Confidence in yourself and your abilities is probably one of the most important virtues for you to pursue. So many good things come from confidence. Your relationships, happiness, and success will much improved from a high degree of confidence. With a big enough confidence, you will end up believing in yourself and it doesn’t much matter what other people think. The good thing is confidence is something that can be nurtured and developed.

Where does confidence come from?

Part of the answer is competence. How do you become competent? Hard work over long periods of time. You don’t get really good at anything overnight. And you don’t get really good at anything without hard work. If you want to be an amazing chess player, it’s really hard work. You have to read books, study your games, work with a coach, and put in the time. Do this with anything, and you will undoubtedly develop a lot of competence over time.

Another part of the answer of how you become confident is through winning. Even small wins will start to develop your confidence. Enter a chess tournament and beat a higher ranking player and you’ll start to feel more confident. Practice a speech and nail it in front of your class and you’ll feel the momentum building. The critical point is you can intentionally design a roadmap along any skill to build your confidence. Don’t bite off too much too soon. Even if there’s no course or certificate out there for you, you should design a bunch of smaller challenges that you can overcome to start building your confidence.

Note this post is about confidence, not cockiness. As much as people like and want to be around a confident person, they run away from a cocky person. Be confident but not cocky. Usually this means don’t talk about how good you are. Even if you’re the best in the world at something, don’t brag or boast. Let your actions do the talking. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”