You’re tired of feeling meek, unconfident, and insecure in front of other people. You feel like there’s more to you than what you’re expressing, you’re just too scared to show it to other people. You have a strong desire to be bold — but an even bigger fear of being it. By the end of this article, though, you’ll know exactly how to become the person you’re meant to be.
Why Are You Not Bold?
Boldness is like a cake. It takes a lot of ingredients, some time, and a bit of heat for you to create it. The boldness cake is comprised of self-assurance, competence, confidence, and low regard for what other people think of you.
If you feel like you’re not bold, you lack one of the necessary ingredients above, which manifests in the following ways.
You’re Afraid of Risks
You’re a planner. You have to account for every possibility in a future scenario because getting caught off guard scares you. You’re unsure of your ability to act on-the-fly. You like safety and sticking to the tried and true method for doing things.
For example, let’s say you’re a man at a party, and you see an attractive woman on the other side. You’d like to talk to her, but you feel immediately self-conscious. You ask yourself: are you wearing the right shirt? Is your hair okay? Does your breath smell? You go to the bathroom to check yourself, but you’re still nervous even once everything checks out.
You nervously glance toward the woman you’d like to talk to, but she’s absorbed in conversation. You’d like for her to approach you, and you pray and inject as many thoughts into the universe to manifest her talking to you. However, it doesn’t work. The party ends, and you didn’t take the risk to speak to the person you wanted to.
Taking risks is scary, especially if you’re afraid of rejection or looking stupid. But you know the underlying truth — if you don’t risk at all, you have no chance of seeking the reward you’re hoping for. You have a 100% chance of leaving the situation disappointed.
Furthermore, when you fail to take risks, you reinforce your timidity. You support your habit. You’re afraid of taking the risk, and so you don’t take the risk. Instead of breaking out of the pattern you’ve ingrained in yourself, you further entrench it into your behavior and decrease the likelihood of taking a chance later.
Risks raise the blood-pressure of any emotion-feeling person. Those who are bold feel nervous, but they can push through the fear and talk to the person they want to talk to. They don’t let their fear stop them from doing what they want to do.
Let’s say you’re in line for coffee. While you’re waiting, the barista says that they messed up baking the cookies for whatever reason, and now there’s a free cookie to whoever comes up to the counter fast enough.
You want that cookie, but you’re nervous. You hesitate, plucking up the courage to go up there and take what you want. And in the moments when you wait, someone bolder than you gets up there and snatches the cookie away.
In the above situation, it would be best to see if there were any younger kids in the cafe who would have been much happier to have a free cookie. Hesitancy, in that regard, is the most polite thing to do.
But if it’s just you and a few other adults, and you want that cookie, you need to go up there and act quickly. Because that’s what being bold is — not hesitating to take what you want.
You’re not waiting for the barista to say, “Hey, you. You look like you want this cookie,” because the barista wants to get rid of the cookie as fast as possible. It’s not likely they’re going to notice you. You have to push through your hesitancy to get what you want when you want it, not wait for other people to read your mind.
You Wait For Someone To Give You Permission
Hesitancy and waiting for someone to give you permission go hand-in-hand, as seen with the barista example.
However, sometimes you can wait days, even months, for someone else to give you permission for what you want to do.
For instance, you’re a diligent employee for your company and enjoy coming in to work. But you realize one day that about 80% of your work can be done from home.
Working from home would dramatically improve your life. You could have more time to spend with your family, or it would save you time and money from a commute. Because you’re a hard worker, you know working from home wouldn’t impact the quality of work you produce, so you fantasize about obtaining four or even five days of location independence each week.
But because you’re not bold, you don’t ask for what you want. It’s as if you’re waiting for your boss to say, “Hmm, through no indication of your speech or behavior, I feel like you want to work from home. Is that true?”
There are slim chances of that happening. You can’t wait for people to intuit your desires and give you what you want. You have to ask for what you want and then wait for permission. If people don’t know what you want, you’re not going to get what you want.
