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How to Build Self Confidence?

Last updated by Utkarsh Sahu on Apr 01, 2024 at 01:09 PM | Reading time: 21 minutes

“When you have a lot of confidence, and you feel like nobody can beat you, it’s game over for everyone else.”– Jason Day (Australian professional golfer)

If only each of us had that kind of attitude, we would be trailblazers in our respective fields!

Joshua was your average Joe. He studied Computer Science at a renowned state college and won accolades for setting up a small but unique e-commerce firm while still in his sophomore year. You would think this significantly boosted his self-confidence, but no. Joshua’s chronic lack of confidence remained with him throughout the rest of his college years, making him feel unworthy of his peers and seriously affecting his social habits.

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. What is self-confidence?
  2. Why is self-confidence so significant?
  3. Confidence and behavior
  4. Why self-confidence matters
  5. How to build self-confidence
  6. How to boost self-confidence
  7. Ways to improve confidence for interview
  8. How to Appear More Confident to Others

So much so, when he went to interview at a top company like Amazon, he was rejected very early on despite his stellar resume.

The panel was not impressed by his stammering, constant fidgeting, and the excessive use of filler words. They were not sure he would be able to handle the pressure of the job.

They probably believed in the words of eminent essayist William Hazlitt who said: “As is our confidence, so is our capacity.”

If you do not want to face the same scenario in your life, pay close attention to your level of self-confidence. Indirectly, it speaks volumes about you. Before any big interview at giants like Amazon or Facebook, you may feel under-confident as if you do not belong to the coding tribe. But relax and remember why you fell in love with computers in the first place. That’s enough to boost your morale before the big day of the interview.

A confident person exudes warmth and self-assurance, qualities that are desirable in jobs that demand a lot from a person. So, to help you through your lack of confidence, we have compiled this article.

Here, you will learn some excellent ways to improve confidence and get a much-needed confidence boost.

What is self-confidence?

Confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities – Stewart Stafford (Writer)

Take a minute to answer this question.

What is your perception of yourself?

Do you have a positive view of yourself? Are you aware of your negative and positive qualities and feel in control of your life? Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses? If the answer is affirmative, you are pretty self-confident. Your belief in your abilities is entirely justified.

But on the other hand, do you view yourself negatively, have unrealistic expectations and goals, or have difficulty trusting others? Then you surely need to boost your confidence.

So, what is self-confidence?

The dictionary puts it as a belief in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

Now, as an example, consider this scenario. How qualified do you have to be to allow yourself to feel confident? Surely you do not have to be the grandmaster of coding to consider yourself a decent coder, do you? Your level of skills may be relatively low, but you have got to believe in it. You could be a grandmaster coder with the confidence of a squirrel.

But of what use is that to the world?

Final word, no matter your skillset and level of expertise, be uber-confident with what you have.

Why is self-confidence so significant?

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”– Vince Lombardi

People gravitate toward those who are self-confident.

Confident people give off an aura of being in control over their lives, and that translates into attracting a lot of people towards them. People feed off being confident. This is because all of us on the inside sometimes have the spirit of a sheep. So, when we encounter someone with a leonine personality, we feel protected against the setbacks which life eventually besets us.

Here’s another reason why self-confident people are in demand, especially in top FAANG organizations. They can assure you that they will get the job done. And if they feel they cannot handle a portion of the work, they will make sure their supervisors are informed of the same. Over-confident people would not do so, while under-confident persons would probably quake at taking up the task.

Confident people also handle stress better. They do not crumble under sudden pressure, and that is a trait that sets those people apart from the herd.

Building confidence should be a part of your everyday life. Try your hardest to dispel the lack of confidence that you may have to be a person that others rely on and come to for guidance.

But is building self-esteem and building self-confidence all that easy?

Can it be done?

Read on to find out!

Confidence and behavior

Your confidence reflects in your behavior; so, learn about conduct to improve confidence. It will help you to ace interviews - even the most difficult technical interviews!

