11 things that genuinely confident people never do (so you shouldn’t either)

We hear a lot about how we need to be more confident. 

“Know your worth.”

– Hustle Culture

“With confidence you have won before you started.”

– Martin Garvey 

“Your success will be determined by your confidence and your fortitude.”

– Michelle Obama

Quotes like these are great and can be very inspiring, but also very daunting if you feel like you lack that inner confidence. You might be thinking, if I’m not confident to begin with, how will I ever win or succeed? Should I just give up now?

If you’re not uber confident yet, don’t fret. No need to throw in the towel – confidence is a skill, not a personality trait, and skills take practice. Some have it naturally, some don’t.

When it comes to learning how to become more confident, it’s sometimes a case of monkey see, monkey do. Or fake it ‘til you make it. 

If you’re trying to work on your own self-confidence, you can learn a lot from the following things that genuinely confident people never do, that you shouldn’t be doing either:

1) They don’t seek external validation

The confidence of the genuinely confident isn’t built upon the number of likes they get on a post, whether their partner told them they were pretty today, or whether their parents are proud of them. 

The first in particular can be hard to wrap your head around. You see influencers and celebrities with millions of followers and likes and think, gosh, I wish I had that person’s confidence… 

…When in fact, influencers and their audience tend to be wrapped in a vicious cycle of feeling the need to perform and display a perfect (and unrealistic) life.

The truth is that genuinely confident people don’t need that external validation to feel good about themselves. Their self-worth isn’t dictated by followers or compliments.

2) They don’t make excuses

A bad workman might blame his tools, but you won’t find a genuinely confident person making excuses or blaming others. 

They know that they’re responsible for their own actions and are the ones in the driving seat of their own lives. 

You won’t catch them making up excuses like, “Sorry I’m late, my dog stole my keys”, or “I’m not going to be able to make it, my grandma is in hospital” (whilst granny is perfectly fine, sipping tea at home).

3) They don’t worry about what others think about them

Truly confident people can sometimes come across in a manner that others find abrasive. 

Or their confidence takes them to places that other people get jealous of. 

Consequently, they’re often the target of rumours and gossip. 

Still, genuinely confident people don’t waste time worrying about what other people are thinking or saying about them. They know that small minds discuss people, big minds discuss ideas.

They’ll listen wholeheartedly to constructive criticism, but don’t allow the opinions of others to define or change their self-worth.

4) They don’t compare themselves to other people

Comparison. The thief of joy. 

Confident people know this, so they don’t waste time in the rat race of comparing themselves to others.

They still listen to others, learn from others, and let others influence their work. They just don’t brag and boast about how they’re better than everyone else.

Nor do they let themselves get intimidated or threatened by where other people are at. 

You know the feeling. You’ve worked really hard and saved up for a banged up old car which you love to bits. Yes, one of the wheels is falling off and it makes a funny noise when it runs, but it’s a true show of all your effort.

Then, your friend/colleague/neighbor pulls up next to you in a brand-new, sleek and shiny Porsche, all windows down and waving.

Confident people will wave back with a smile. They’re proud of how hard they worked for their achievements and where it’s gotten them so far, and won’t let jealousy or materialistic rivalry demean those accomplishments.

5) They don’t belittle other people to make themselves look better

i wont 11 things that genuinely confident people never do (so you shouldn't either)

A lame response to feeling like you’re in the firing line would be to sacrifice someone else. Didn’t do so well in a group project? Don’t look at me, the coordinator did worse. 

Not doing a good job at texting your partner back? My friend over here basically goes no-contact whenever he’s away, so really, you should be thankful. 

This isn’t the approach that genuinely confident people take. 

They don’t downplay others to their advantage; instead, they’re sure to give credit where it’s due to lift others up, and they avoid speaking ill of people to make themselves look better.

6) They don’t procrastinate

I’m not saying you can’t have a social life, enjoy a quick scroll on social media, or take time off work to go fishing (if that’s your thing). 

However, genuinely confident people don’t tend to waste time procrastinating because they know that their time is valuable. 

Procrastination undermines confidence and can lead to built-up feelings of self-doubt. 

Genuinely confident people don’t waste time umming and ahhing about if it’s going to work; they just get started and seize today.

7) They don’t give up when things get challenging

When confident people are met with setbacks and challenges, they don’t give up. They know that if there’s a will, there’s a way. 

Maybe they fail. 

Maybe they get told it’s not going to work. 

Still, they try again and give everything their best shot.

8) They don’t stay in their comfort zone

Ah yes, the comfort zone. Warm. Soft. Fuzzy. Safe.

But not where you want to be, and not where genuinely confident people are either. The best things happen outside of the comfort zone, and confident people know it. 

They continuously strive to try new experiences, challenge their fears, and keep pushing themselves even if it feels a little uncomfortable.

9) They’re not afraid to ask for help when they need it

This is perhaps where the truly confident can be distinguished from people who are instead arrogant and egotistical. 

Faced with an obstacle or a situation where outside input could be helpful, the latter might respond by seething and telling everyone to get lost – they can do it themselves, they’re the best at it anyway.

On the other hand, genuinely confident people aren’t afraid to ask for help when they need it. 

They’ll have contemplated and pondered and given it their best shot, but will then be very eager and receptive to advice and constructive criticism.

10) They don’t sacrifice themselves to please others

great friend 11 things that genuinely confident people never do (so you shouldn't either)

Genuinely confident people have friends and loved ones. They just don’t bend over backwards to please them.

Whilst they lift others up and give credit where due, they know that not everyone is going to get along. They value and nurture the authentic relationships that they do build but maintain firm boundaries with those individuals.

You won’t catch genuinely confident people acting fake-nice or involving themselves in social machinations like people pleasing or status seeking.

11) They’re not scared of taking risks

Risk taking is scary, but genuinely confident people face it head on. 

They know that pitching an innovative project or going on a first date might not lead to immediate success, but they don’t let the fear of rejection stop them from trying. 

They’re confident in their ideas and what they bring to the table, and are resilient in weathering rejection to bring those ideas to fruition.

Relate to any of the above?

Maybe you do, and you can leave thinking, nice, (fist pump), I’m more confident than I thought. 

Or maybe you relate to a few but not all; you love taking risks but you’ve realized you’re a bit of a people pleaser. Or you know you’re confident in your ideas but struggle to allow others to give you feedback or criticism. 

Maybe you don’t relate to any of these traits, and that’s okay. Becoming a more confident person takes conscious time and effort. It’s hard work, but it’s valuable work. 

If you’re trying to improve your self-confidence, you’ve taken the first step. You have all the insights into how genuinely confident people operate and what they avoid doing. You can also read more on our tips about how to skyrocket your confidence.

I’m not saying you need to play a character or pretend to be someone you’re not, but close your eyes and imagine for a moment you’re one of these genuinely confident people. 

What does your life look like? What’s changed?

Now, think about what you can start incorporating into your life today, to become that person. (It might not happen tomorrow, but it will definitely happen at some point in your future.)

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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