By Eric Barker
April 30, 2014

No one doubts the value of confidence. In fact, research shows people often prefer confidence over actual expertise.

G. Richard Shell teaches at the Wharton School, and his book Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success, out in paperback this week, has a great chapter on how to be more confident.

Here’s what you need to know.

Surround Yourself With People Who Believe in You

I’ve posted a lot about how the power of context can improve behavior. And people are a part of that.

When you’re told you’re good by someone you respect, you believe it. Partially it’s a placebo effect. But that’s perfectly fine.

This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you believe you can do it, you work harder. When others believe in you, they push you harder.

Together, these things make you do better—so you have a reason to be confident. And then next time, confidence comes easier.

Via Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success:

Focus on Learning

When you focus on learning, failure is just a part of the process and won’t shake your confidence.

Tests are not a gauge of self-worth or unchangeable, innate ability. They’re a measure of how much improvement you’ve made.

Building on the research of Carol Dweck, you want to have a “growth mindset”: Measure yourself by effort, not by results.

Via Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success:

Create a Ritual

What gets you in the zone? What gets you feeling ready? A cup of coffee? Preparation and review? Playing a game on your phone?

Recent research from Harvard professors Michael Norton and Francesca Gino shows that rituals have the power to make you more confident.

Francesca explained in my interview with her:

Accumulate Small Wins

Some Olympic athletes train in a way that is designed to build confidence.

Rather than focusing on the gold medal, they set smaller achievable goals and build from there.

By seeing themselves accumulate these little wins, their confidence grows and grows until they feel unstoppable.

Via Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success:

It’s Rational to Do the Irrational

This is a very rational blog. You, however, are not a very rational creature. So do what works, even if it seems irrational.

Research shows good luck charms do inspire confidence. And this improves performance on a variety of tasks.

Via The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver:

Get to Work

Yes, some people are naturally superconfident. Others fake it.

And you can, with some work, build confidence.

What did Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test, say about intelligence?

Via Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success:

It is not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.

The same is true of confidence.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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