Here are some examples of how self-confidence is apparent in your behavior. If you have any of these qualities, assure yourself that you are pretty self–confident. Congratulations!

  • You do what is right with no concern if you face a backlash or receive criticism.
  • You enjoy taking risks and are willing to go the extra mile on the quest to achieve better prospects.
  • You do not feel under-confident when admitting mistakes or learning from others.
  • You wait for others to congratulate you on your achievements.
  • You can accept praise graciously.

If any of these points do not reflect in your behavior, you may need to learn to build confidence and building self-esteem.

Now, here is a list of points that you need to check against yourself to see if you lack confidence and need a healthy confidence boost.

  • You change your behavior based on what other people think.
  • You prefer to stay in your comfort zone as you fear failure and would like to avoid risk.
  • You try hard to cover up your mistakes, hoping no one will notice.
  • You boast a lot about your abilities to many people.
  • You dismiss compliments, as though it was nothing.

Learn some ways to build confidence and ways to build self-esteem to have a better chance at interviews since interviewers will be looking for someone who can handle stress.

Why self-confidence matters

The dual qualities of self-esteem and confidence more often than not translate into success. And success at any task or project, in turn, boosts self-confidence.

See the cycle here?

How one win leads to many more profitable wins?

So, if you suffer from a lack of confidence, it is likely to lead you to failure, and that is how the vicious cycle of feeling under-confident continues.

Let’s take a simple example to understand why self-confidence matters. Imagine someone who is pitching an idea or a project to you. They are being confident, assured, and entirely sure of what they are pitching. Compare that to a person who is shaky and under-confident, in explaining the pitch.

Whose idea will you prefer?

Most likely, you will gravitate toward the more confident person, for the elementary reason that they are projecting a level of confidence that assures you that they know what they are talking about.

That is why building self-confidence into your psyche and ingraining it into your blood will pay you dividends like never before.

How to build self-confidence

Now we come to the most vital part of this article! The part on how to help you improve self-confidence!

The only way to boost self-confidence is to work at it day and night.

So, what are the ways to improve self-esteem right before a big interview at, perhaps, Amazon or Google?

Let’s get into them!

  • Focusing your pitch on just yourself

When you make your pitch, do not compare with anyone. You haven’t walked in anyone else’s shoes, nor do you know the life they have experienced. You may not be the best, but nor are you the worst. Only you can be YOU; so, focus on that niche you have carved out for yourself.

When pitching yourself to the interview panel, focus on what makes you stand out among your competitors, but do not compare skills. There is no need to demean anyone else so that you can shine brighter. Being confident does not mean putting others down. The best way to positively focus on what you bring to the table is by talking about how you handle problems, how you approach negative responses, besides how you approach your work in general.

  • At every given opportunity, self-affirm!

Start your daily dose of building self-esteem by making self-affirming statements. How do you do that? First, create an image of who you would like to be. Imagine the kind of projects you want to work on and the kind of network you want to build. Then, say things to confirm and boost that image you have created for yourself. A word of caution here! You might not want to aspire for perfection, but try something close.

So, when the time comes to interview, you will not falter but project that positive image of yourself to the panel. It’s a bit like schooling yourself every day to believe in a better version of yourself!

  • Do something challenging every day

“Get more confidence by doing things that excite and frighten you.”– Jessica Williams (Actress)

One of the ways to build self-esteem is to challenge yourself. Create a list of your fears and confront them head-on one by one. The fears may be a particular coding language you find difficult or a mathematical concept you have struggled to understand since school. Or, it could be a portion of that MySQL project you are working on. It could even be a non-technical aspect of your life, something as commonplace as taking an elevator alone.

Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you live only once. Fear is not the way to live. You will find that deciding to do something about your fears is half the battle won.

From then on, the only way is up.

  • Take good care of yourself

Taking proper care of your mental and physical health is one of the effective ways to build confidence. Eating healthy, doing plenty of exercises, and sleeping on time are simple ways to boost your mental health, which directly boosts confidence.

