Some guys just have natural confidence.
Ever walk into a bar and see one guy holding court, surrounded by women and getting everybody laughing and energized? Or walk into a club with your buddy, then see him exit later on with a girl on each arm? Or see a guy in public, sitting all by himself, then bear witness to an attractive woman actually sliding up beside him, then striking up a conversation which ends with her handing over her number?
These things happen all the time. Maybe not to me, but they happen. Or I should say – maybe not to the guy I used to be.
See, I’m what you’d call a “late bloomer.” My mother raised me to be a polite, well-spoken, dutiful citizen. But what she didn’t teach me (not that she should have!) was how to approach women. Doing so filled me with fear. I’d forget my phone number. I’d forget my name! From grade school into high school, my ass got friend-zoned so often I’m surprised I could still remember what I wanted outside the zone.
One day, however, something changed.
I went to college. Tennessee State University (TSU) — to be specific — a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). College tore my eyes right open. For the first time ever, I experienced the attention of attractive women. They could see past my giant, Urkel-sized glasses, to the pretty, hazel-greenish colored eyes (thanks mom for giving me these genes). In my first few weeks at school, I’d collected so many phone numbers that I had to slow it down, lest I be tagged as a playboy (which happened anyway).
What had changed from high school to college? Was it my looks? Not really, except for getting a little older. No – it was my attitude. More specifically, it was the confidence in my attitude. Freed from the context and expectations I’d grown accustomed to back in Detroit, I could finally start things up a new; re-branding myself without all the heavy baggage.
Let me lay an eternal truth on you: If you are not confident, then you are not attractive. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but having danced on both sides of that coin, I simply know it to be true.
Now, our confidence isn’t a consistent trait. Life dishes us blows that can dampen or dent our confidence. A bad breakup, a job loss, or even a lousy day can steal some wind from our sails. To keep my own confidence up, I focus on accomplishments. I set out to achieve small daily goals, which accumulate into larger, long-term achievements. These can be personal, professional, or both. The point is: seeing in action your own ability to achieve, populates and/or restores your sense of self-worth.
Meanwhile, self-talk is another big thing for me. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed by it. Quite the contrary, I’ll look right in the mirror and give myself love. I’ll say,
“Daniel, you are amazing. Everyone loves you. You are confident, good looking, charismatic, and everyone wants to be around you. The whole world is out there for you. Go take it!”
I mean – why not?? Who’s gonna love me if I don’t love myself first? Let me break it down:
A strong intellect is another core component of my confidence package. I seek out stimulating books and articles. I’m sure to take on intellectual challenges. Sometimes the books and articles might sail over my head, or the intellectual challenges will leave me humbled, but I’m fine-tuning my intellectual instrument. I’m sharpening my inner world so I’ll have that much more to offer in my outer world.
Then there’s our bodies. In brief: take yo ass to the gym! I’m talking weights, boot camp, yoga sculpt, miles of running. Nothing compares to the confidence you gain from actually looking the way you want to.
Next, you have your emotional state. To keep those healthy, strong, and spiritual relationships are key. Surround yourselves with those whom you love, and who openly, solidly love you back. And note that in some cases, these relationships don’t even have to be personal. I mean, I get a major dose of love from my Marvin Sapp and Kirk Franklin gospel music. And trust me on this one: some mornings when I’m dreading walking into the office, I need a lot of Jesus in my life to get me through!
Now, one woman once said to me, “You’re cocky, but it’s cute.” I paused at that one. Should I have been offended or grateful? At least, to her, my supposed cockiness was counterbalanced by cuteness. But the thing is, I work hard not to cross the line from confident into cocky (and it’s a fine line).
Here’s the difference: Confidence comes from the inside. That’s why achievements, positive self-talk, a strong intellect, a good workout routine, and stable emotions are major contributors to confidence. Cockiness, on the other hand, is more like an act of faith. It’s a show of confidence without any real evidence to back itself up. Usually it’s there because it wants to impress other people – gaining their approval before establishing self-approval.
If you’re seeking the approval of others, that means you haven’t yet given it to yourself. Which also means you’re probably just cocky rather than confident. And being labeled as cocky is not the place you want to be.
In my next post, we’re going to talk about the traits embodied by truly confident people.