally.

Physical Confidence Tips

Here are a few tips that take on a physical nature, and will have you looking and feeling more confident

  • Everything We’ve Already Taught You – a bit of an extreme sub-heading, but nonetheless it is relevant. One of the easiest ways to appear confident is to take pride in your appearance. So start taking a real interest and invest some time in improving your style and grooming. Shower and shave regularly. Have good dental hygiene. Get a haircut that suits you or at least has some structure. Take an extra 20 minutes when getting ready. When doing so, go by the rule of thumb that you want to be dressed in a way that if you had to meet a woman or an important contact after work you wouldn’t be embarrassed to head out in what you’ve got on. You’ll be surprised on the number of guys who fail on this easy point.
  • Exercise – this is a pretty big one and something I could never cover fully, even if I tried. But the obvious reason to exercise is because the increased blood flow makes you feel good and releases hormones that boost your confidence. A proper weights routine that incorporates compound exercises such as bench press, dead-lifts and squats with heavy weights will not only make you stronger but help with weight loss, muscle gain and posture more than any cardio activity will. If you want to know more, why not read our sister site, join a gym and/or get a personal trainer!
  • Carry Yourself – posture plays a big part in communicating confidence to others. Stand up straight and have your shoulders set back. When standing, do so with your feet firmly planted and slightly more than a shoulder width apart. Don’t have nervous hands, deal with this by holding them in front or behind your back. Never in your pockets or folded across your chest. For more great advice, check out Will’s article on the importance of posture.
  • Eye Contact – Don’t go as far as staring someone in the eyes the whole time your speaking (because it will freak them out) but trick to moving between the triangle formed by their eyes and mouth mixed in with the occasional glance away. It will improve people’s attention to you when you’re speaking and suggests intimacy.
  • Smile – wide and often. Seriously. Do this above them all.
Psychological Confidence Tips

But what about the ways of improving your confidence mentally as well as physically? Well, as I said there are plenty of books and techniques out there but the easiest ones are as follows:

  • Learn a new skill – confident men are constant learners. Not only does it help demonstrate to yourself that you are capable of growth and understanding but it shows that you can adapt and handle anything that comes your way. Doesn’t matter if it’s learning how a car works or a foreign language – just pick something and go for it! You’ll feel much better for it, trust me.
  • Goooooooaaaaal – set yourself targets and achieve them. Regularly. Start small and then work up. For example, if you tend to lie in late then set out to get up earlier. If you’re unorganised, sort it out! Try it today. Set a small goal and achieve it before the day is up and see how you feel. The more you achieve, you more confident you will feel and the bigger the goals you will set. It’s like a never ending cycle but in a positive, kind of awesome, way. Read up on the SMART approach to goal setting.
  • Learn from the past – but in a positive way! People tend to get so caught up on what they did wrong and how they can improve on it that sometimes it’s easier to forget about the times you actually succeeded! So, every now and then, perhaps when you’re just chilling with a beer on the sofa, take the time to reflect on the times you did great (regardless of how small) and release you’re perfectly capable of doing it again.
The Final Word

So there you have it, a brief but hopefully helpful guide to gaining/improving your self-confidence. As I’ve said, if you are interested, there are plenty of books out there to help and I would be happy to recommend the ones I used when researching and writing this piece. Not that helpful in a fashion or style sense but remember, the man wears the clothes not the other way around! And the key to nailing that is confidence.

But as always, what do you guys think? Do you think you can ‘fake it until you make it’ or is confidence an innate skill some people just have? Do you have any other tips or techniques that you use? Am I in fact being incredibly cocky by thinking I can write an article about teaching confidence? Let me know!

Matt Allinson