You’re Jealous of Bold People
People are one of the best mirrors of ourselves. When you find yourself jealous of another person’s confidence, lack of regard for other people, their ability to command a room, and many other traits of bold people, you’re not only jealous of their boldness but dissatisfied with your lack of it.
Jealousy is good sometimes. Jealousy is an emotion with a direct cause. You’re feeling fine one moment, a bold person walks into the room, and now you’re jealous of them. Once you feel jealousy, you can deconstruct it to understand the cause, then brainstorm its remedy.
When you’re jealous of bold people, that jealousy acts in conjunction with the annoyance toward yourself when you act hesitant and when you let your fear of risks win. Jealousy is evidence that you want to improve your character and confidence, but you’re not in the space to do so yet.
Use your jealousy to your advantage. Don’t take it out on the person you’re jealous of, but use the jealousy as fuel to improve yourself. One day, you could be the person other people are jealous of.
You Let People Walk All Over You
You can’t say no to someone. You feel like you have to appease other people or else they’ll hate you, and you’re scared to death of that happening.
But always pleasing other people can drain you. You’re often cutting into your free time to accomplish what they’re asking of you. You sleep less, have less time to do what you need to do at work or at home. Since you can’t say no, though, and you let your reservedness constrain you, you let people continue to ask too much of you.
Most people are kind, but others can sniff out the bashful folks like you, people who have flexible boundaries they can overstep.
When the mice are out, the snakes and hawks circle overhead.
So you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who know how to work you, how to ask to get what they want in a way reasonable enough so that you feel like you can’t say no. And you’re trapped. You let people walk all over you because you’re not bold enough to say no, tell them to look elsewhere and return behind the safe barriers of your boundaries.
It’s the slight confrontation of telling someone no that’s scary and requires boldness. It’s easier to grit your teeth and sweep your anger under the rug, but bold people hold their mental health and personal needs to the highest regard. Bold people will accommodate others in an emergency, but someone bold would never let themselves be walked on.
You Lack Self-Esteem
At the core of low boldness, of letting people walk over you, of risk aversion and hesitancy, is low self-esteem. You don’t think of yourself too highly, so you need other people’s validation to inform your self-worth.
Low-esteem arises for many reasons, usually during childhood or adolescence. But adults who don’t learn how to overcome their low self-esteem find themselves trapped by it. They’re in bad relationships, bad jobs with opportunistic coworkers, and feel depressed from their passivity in getting what they want.
Lacking self-esteem is the number one way people move safely through life. They live to appease others before themselves, which amounts to a lifetime worth of regret on their deathbed.
So to be happy — and move through life in the way you truly want to — you’re going to have to learn to be bold, which requires difficult self-growth. It could require painful discoveries about yourself, of uncovering truths you’ve been hiding.
But earning self-esteem must come first before you can learn to be bold. Otherwise, acting bold will seem fake, like following another person’s dialogue and blocking.
How to Be Bold
To be bold, you have to gain a trait that will unlock the door of your self-imprisonment and allow you to do whatever you want to do freely. This trait will get out out of your head, stop you from needing permission from others, and forces you to act on your accord — not someone else’s.
This trait is self-confidence. Self-confidence is magnetic. You can always tell who has the most self-confidence in the room — and who lacks it. When a person has self-confidence, they make the decisions best for them. They look around the room wondering what others are doing — their confidence allows them to be bold and to do what they need to do.
So to be bold, the first and most crucial trait you must achieve is confidence.; confidence in yourself, in your character, and your ability to succeed.
How to Gain Confidence
Having unshakable confidence is the best way to be bold. Once your confidence and think highly of yourself, boldness will become second nature.
You’ll establish boundaries naturally because you love yourself and want to uphold yourself first and foremost.
You’ll ask for what you want because you don’t rely on other people to give you permission — you get your own permission.
Confidence is crucial, and here’s how to get it.
