It’s like telling someone to “just go to the gym” or “just eat healthier”…it’s much more complicated than that.
And that’s the truth: we can’t just tell ourselves to be confident.
There might be some “brain hacks” that work in the short term or once-in-a-while after a couple of drinks, but in the long run, true confidence cannot be faked.
Look, we all already know that being confident is important.
We already know that having more confidence would increase our self-esteem, our leadership abilities, and our attractiveness.
But how the hell do we actually become confident?
In this article, you’re going to learn how confidence really works and what you can do today to become a more confident person.
The REAL Way Confidence Is Built
When I first heard about personal development during my freshman year in college, I dove into every single book that I could.
I read books on social dynamics, emotional intelligence, productivity, lucid dreaming, entrepreneurship, you name it. It opened up an infinite amount of possibilites for improvement that I didn’t even know existed — it was great.
I started to connect the dots in my life and recognized patterns that explained why I was socially anxious or why I was having trouble growing my freelance design business.
And if you’ve read any personal development stuff before, then you know how relieving it is to finally find a solution for something that’s been troubling you for years.
By diving into it, I felt like a completely different person.
But after a couple months of reading personal development material, everything started to get incrementally worse.
I withdrew from my social environment and my social anxiety actually got worse than before. In fact, I remember getting anxious just from passing by a group of people on the street. Looking back, I’m still amazed at how far I’ve come.
But at the time, my negative thoughts continued to battle my positive ones, and they’d always win. As a result, all of my confidence disappeared — I had no urge, will, or motivation to do anything.
My days consisted of going to class, eating shitty food, and drinking Nyquil to fall asleep. And on top of that, I watched countless hours of TV.
It was ridiculous.
But after looking back at my attitude with personal development, I figured it out:
It was because I wasn’t actually doing the things that I was learning. If we look at the social anxiety aspect, I felt so good from just reading about how to improve my social life that I actually forgot to go out and work on it. I didn’t push myself and apply the knowledge that I read — I simply fantasized about it. As a consequence, I didn’t take the opportunities that I knew I needed to take to step out of my comfort zone and develop a positive social habit.
And it killed me on the inside.
But once I started implementing the MPA Principle, I was slowly able to build up my confidence to a level WAY above the superficial high that I got from reading books about social skills.
Instead of being addicted to fantasy, I felt motivated to go out to talk to people…and I actually did it.
My confidence finally returned…and I decided to come up with a system to “design” confidence in a pact to never return to that depressed state. Ever.
It’s simple, and boils down to this:
Let’s break this down into two parts:
1) In order to increase your confidence, you must actually do what you need to do to reach your goal. You have to reach your goals — no one ever gained confidence from failing.
2) The other part is reducing what you need to do in order to call your goal a success. By taking larger goals and breaking them into smaller and reachable chunks, you are able to finish them easier. And when you reach your small goals, you become more confident.
Makes sense, right?
By setting your expectations lower for yourself and taking more action, you build up your confidence.
With my social anxiety, I had trouble talking to strangers. I would constantly tell myself “you need to be more outgoing” and “just speak up” and the dreaded “just be more confident.” Obviously this wasn’t working, so I set my goal lower:
“Just say hi.”
When I did this, the weight instantly lifted off my shoulders. I created a task that was do-able, yet was still outside of my comfort zone. And then I did it.
The response? “Hey what’s goin on.” From my previously anxious self, this was a challenging step.
And that’s how confidence is built, my friends.
Remember: each time one of those small tasks gets conquered, your confidence goes up. And it builds and builds and builds upon itself.
It’s like working out. By steadily increasing the weight you lift each session, you slowly build up your strength and will eventually lift twice the weight that you started with.
Slow and steady wins the race.
How To Be More Confident: Use The MPA Principle
The Minimum Purposeful Action (or MPA) Principle puts this notion into practice by creating small, purposeful actions that will build your confidence.
By creating small actions that will help you reach your goals, and completing them, you get to celebrate the small victory of doing something challenging that helps you grow.
When you’re done celebrating, then you move onto the next one.
And here’s the key: the MPAs have to be challenging.
If you aren’t challenging yourself, then you aren’t growing and you aren’t building confidence. You’re just getting stuff done.
Luckily, figuring out how to create your MPAs to build confidence is relatively simple:
1) Figure out an area of your life where you’d like to be more confident in. This could be social anxiety, fitness, public speaking, whatever.
2) Imagine yourself in the future when you have all of that confidence. Then ask yourself, “what do I need to do to get to that point?”
3) Then, take a piece of paper and brainstorm the steps that you need to take. Break it down into micro-steps — the smallest parts you possibly can.
4) Pick the first step and do it today.
5) Rinse and repeat through the steps and keep on going until you reach your goal. Modify when necessary.
That’s it. Simple, straightforward, and effective.
By taking your goals and breaking them down into MPAs, you’ll challenge yourself, but at a rate that you can actually improve at instead of being overwhelmed by high expectations.
When you slowly improve and conquer your goals one step at a time, confidence comes naturally. And it’ll show up in every area of your life: your job, your relationships, and your health.
Your First MPA…
To hold you accountable, I’m giving you your first MPA to get you started:
Reply in a comment below and include these two items:
1) What is an area of your life that you’d currently like to be more confident in?
2) What is the first Minimum Purposeful Action that you can take to start building your confidence TODAY?
BONUS: If you want more material on how to use the MPA, then sign up below for my e-mail updates and get my action hack guide for free.