I think we all wish we were a little more confident sometimes.
And while reading inspiring quotes about confidence won’t actually make you more confident, it just might nudge you in the right direction.
My hope is that these confidence quotes—along with my own brief thoughts—encourage you to reflect more deeply on what’s holding you back from confidence and try something new to become a little more confident.
“Courage is the birthplace of confidence.”
— Debbie Millman
Confidence is the result, courage the cause.
Like happiness, confidence is not something that can be won or achieved directly. It only appears when we practice the virtue of courage repeatedly over time. Practice small acts of courage daily and confidence will follow.
“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
You can think your way into any fear but out of almost none.
I help people overcome anxiety for a living. And never once have I seen someone think their way out of fear, anxiety, or insecurity. It’s only through action that we learn to trust ourselves, and in trusting ourselves, build confidence.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
– E.E. Cummings
It’s only when we learn to risk that we begin to believe in ourselves.
Of course, it’s easy to take risks when we believe in ourselves, but what if we don’t? That’s where we have to flip the equation: It’s only through taking risks despite our doubts that we stop doubting our ability to take risks.
“We can say that Muad’Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn.”
― Frank Herbert
If you want confidence, practice learning new things.
I can’t think of a single more practical way anyone can begin to build more confidence. Pick any subject or skill you’re interested in and practice learning little bits of it each day. When you trust yourself to learn new things, you trust yourself to adapt. And when you trust yourself to adapt, new experiences lose much of their terror.
“To underestimate oneself is as much an exaggeration of one’s powers than the other.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Reality is the mother of confidence.
Confidence isn’t about an inflated sense of self or foolhardy pride. It’s about learning to see yourself objectively. Submit yourself to the great reality, and confidence will follow.
“No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself.”
Every hero has her dragons.
Think about every adventure story you love, from Harry Potter to Star Wars. No one starts off confident and then achieves great things. They strive for great things despite not feeling confident, and as a result, confidence grows. There’s no confidence without adversity. No hero without a villain.
“Your desire for what you want just has to be greater than your fear of it. That’s all.”
— Neil Strauss
If you want to be more confident, stop trying to eliminate fear and start cultivating desire.
Trying to eliminate fear is impossible. Better to outcompete it with passionate desire and crystal clear values.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
— Brené Brown
Small acts of vulnerability are the stairway to confidence.
Intentional vulnerability means proving to yourself in small ways that you can just be yourself and nothing terrible will happen. Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, confidence becomes a much easier game.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
— Anaïs Nin
Courage is the difference between a big life and a small one.
When we choose to play it safe, it’s important to consider the opportunity costs of that decision: Sure you’ll feel less fearful and more comfortable, but have you actually considered the wonders that you’re giving up? Are sure a big life isn’t worth some fear and discomfort?
“The consciousness of knowing how to make oneself useful, how to help mankind in many ways, fills the soul with noble confidence, almost religious dignity.”
— Maria Montessori
When we are useful we give value, and when we give value we feel valuable.
It’s a shame that people avoid pride so much. Few things build your confidence like pride. When you consistently do things that make you proud of yourself, it’s hard not to feel confident!
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”
— William Jennings Bryan
Why put in all the effort to be courageous and then forget to remind yourself of it?
We’re such problem solvers that the minute we successfully solve a problem or conquer a personal obstacle, our mind instantly goes to the next problem to be solved or deficiency to be worked on. The next time you do something brave, don’t forget to take a second and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As soon as you live, you will know how to trust yourself.
Instead of looking inside yourself for self-belief and confidence, maybe you should look for it in the world? Maybe by trying your best to live fully, you will learn to trust yourself more fully.
A Final Thought
My hope is that these confidence quotes have encouraged you to think a little differently about confidence and how it does (or does not) operate in your life.
But if you take nothing else away from this list, remember this:
Confidence is built not inherited.
With small bits of practice sustained over time, anyone can become more confident.
And who knows… maybe one day something you say about your own confidence journey will show up on a list of confidence quotes like this!