Change How You Speak to Yourself
People start off their journey to high confidence at different levels. Some people think okay of themselves but understand where their weaknesses are.
Others hate their appearance, personality, and generally everything about themselves for whatever reason, whether it’s poor mental health or life experiences. Starting from here means you’ll have more work to do to achieve high confidence.
But the truth for everyone, no matter who you are with no matter how low self-confidence you have, is this: there’s always something to like about yourself, even if it’s not obvious.
Some people like their face but dislike their bodies. For others, the opposite. But there’s always something. It could be the look of your hands. The shape of your eyes. The swirls of your fingerprints.
Whatever it is, find something you like about yourself and cling to it. It will be the ever-expanding foundation for you to pivot how you think about yourself. Each day, build momentum on self-positivity. Your fingerprints look nice, and so do the back of your knees. You write g’s with an aesthetically pleasing swirl, and you always make your bed in the morning.
The more you pay attention to yourself, the more you realize the good things about you outweigh the bad. Use that insight to lead to others. Shift your thinking about yourself to be positive and constructive rather than the opposite. It’s the first step toward building self-acceptance and self-admiration — the bricks on the road to confidence.
Accomplish Things You’re Proud Of
We’re talking about months of grueling work finally to reach the end goal. To lean back from the manuscript and write “The End.” To look down at the scale to see your goal weight for the first time.
The harder something is to accomplish, the prouder you’ll be of yourself. Even on the days where you’re in a bad mood, and you don’t think too highly of yourself, you can look back on your previous accomplishments and say, “I might be in a bad mood today, and I may be in a funk, but I accomplished something that made me better.”
When you accumulate years of achievement, you can look on your vault of past wealth and feel like you’re rich with talent and triumph, which motivates you to attain future success.
Become a Good Person
As with growing your lists of accomplishments, work to be the type of person you hoped to become when you were younger. Generally, this person is honest, loyal, and caring for other people.
Commonplace behaviors, such as lying to your peers or pocketing money the person in front of you dropped, act adversely to integritous ideals. You have to constantly strive to be an honest, generous, and genuine person.
You have to define your morality to accomplish this step, as we can’t say definitively what morals you should adopt. Perhaps get a sheet of paper and list down some of the character qualities you admire in other people and hope to acquire in yourself. Qualities such as telling the truth, behaving honestly, and acting fairly should be on the list.
Becoming a genuinely good person is one of the best accomplishments to realize you’ve achieved. You might be going through a slump, a period in which you’re failing projects and letting employers and coworkers down. But at the end of the day, you know you’re a good person and that you bring positivity to the world.
That knowledge alone is enough to halt negative self-talk in its tracks and get you closer to confidence. From there, you’re one degree away from being bold.
You’re in a relationship with someone you really like. You feel like you can trust this person as if you see a future with them. But something in your mind holds you back. You can’t fully share yourself with them. You keep your vulnerabilities — the deep childhood shames that still haunt you, embarrassing secrets of what you currently do now — to yourself.
Vulnerability is confiding something twinged with shame, embarrassment, or guilt. It is sharing something personal to you. There should be resistance behind the act. Something in your gut wants you to keep that secret hidden, but the sake of deepening your emotional bond with someone requires you get vulnerable with them.
At the core of vulnerability is the knowledge that, when you express your secret, everything is going to be okay in the end. You might get emotional when you’re vulnerable, but you won’t be physically or mentally hurt from the experience.
You must trust the person with whom you’re sharing personal information to use it respectfully, keeping it a secret and not exploit that knowledge of you.
When given wisely and to people who won’t use it for nefarious purposes, vulnerability is an excellent exercise in confidence. Mainly, you leap over the mental resistance to stay guarded and share yourself with other people. It’s a deeply humbling experience, but one that many people can’t do.
To gain confidence, get vulnerable with a select group of people. It can be your partner, friends, or family member. Share what embarrasses you, what scares you, what you love most in the world but can’t tell anyone. You’ll grow self-esteem for having recognized these aspects about yourself and obtain confidence for having the courage to tell other people.
