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How to build Self-Confidence

Updated on January 20, 2008

"What makes you weep, my friend? In you is all power. Summon up

your all-powerful nature mighty one and this whole universe will lie at

your feet. It is the Self alone that predominates and not matter."

Swami Vivekanananda.

Though the potential strength is hidden within us, we are not able to

utilise it. Right attitude, positive thinking, and firm faith alone can

help us to manifest this hidden strength within. How do great people

achieve success in life? They cultivate certain qualities in order to

awaken the hidden confidence within themselves. Why not we also

give a try if we wish to be great and successful in life?

The qualities needed to be cultivated to build self-confidence are

1) Conviction

2) Hard Work

3) Will-Power

4) Self-respect

5) Long preparation

6) Communication

7) Commitment

8) Discrimination

9) Definite Goal

10) Love

11) Concentration

12) Strength


The very first step in climbing the ladder of self-confidence is firm

conviction about one's own ability. People are afraid of accepting

challenges and responsibilities because they doubt their capacity to

perform well; they underestimate themselves and lose wonderful

opportunities in life. Such doubting Thomases will never be able to say

with confidence that they can do anything and everything. So, never

doubt your inner strength. You may not be aware at present, but

believe that infinite power is lodged within you and will come out with

all its glory when you sincerely call upon it by way of positive attitude.

Swami Vivekananda said, "Never mind failures, they are quite natural,

they are the beauty of life, these failures. What would life be

without them? I never heard a cow tell a lie, but it is only a cow-never

a man. So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold on

to the ideal a thousand times and if you fail a thousand times make

the attempt once more."

How true it is! Thomas Alva Edison, one of the greatest scientists,

who made a series of inventions, had great conviction in his capacity.

He had made over 1000 experiments before he succeeded in inventing

the electric bulb. Though he was born in a poor American family and

was dull in his studies, nothing could obstruct his path or prevent him

from great achievements because of his firm faith in his inner


"Great convictions are the mothers of great deeds."

Swami Vivekananda.

2) Hard Work:

Nothing great can come unless we work for it. Dreams can never

become a reality without hard work. "Fortune approaches him who is

industrious. It is the weak-minded who says 'fate gives'. No acts are

done by mere desires; they are done only by diligence. The deer

doesn't enter the mouth of a sleeping lion. Men obtain the desired

fruit by speak of destiny only. Neither the lazy nor those who depend

solely on destiny fulfil their objective. Therefore, one should persist

in self-effort by all means." These are the words of scriptures.

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent

perspiration," says Thomas Alva Edison. There are many stories of

success. Among them was a world renowned speaker, Demosthenes.

How could he achieve that? He had a strong desire to become a

powerful speaker. It was not an easy task for him. He had a stammer,

added to that he was not able to speak long sentences at a stretch

due to stage fear, a feeble voice and many such difficulties. But he

could succeed only through hard work. As per the doctor's advice he

placed beads of flint on his tongue and tried to utter words clearly

and loudly. He would stand before the sea and deliver speeches in a

loud voice. He spent almost 15 hours a day studying books of various

interests and became a reservoir of knowledge. To perfect his

manners and gestures, he would stand before a life-size mirror and

deliver his speeches, bolting the room from inside. Hard-work and

sincere effort ultimately resulted in success, and he became a

powerful and effective public speaker. Let us have a high dream and

work hard to manifest that hidden power within. By constant efforts

success is bound to come.

"To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous

will.' I will drink the ocean, 'says the persevering soul,' at my will

mountains will crumble up.' Have that sort of energy, that sort of will,

work hard and you will reach the goal."

Swami Vivekananda.

3) Will-Power:

We are experts in taking vows and breaking them within no time. It is

easy to take vows but difficult to keep them up. We need the will of

Bhisma, who took a vow of life-long celibacy and practised it

diligently. Weak minds always search for excuses. The mind is fickle

and restless by nature, always ready to compromise and vacillate.

