How to Build Self-Confidence and Self-Belief (Definition + Quotes)

Sharing is caring.Tweet “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford This classic quote from automobile magnate Henry Ford is a perfect lead into this piece. The topic is self-confidence and self-belief, two ingredients to a healthy and happy life. According to Ford, your belief in yourself is a determining factor in your success. Was he right? Read on to find out! This article contains: What is the Meaning of Self-Confidence and Self-Belief? The Psychology of Self-Confidence and Self-Belief The Research on Self-Confidence 3 Examples of Healthy Self-Belief Common Characteristics of Self-Confident Individuals 12 Tips for Building Self-Confident Skills Games to Build Self-Confidence in Children 5 Worksheets for Adults and Students (PDF) Activities and Exercises for Developing Self-Confidence Self-Confidence Measurement Scales, Questionnaires, and Tests Napoleon Hill’s Self-Confidence Formula Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Guided Meditations to Boost Self-Confidence Apps for Training Self-Belief Movies about Self-Confidence and Self-Belief Motivational Speeches and Popular TED Talks and Videos The 8 Best Books on Self-Confidence and Self-Belief 19 Quotes and Affirmations on Self-Confidence A Take Home Message References What is the Meaning of Self-Confidence and Self-Belief? The researchers have a tough time agreeing on what, exactly, self-confidence is. Some say it’s simply believing in yourself, while others go into more detail about your expectations for and evaluations of yourself and your performance. For non-academic purposes, however, we have a pretty solid definition; this definition comes from the Psychology Dictionary Online: “Our self-assurance in trusting our abilities, capacities, and judgments; the belief that we can meet the demands of a task.” This definition works pretty well for the average person and is easy to understand. To be self-confident is to trust in our own abilities and believe that we can do what we set our minds to. As you can see from the definition, self-belief is a necessary—but not sufficient—component of self-confidence. You must have at least some degree of self-belief to have self-confidence, but simply self-belief does not necessarily guarantee you self-confidence. Along with characterizing your beliefs about yourself, self-confidence is a trait that permeates your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Think about a confident person you know; now, think about how you know this person is confident. You can’t get inside their head to know how they feel about themselves, so you base your judgment of their self-confidence off of their words and actions. To be truly self-confident is to exude confidence in your words and actions in addition to believing in yourself and feeling capable.   The Psychology of Self-Confidence and Self-Belief Three of the most influential theories that have shaped our knowledge of self-confidence are William James’ self-esteem “formula,” Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory, and Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory. Thanks to William James, we learned that self-confidence is an important predictor of success. His formula for self-esteem (a related, but slightly different construct than self-confidence) proposes that it is built on the foundations of two elements: How we feel and what we believe about ourselves (our self-confidence/self-belief) How well we actually perform (our successes; Nayler, 2010)   This concept was not a new one, but James was one of the first to lay it out in detail. The idea stuck and influenced the work of another important theory in the area of self-confidence and self-esteem: Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory. Bandura’s theory states that self-efficacy is built on one’s beliefs in the likelihood of future success; those who believe they have the ability to influence the events of their lives have high self-efficacy, while those who feel they are not in control and have little to no impact on what will happen to them in the future have low self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977). Self-efficacy is focused on current beliefs about the future; while self-confidence is also concerned with beliefs about the future, there is a definite link to the past—after all, our self-confidence is built on our past experiences. Deci and Ryan’s drew from Bandura’s work to create their own theory on another “self-“ construct: self-esteem. Self-Determination Theory posits that we are all born with an inherent drive to explore our environment and thrive, and that self-esteem is a result of humanity’s basic needs being met: Relatedness Competence Autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000)   This theory expanded the boundaries of the self-confidence/self-esteem literature by adding in the needs component; when our needs are met, according to the theory, we have all the ingredients necessary to experience healthy self-esteem and to grow and flourish as a person. Based on these three theories, and countless other reports, articles, and studies by other researchers in the field, we have been able to put together a more coherent picture of what self-confidence is. It is a sense of belief in oneself and feeling assured of your own abilities and chances of future success, and it is in large part based on your past experiences. We explore this further in The Science of Self-Acceptance Masterclass© Self-Confidence vs. Self-Esteem So, although self-confidence and self-esteem have crossed paths at many points and share some common features, they are considered two distinct constructs. Self-esteem is a fairly stable trait that doesn’t change much in individuals—unless they put in some dedicated effort to improve it. It can generally be defined as our beliefs in our own inherent value, worth, and how deserving we are of love, happiness, success, and other good things in life. By contrast, self-confidence does not take into consideration any beliefs about the worthiness or overall value; rather, it focuses on the ability to succeed and beliefs about one’s likelihood of succeeding. The two are certainly related, but it is easy to see where the line is drawn between them; self-esteem is about the success you feel you deserve, while self-confidence is about the success you feel you are capable of achieving.   The Research on Self-Confidence Research on self-confidence has provided us with valuable insights that apply to a wide range of life domains. Check out the findings in each of the seven topics listed … Continue reading How to Build Self-Confidence and Self-Belief (Definition + Quotes)