Besides mental and physical health, social health is also something you should prioritize. Make time for your family and friends. Enjoy lunches and drinks with them, as this will help to boost your interpersonal skills and indirectly give you the confidence to strengthen and maintain work relationships.  

  • Take a ‘no’ in your stride

A rejection from an interview can act as a severe dent in your confidence. But you have to learn to take the ‘no’ in your stride. There will be plenty of more interviews in the future, and you will learn to ace them.

While you may have lost this opportunity, you can learn from all the mistakes you made. Prepare yourself for the next interview by taking pointers from your last rejection.

How to boost self-confidence

In this section, we have come up with a list of everyday habits that you can take up to prevent feeling under-confident. There are mental as well as physical activities that help to boost your confidence levels gradually.

  • Be positive (Easier said than done, we agree!)

Be as optimistic as you can without turning into a Pollyanna. Positive people expect positive outcomes from life, and they are generally more capable of handling negative experiences than those who live life pessimistically.

  • Silence your inner critic

Everybody has a little voice in their head that puts them down from time to time. This voice is often called the inner critic. It remembers all the times you failed or were turned down. It brings these negative memories to your mind when you tackle something as hard as an interview at Google. There is only one thing to do when the inner critic isn’t letting you breathe. Silence it.

The battleground is in your mind. Tell yourself you are not a failure and you know what you are about. Besides, it is only human to make mistakes. If you can defeat the inner critic, you can win at every challenge life throws at you.

  • Find self-care that helps you relax

One of the ways that can help in building confidence is by taking a lot of time to care for yourself. It would help if you especially made more time for sleep. The number of sleep-deprived people is at an all-time high, and that affects productivity as well as confidence negatively.

  • Create and maintain work-life balance

Nothing will make you hate your job more and reach a burnout stage faster than having no boundary between work and home life. If there is no clear-cut distinction between the time you spend working and the time for rest, you will feel restless, sleep-deprived, and an overall feeling of negativity.

Maintaining this work-life boundary will help you at building self-esteem.

  • Be true to yourself

As human beings, we recognize that each of us is highly unique. Your likes, outlook, views, opinions, etc., are not the same as the next person in the room. And that is what makes you special. Tapping into this powerful well of resources within you can often give you the confidence to be yourself. To have a deep pool of confidence and self-esteem within you, you should form your own opinions and take time out to understand where you stand on issues. This demands maturity and thoughtfulness from a person.

  • Be your support system

You may be looking for a confidence boost from friends and family, but they may be reacting negatively to your plans and dreams. Remember, there are times in life when you have to be your champion. The most challenging thing you will ever do is believe in yourself. Do not wait for others to be your support system. There will be few people to support you genuinely. Most of the motivation to stick at your job will have to come from within you.

  • Practice certain power poses

While building self-confidence, you might try practicing certain poses that help you to boost confidence levels. There are a few poses you might try out, like sitting with one leg crossed over another or standing with your chest pushed out and hands akimbo. Also, you can put your feet on the table and lean back in a chair. Practicing these power poses can significantly help you to feel confident, if only for a few minutes.

Still, the boost is enough to condition you to a lifetime of self-confidence mentally.

Ways to improve confidence for interview

“Confidence is not ‘they will like me.’ Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t’.” — Christina Grimmie.

  • Planning and Preparation

Before any interview, there is one thing in your hands, and that is preparation. If you can honestly say to yourself that you have put in the hours just studying and practicing interview questions, you feel a level of confidence you would not have been able to gain any other way.

Prepare and over-prepare.

Once you do your part, even if you fail, you won’t blame yourself.

  • Learning, Knowledge, and Training

If it so happens that you feel under-confident at any topic, try to increase confidence by working on those areas. Take a couple of crash courses or training in a particular domain. Going back to the board room to boost your knowledge will help you gain confidence before the big interview.

  • Positive Thoughts

As explained before, do not be pessimistic. Be hopeful about life. Cynicism and running yourself down, do not help you at all. Having a storehouse of positive thoughts will help you to tide over the problematic setbacks you may encounter at an interview.