Those who possess a strong will and are determined to achieve great

things never listen to their minds. They make their minds work for

them to achieve higher things in life.

King Vishvamitra was arrogant and created problems for sage

Vashistha; but when he was humiliated by Vashistha, realising the

strength of spiritual knowledge, he decided to become a brahmarshi.

He was caught in the web of lust when Menaka tempted him into

indulgence. He had to overcome all the impediments, such as anger,

hatred, jealousy, pride, envy, delusion for the attainment of that

state. He could succeed because of his tremendous will-power. He was

never disheartened by failure. His determination and will power

helped him to awaken confidence which in turn led him to success.

"You must not say that you are weak. How do you know what

possibilities lie behind that degradation on the surface? You know but

little of that which is within you. For behind you is the ocean of

infinite power and blessedness."

Swami Vivekananda.

4) Self-Respect:

It is a well-known fact that men of hard work, knowledge, wisdom and

perfection are always honoured and respected everywhere, whereas

the ignorant, inefficient, lazy and dull people always face humiliation

and insult. There are people who, in spite of being humiliated,

insulted, warned several times, issued memos, scolded for their

blunders and even punished, never try to improve themselves. They

are people with a thick skin. They suffer from all kinds of physical

and mental tortures but don't want to change their attitude due to

lack of self-confidence. But sensitive people consider humiliation

worse than death and always try to improve in order to protect their

honour and self-respect. Love for dignity and honour helps them to

manifest hidden confidence within themselves and they rise to the

occasion, and prove their mettle by accepting challenges in life.

The great poet Kalidasa was an illiterate and a dullard. Some pundits,

who had been defeated in arguments by a highly intelligent princess

Vidyottama, got her married to Kalidasa in a deceitful manner out of

jealousy. When the truth came out she felt greatly disturbed and

admonished Kalidasa for his ignorance. His honour was at stake. He

felt deeply hurt and humiliated. He took it as a challenge and decided

to become a learned man. This feeling of self-respect ignited his

confidence. He left home and returned only after he had become a

man of profound learning.

5) Long Preparation:

It's not enough to manage things, but it is important to manage them

well. Great things happen not out of magic or miracles but out of

systematic preparation. Those who do not prepare well and try to

manage things haphazardly always meet with embarrassment and

utter failure. Most of the people keep on thinking about goals but do

not pay attention to the minute details which will help them to

achieve it. We all know that on 11th September 1893 Vivekananda

became a world famous figure when he addressed the parliament of

religions in Chicago. But we forget that success didn't come even to

the great Swamiji overnight. Preparation started from the day he

came into contact with his Master, Sri Ramakrishna, at the age of

17.Sri Ramakrishna knew that his disciple Narendranath was going to

become a world teacher, and he moulded his life accordingly. Training

of the guru, first-hand knowledge of the people during his wandering

days, deep study of scriptures and different branches of knowledge,

his love and compassion for the entire mankind, spiritual discipline and

realisation of the ultimate reality were the factors behind hi success.

Without proper preparation no person can be confident of success.

"Pay as much attention to means as to the end."

Swami Vivekananda

6) Communication:

Many have achieved success only through the power of perfect

communication. There are people who can be compared with a huge

reservoir of knowledge and information, but not always effective and

inspiring due to lack of the communicative ability .If you can speak

even a few words with confidence that will impress people and if you

can impress people by your effective communication, it will boost your

confidence. Many people talk, some are able to express, but only a

few can convey their ideas in an effective manner. Conquering people

through arguments may give you confidence but will never lead to

success. Convincing people through loving, affectionate, polite and

pleasant language not only gives you confidence but leads to success.

You may not be highly qualified or scholars, still you find a place in

the hearts of many. The power of your magic words will keep the

listeners spell-bound.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent

India, had a herculean task before him. At that time India was

divided into 554 states ruled by different kings and nawabs. 'Divide

and rule' was the policy of the British Government. Patel was against

it and wanted to unite India. To convince 554 kings and to make them

surrender was not an easy task. He was confident of his ability to

convince them about the great cause. He could successfully

accomplish that because of his effective communication. Except one

or two, all were convinced about his views and surrendered their

states to make India a great united power.

