By: Innovation Woman Alyssa Dver
Show me the proof. I want the raw data, the research, the visible causes and effects. Blame it on my northeast cynicism.
It wasn’t baseless faith that made me leave a successful CMO career to become a Confidence Crusader. I could not ignore the personal impact or the scientific evidence that confirmed it: confidence is the fuel for a happier, healthier life – and it turns out that anyone can scientifically train their brain to be more confident. 
After twenty years of reading and conducting informal research, my hobby became a mission: to find out why some people are more confident than others.  I wanted to bottle the potion and drink it myself, give it to my children and to those I managed at work. I wanted to piece together a complex, perhaps even frameless puzzle that for me, was the secret to success.
The more I dug, the more I confirmed: confidence is the most valuable asset. 

  1. It gives athletes a high-performance edge.
  2. It enables more focus, resilience and personal control.
  3. It sustains healthy perspective and productive mindfulness.
  4. It lets us learn from failure and persevere for the right, value-based reasons.

Science tells us that confidence is a thought. It’s not a feeling or state of being, and it is not something we inherit. It is a conscious, controllable thought – in fact, it’s a thought about another thought that scientists call metacognition. You don’t feel confident or become confident. You decide if you are confident about something.
The brain thinks it has ultimate control–but science tells us otherwise. Eastern philosophy has challenged this for over three thousand years. Whatever you want to call it: Qi–Chakra–God–Fate–we hold a higher-level control over our brains, behaviors and bodies–and now we have Western science to prove it.
Think of it this way: you have superadmin mental traffic control–meaning, you can direct your brain to follow a “confidence” neural pathway. If you consistently think confidently, eventually you will go to this pathway first.  You’ll reprogram negative pathways and avoid imposter syndrome. Your well-trained brain will default to think: ”Of course I can.”
Training your brain is like any behavioral change process.
Step 1. Awareness. Being aware of your behaviors, habits and biases helps you see how other people view you.  Clearly knowing your values helps you steer in the direction that you want to be known for and how you define success.
Step 2. Get control of things you can control. At the American Confidence Institute, we found that there are eight Key Confidence Indicators (KCIs) that we can control that in turn control our confidence. Like Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help monitor a business, KCIs help monitor your state of well-being.
Step 3. Use small wins to make big changes. By applying small win actions – little changes towards a bigger goal –  you can quickly and consistently boost overall confidence without losing momentum. Athletes aim to shave milliseconds; weight watchers go for 2 lbs per week. Rather than try to tackle the whole problem, aim to chip off small win successes that keep your brain motivated.
Step 4: Be accountable. Scientifically it is proven that people are more successful changing behaviors when they don’t just coach themselves. Ask a friend, family member or use technology to monitor your achievement and celebrate your success.

  • One woman told me that after seven years in the same job and pay level, she was empowered to confidently ask for a raise and got it.
  • Another follower tells me he starts every day envisioning his own Confidence Dashboard. This helps him fix what might otherwise derail his day’s success.
  • After a recent keynote, a teenager told me she was grateful for the wisdom that would give her confidence early in her life. She promised not to lose perspective of her own gifts among her seemingly perfect “selfie-esteemed” social media friends.

I feel blessed to have figured this out for myself and know it’s my responsibility to share this with others – especially with people like me who are confidently cynical! The reality is that everyone needs more confidence – but not everyone is confident to admit it!  So if you have the will, there is a scientific way to get more control of your own and other people’s confidence.
Chief Confidence Officer, Alyssa Dver, is the expert on the Neuroscience & Social Secrets of Confidence. She’s the co-founder of the American Confidence Institute and author of 6 books, including “Kickass Confidence: Own Your Brain. Up Your Game.” Her engaging style and fascinating content make her a popular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. Contact her at, 508-881-5664.

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