You never know. The interview could turn out to be easier than expected.

  • Try to recondition the way you think about your life

If you’ve gotten into a habit where you expect the worst or find yourself feeling more and more nervous, it is time to break those negative life patterns. The solution is to identify every aspect of your life, which is proving to be a roadblock to you, and do something about it. The most straightforward answer is to recondition the way you think about life.

Taking slow and small steps towards changing your mentality will help you face the interviews more confidently.

  • Find yourself a confidence role-model

Sometimes, it helps to look up to others for inspiration. Ever heard of the standard advice, fake it till you make it?

If you find yourself facing a dearth of confidence, try imitating your “confidence role-model.” This could be a friend, a celebrity, or even your favorite politician. Imitate the way they speak and talk, as well as their attitude toward life. Doing this is one of the tried and tested ways to improve self-esteem.

  • Experience

Having years of experience is a great way to boost self-confidence. You may be young, but the experience you have working on your projects can help you sound confident when interviewing. Since you have done the work yourself, you will be more self-assured when answering questions on the job.

  • Be Assertive

Boost self-confidence by being assertive. Stand up for something that you believe. Remember not to be equivocal. It’s the easiest thing to be equivocal, but to be firm on any agenda is pretty difficult. Those who are bold usually have no trouble being assertive. If you are a person who sits on the fence, rethink why you prefer the grey areas to a straight-cut black and white.

  • Keep Calm

One of the best ways to improve self-esteem is to practice being calm. No matter how intense the situation gets, if you can keep your calm while all around are losing theirs, you will take the crown!

Rudyard Kipling’s advice could not be more spot-on to help you to get over your under-confidence. Practice keeping calm by taking deep breaths. Also, keeping calm will help you to take a more objective view of the issue.

  • Avoid Arrogance

Improve self-confidence, not arrogance. Nobody likes an overconfident, arrogant person who thinks he/she knows everything. People tend to run from them because they are usually not team players. While you want to sound confident, you do not wish to be cocky. Humility is a virtue that will endear you to many people and earn you the respect of many coworkers; so, try your hardest to cultivate it.  


Here are some facts on self-confidence that you should keep in mind!

  • “Fake it till you make it” is harder than it sounds
  • Comparing yourself to others only lowers your self-confidence
  • Self-confidence inspires trust
  • Self-confidence is equated with self-love
  • We are responsible for our level of self-confidence

How to Appear More Confident to Others

For me, so far, confidence has been a journey, not a destination. – Jessica Williams

When you appear for an interview, keep in mind these three essential pointers that will help you look, sound, and project confidence - the quality every boss is secretly looking for, but won’t admit.

  • Body Language

When you are called to present something or talk to a panel, your body language speaks volumes about you. Straighten your back, put your shoulders back, and speak in a measured pitch of voice. Make open-hand gestures so that you come across as someone willing to engage in dialogue or talk.

Keep your head at a level without leaning too forward or backward as that may come across as being too aggressive. There are plenty of other tips that you can come across when you study in-depth the nature of body language.

  • Face-to-Face Communication

When you are meeting somebody for the first time, try to maintain eye-contact. It is the most essential clue into your confidence level. Avoid looking at the ground, and have a firm handshake without breaking any bones. Also, do not touch the arm or wrist of anyone on the panel, as that portrays a wish to dominate the conversation. Do not fidget or stammer, or unnecessarily use filler words.

Use these tips to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

  • Meeting Short-Term Challenges to Your Self-Confidence

There are times when every person feels their confidence level dip. This could be owing to a variety of reasons, like when you are in a room with other brilliant people like yourself or are in front of an interview panel. These short-term challenges can be remedied by performing a SWOT analysis.

Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) test should be regularly performed to find out where you lack and patch up the problem accordingly.

Confidence and self-esteem do not come naturally for all. For many people, it is the product of years of perseverance and hard work. Even the most famous person in the room has to battle anxieties and insecurities. So, remember that you are not alone in this journey of being the most confident version of yourself!

Ace that interview!


Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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