Peechaya Burroughs for TIME
By Nicolas Cole/Quora
October 4, 2016

Nicolas Cole, author and entrepreneur, answered the question “What is the key to confidence?” on Quora.

Let me give you a little insight about confidence (and how it is acquired):

Confidence takes practice.

As much as you think that some people are “born” confident and others “aren’t,” the truth is that confidence is just like every other trait: humility, humor, joy, stress, anger, disappointment, etc.

These traits are not inherent. Some are more pre-wired than others, sure, but that doesn’t mean these emotions are not practicable. To be forgiving or to be angry is often a choice. To be open or to be closed is a choice. To be aware or to be destructive is a choice.

Being confident is a choice.

That said, you don’t just wake up and then say, “I am now going to choose to be confident, and joyful, and open, and hilarious, and yay, now I’m all those things.”

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It doesn’t work that way.

However, what you can do is decide what traits (confidence included) you want to work toward being a more concrete part of your personality, and then making tiny steps each day to implement those traits into who you are.

If you want to be confident, you have to practice being confident.

So, what would a confident person do?

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They’d go talk to that person they’re interested in.

They’d walk into a room and introduce themselves.

They’d pursue their dreams and not worry about what anyone thought of them.

So those are the things you need to practice doing as well.

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Next time you’re in an elevator with someone and you want to say hi, take the leap and say hi. The first time you’ll be terrified. The second time you’ll still be terrified. The twenty-eighth time you’ll be terrified. And then eventually you won’t be anymore—for no other reason than because you practiced it.

Just like any other skill in the world, you have to practice it if you want to improve.

Start practicing.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is the key to confidence?

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