Self Confidence and Optimism

I’m sure that we would agree that both self confidence and optimism are great characteristics to have and which might help someone succeed in life. Bennis and Nanus (1995), after interviewing 90 top leaders, concluded that most successful leaders felt confident about their ability to lead and showed great optimism that their actions would succeed. I would think that these two traits would be important for so many people such as teachers, students, business people, doctors and nurses, and many more. I also believe that for anyone seeking personal growth and self improvement, self confidence and optimism are vital.

On this page, from both my professional experience as an author and someone who has worked in the self improvement field for more than twenty years, and from research, I aim to explain why confidence and optimism are keys to a happier and more successful life. In addition to this, I will offer advice to anyone struggling with low confidence, negative thinking, pessimism or low self esteem. Personally, I have suffered from depression, low self confidence and poor self-esteem, and have got through this to the point where I can help others going through the same experiences.


Self confidence and optimism are two important traits to have if you want to be a successful leader, teacher, student, business person, doctor, nurse etc. Being confident and optimistic will also make life less stressful and much happier. If you are an optimist, and see things positively, you will probably be more confident and less depressed.


What is Self Confidence and Why Does it Matter?

Self confidence is believing in yourself and your ability to succeed at doing something. It is vital for anyone facing any kind of social, professional or personal challenge to have confidence. With self confidence you are more likely to perform well and also it helps you to get through difficulties and overcome them. If you are self confident you will be less stress and suffer less from anxiety.

Another advantage of having self confidence is that it can be a very attractive quality both for men and women. These days we like people to be in control and we respect those who act confidently, as long as this confidence is genuine and not misplaced. There is a world of difference between having self belief and having misplaced confidence. The second is more like arrogance and at least a measure of complacency.

In your career or in your personal relationships self confidence is a characteristic that others will admire and gravitate towards. You are also less likely to feel insecure or jealous around others. Being self confident can help you enjoy more healthy relationships that last longer.

There are several studies that have shown how self confidence and optimism can benefit us. One study is this one by Paulik (2001), which shows how optimism and self confidence can help teachers cope with stress in their work. Schulman (2013) discusses how expecting positive outcomes, (being optimistic), can help someone become more successful.

What are the Benefits of Optimism?

If you want more positive results, or if you are looking for an improvement in your life then it is a must that you become more optimistic.

Here are just a few benefits of being optimistic (Chemers et al. 2000):

  • You have more motivation.
  • You are better at setting goals.
  • You will have more determination.
  • Others will follow you more willingly.
  • You make positive first impressions.

Let’s look at these a little more closely.

More Motivation

If you are more optimistic you will become more enthusiastic about your goals and life in general. This positive attitude will give you more self motivation. This can work for you in so many ways including against procrastination.

Setting Goals

Goal setting is something much easier and more enjoyable for optimists. Optimism will enable you to overcome minor setbacks and keep going. Also, it will enable you to set more challenging goals and see them through.

More Determination

As we have said above the increased motivation and ability to set and pursue your goals will result in increased determination. This means it won’t be so easy for you to give up and continuing towards your vision even through difficulties becomes something you do naturally. Determination is often what separates winners from losers. As an optimist, you are much more likely to be a winner!

Gain Followers

By followers I mean admirers and supporters of your cause, whatever that may be. Rather than opposing you others will look up to you and follow your path. They will become allies and your relationships will benefit from your positivity. Your leadership qualities will be heightened and you will begin to see that the sky is the limit for you both personally and professionally!

Make Positive Impressions

I have always found that the skill to make positive first impressions is huge in terms of relationships, communication and career. If you make a negative first impression, as many negative people do, you’re likely to have a big handicap to overcome. Life gets that much more difficult. So be optimistic and you’ll begin to stand out from the crowd.

This small list if the benefits of optimism could be expanded but here I just want you to understand how far optimism can take you. In particular, think of this. Who would you rather spend your time with, a grumpy negative person who always sees the worst in every situation or an optimistic person who radiates positive joy for life and all its challenges? Be that person and your relationships and friendships will grow!