Determine and Uphold Your Boundaries
You know you need at least seven hours of sleep a night to feel functional. You have to have three meals a day, and you need at least two hours of mindless television to feel like you’re not inching ever closer to mental burnout.
Perhaps your boss laid off a bunch of people to raise profits, increasing the remaining employee’s workloads. While you should try to help out your company as much as possible, you should not consent to take on a workload that impairs your physical and mental needs.
Someone who is not confident would forgo these needs to please their employer. This people-pleaser, though, is bound to burn out quicker than the confident folks because they’re not taking care of themselves. A confident person does what they can to offer up a helping hand, but helping others never comes at the expense of themselves.
You have to know what your boundaries are. Then, vehemently uphold the lines. When you get in the habit of moving boundaries when someone persists in breaking them, you show the other person that persistence is all it takes for you to choose them over yourself.
You can be caring and committed to other people, but you have to take care of your needs first. Self-priority is one of the foundational principles of confident people. They think highly of themselves, so they have to treat themselves kindly. That need comes from self-love, so don’t let any obligation or person get in the way of that.
Have Patience With Yourself
You’ll mess up. You’ll revert back to habits that are counterproductive in your pursuit of confidence. Just remember that confidence doesn’t happen in a day or a week. You may feel like a switch flipped in your head, and now you’re a confident person, but those feelings are fleeting.
To make confidence stay, to make confidence become the basis of your being, you have to work day in and day out to build yourself up. Choose whatever metaphor you want; you can be a house, a work of art, a novel, or whatever else fits your personality.
What you have in common with all of them is that for truly exquisite masterpieces to arise, years of work had to be put in. Expecting your confidence to grow in a month — or even a year — is too short of a time to expect real, long-lasting change.
Understand that it’s a process, so keep your eyes on the prize. Have the person you want to be visualized in the back of your mind. Perform every action believing it will lead you one step closer to that person.
What’s the Difference Between Being Confident and Being Bold?
Great, now you’ve built up your confidence. But confidence is the giant that boldness stands on. Boldness requires confidence, yes, but it also requires courage.
Confidence gives you permission to overcome your fears, but courage allows you to do it. Without courage, you’ll stay in your comfort zone without the extra push behind your tush to move out of it.
Boldness also requires immediacy. When you first meet someone, the boldest person is the one who goes up and immediately talks to a stranger. Boldness requires doing what you want to do quickly, perhaps without thinking. There’s no time to even think about holding yourself back. You do the scary thing quickly.
So don’t get it twisted; boldness requires confidence. That’s perhaps the flour of the boldness cake — the ingredient you’ll need the most. But other elements, like courage and expediency, give boldness its unique flavor.
How to Be Bold Without Being Annoying
Now, this question might be lingering in the back of your head. You want to be bold, but you want to do what you want to do without annoying people around you.
It’s a valid concern, but it’s a matter you should ignore.
Bold people who are also considerate and caring are not annoying. These people know how to get what they want without stepping on other people’s toes.
For example, it’s bold to blast your music in the subway because you want to listen to it and you don’t care about what other people think about you. But, other people won’t feel the same way about your homemade dubstep. While good as an exercise for boldness, you’re really just being a jerk who doesn’t care about ruining a shared space with your noise.
So go forth and be bold, but also be cognizant of how your actions affect other people. When you keep an eye on how other people regard you, you can be bold in a charismatic way, not an annoying way.
Boldness Comes With Time and Effort
But with enough of both, you can eventually achieve the boldness you see in other people. You can make your boldness cake and eat it too.
Work to build up your self-confidence if you think low self-esteem hinders you. Once you feel you’ve built up your confidence, work to add flavors of courage and consideration to create the ultimate boldness.
You know you’re bold when you can reflect on past behaviors and realize you’ve become the person you’ve always wanted to be. If you’re not there yet, know that one day you can be.