Original question from Quora:

What are some confidence hacks?

As a teenager, I struggle with being timid and awkward. For example, I like this boy who is a little older than me, and we (my friend and me) knocked on his door and there he was, point is I barely talked and pretty much hid behind my friend.

What can I do? How can I address this problem?!

My Answer:

The most important confidence hack to me is to take action without regard to the outcome. That is really what confidence is. Knowing that a negative outcome isn’t a “mistake” and a mistake isn’t really a negative outcome.

Instead, if you take action and learn as you try things, you gain skills, information, and abilities that make you awesome.

This is a real story of what I did recently to help build my confidence. I’m a software developer and I’m fairly introverted. At a recent work conference, I decided to go up to people who I’ve read their work online or had minor twitter interactions with and introduce myself.

This was sort of terrifying at first because these people are a “big deal” in my field. But I told myself, “they are just people. I should say hi and thank them for their work.”

What happened next was astounding.

After doing this for a day, I had met or said hi to about a dozen people who are some of the biggest names out there. Then, I ended up going to dinner with these guys and talking shop for hours. It was awesome.

While everybody else was hanging out with their circles of friends who they were already comfortable with, I met new people my coworkers would be too intimidated to talk to.

I know my coworkers noticed because they asked how I knew these people and I said “well I introduced myself to them after they talked, and then we went out to dinner together”. It didn’t really seem to compute to some people.

Yet, it’s the most basic thing in the world if you think about it. Even the most famous people in the world are just people. They might be really cool or whatever, but they are just people.

Nobody is any better or more special than you are. We are all just people.

As a guy, when I was growing up I was shy enough that I didn’t go out of my way to talk to pretty girls. As I got older, I realized there is no difference between girls at all, they’re just girls.

So, I realized that no matter how attractive or interesting or intimidating a girl might be, I could just talk to them, ask them on a date, get to know them, or whatever. It didn’t matter who they were or what they looked like.

If anything, the more intimidating someone is, the easier they are to connect with because everyone is afraid to talk to them. If you are confident enough to know that you are a person, they are a person, and there is nothing special about either of you, you can talk to anyone.

Simply having the confidence to take action, and then taking action will put you in front of 90% of people who live in fear of making a mistake and don’t have the confidence to take action.

Successful people aren’t the ones who are confident because they never screw up, they are confident because they know it doesn’t matter what happens. They are going to win because they took action, not because of the outcome.

So, in the case of your confidence, next time just talk to the guy you are interested in directly. As a guy, I can tell you that we are just as terrified of you as you are of us. At least me and many of my friends were as teenagers.

-Brian

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