As Carver et al. (2010) put it:

“…optimism is associated with taking proactive steps to protect one’s health, whereas pessimism is associated with health-damaging behaviors.” And more, the article goes on to explain that optimism can result in a higher wage and also better educational achievement. It seems that optimism can help in so many different areas of life where we face challenges and require persistence.

Remember, that you attract into your life things that reflect your thoughts and so it is very important that your thoughts should be positive and helpful. Negativity also makes it likely that your self esteem and confidence will suffer.

So how can you be more optimistic?

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Like most people you probably find that you are often very negative and even have difficulty seeing things from a positive perspective. I sometimes have to work at being optimistic and, like you, perhaps optimism does not come easily. If you are an optimist then you are lucky, but I think that chances are if you’re reading this, negative self talk is something you do regularly. On this page I hope to help you develop positive self talk so you can feel much better about yourself. Your self esteem will improve if you can talk to yourself in a more positive way.

Optimism can become easier for you and I’ll try to help you to show how that is possible.

Please don’t believe that ending negative thoughts will work on its own. You also need to actually change your behaviour and actions to reflect your thinking, and consider the world and the situations you face in a slightly different way, in a better way. Here is one great way to change your thinking and introduce optimism into your life:

The “What if …..?” Technique

Often we worry about what might go wrong, but with a small change in your thinking pattern why not ask what if, and follow with something positive. Instead of asking “what if everything goes wrong”, say “what if I succeed”, “what if I get the job I’m looking for”, “what if he thanks me for my hard work”, “what if I get the opportunity to do that”. The possibilities are endless. This is real optimism because you are beginning to imagine the possibility of something good happening and possible steps after that. This positive mindset will have a huge impact on your life.

Optimism should be realistic or it is just a false effort and nothing will result. Just consider that whatever you believe can happen will. Is there any chance you can succeed? No matter what decision or situation you face there is always a small chance at least that you can surprise yourself and others and against the odds manage to be successful. Why not consider what would happen if you succeeded?

The “At least…” Technique

At least is also another phrase you can turn to and use to help you find something optimistic to say. Instead of focusing on my troubles and complaints about my job I can start saying – at least I enjoy teaching, at least I have friends, at least we can laugh, at least I like the area where I work and so on. It is much better than beating yourself up with negative self talk.

In this website the focus is self esteem and if you read some of the many pages available here you will quickly discover why it is so important to you and how to raise it. It all revolves around how you think about your world and how you see yourself fitting in it. How you see the value of your contribution is also important. Optimism brings about an increase in self confidence because the way you see yourself will improve. This will enable you to create positive change and become more successful.

Creating optimism is not always easy but following just a few steps as outlined above can be a start in ending your negative thoughts, do it today and let optimism slowly become a part of your life you will happy that you did.

How Can You Build Your self Confidence?

If you lack self confidence, don’t worry! There are things you can do to change your attitude so that you start believing in yourself more. One piece of advice I’d give would be to take things slowly. You can’t make a huge change immediately. Take on small challenges and enjoy each little step on the way up to your overall goal. This way you build confidence gradually and experience the snowball effect. At a certain point it will be unstoppable.

But what steps can you actually take to build your self confidence starting right now? One thing I’d recommend is for you to listen to my new audio guide “A More Confident You” which I have recorded to help you build unstoppable confidence. It’s 60 minutes long and contains all my best tips and exercises that will supercharge your confidence! Now available at a special price!

A More Confident You Audio

There is a wealth of information on this website about self confidence and optimism which are two aspects of healthy self esteem, so go take a look around and if you found this page helpful please share it with friends! Good luck!

Get Power Positivity Now

If you’d like to become more optimistic and develop life-changing positivity then click here for this recommended self-hypnosis program – The POWER POSITIVITY PACK


  • Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (1985). The strategies for taking charge. Leaders, New York: Harper. Row41.
  • Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical psychology review30(7), 879-889.
  • Chemers, M. M., Watson, C. B., & May, S. T. (2000). Dispositional affect and leadership effectiveness: A comparison of self-esteem, optimism, and efficacy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin26(3), 267-277.
  • Paulik, K. (2001). Hardiness, optimism, self-confidence and occupational stress among university teachers. Studia Psychologica.
  • Schulman, P. (1999). Applying learned optimism to increase sales productivity. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management19(1), 31-37.

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