"It is only a few that understand the language of the brain, but

everyone understands the language that comes from the heart."

Swami Vivekananda.

7) Commitment:

Commitment and confidence always go together. The moment we

forget our commitment to a particular cause, we lose faith in

ourselves and try to justify our weaknesses. How many people

remember that they are the citizens of free India and are committed

to serve the cause of the nation? Very few indeed. We can count

them on the tips of our fingers. Mahatma Gandhi could have settled

down in South Africa, but his commitment to his country forced him

to return. Though the people did not believe him in the beginning, he

was confident that he could win freedom for India through the power

of non-violence.

Even when he was a student and wanted to go to London for higher

studies, mother Putali Bai was not wholeheartedly willing to send him

there fearing that Mohandas may not be able to resist temptation in

a foreign land, and spoil his life. She wanted him to promise that he

would never touch wine, meat and consequently associate with women

during his stay there. Without a moment's hesitation, Mohandas

agreed to her conditions. It was not an easy task for him. Many times

temptations came, but his commitment to his mother saved him from

all dangers and gave him tremendous confidence to overcome all

difficulties in his path.

"Let the sages blame or let them praise; let the goddess of fortune

come or let her go wherever she likes; let death come today, or let it

come in hundreds of years; he indeed is the steady man who doesn't

move one inch from the way of truth."


8) Discrimination:

Sometimes even the so-called learned scholars lose confidence when

they fail to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the right

and the wrong, vice and virtue due to lack of discrimination.

Knowledge alone can make us free from all types of fears. Fear is the

greatest enemy of man. People tell lies when they are afraid of

punishment. A little sickness makes them depressed due to fear of

death. They try to run away from the problems of life when are

afraid of failure. Arjuna, a great warrior and hero of the

Mahabharata war, went to the battlefield with the intention to fight.

But at the crucial moment has was overpowered by grief and fear and

lost confidence, sat down, throwing away his bow, depressed and

despondent and refused to totally confused. Sri Krishna restored

that knowledge again and made it clear to him that the soul is

immortal and eternal whereas the body is mortal and ephemeral.

There is no birth or death for the soul. Therefore, there was no need

for him to be despondent. Ignorance of his real nature was the cause

of depression. When Sri Krishna dispelled it in a trice by granting

himself-knowledge, he gets back his lost confidence and became


"The earth is enjoyed by heroes-this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero.

Always say,'I have no fear. 'Tell this to everybody-'Have no fear'.

Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, fear is

wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in this world

have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear."

Swami Vivekananda.

9) Definite Goal:

Many youngsters are not very clear about their goal in life. We can't

begin our journey unless we are clear about our destination. We

cannot proceed even a step unless we decide where we want to go. A

clear-cut goal and a one-pointed concentration alone help us to

manifest tremendous confidence.

We want to do many things simultaneously. Without singular devotion

to the ideal, no great things can be achieved. Kalpana Chawla, born in a

small town in Haryana, became the first Indian woman to travel in

space only because she had fixed her goal when she was a mere child.

Her biographer writes, "Kalpana would lie on her back and look at the

glittering stars in the skies during summer nights. Presumably, this

was what ignited her dream to journey into space. "She set her goal

and never deviated from it though her advisers, parents and even the

college principal tried to dissuade her from her choice of aeronautical

engineering and suggested to her that she go for more popular fields

like mechanical or electrical engineering. But the young Kalpana

refused to be convinced and finally achieved her goal overcoming all

the obstacles in her way. Her one-pointed devotion to goal gave her

the required confidence to succeed in life.

"Take up one idea, make that one idea your life; think of it, dream of

it, live on that idea. Let the full of that idea, and just leave every

other idea alone. This is the way to success."

Swami Vivekananda.

10) Love:

Love is that magic word which works like a tonic to manifest instant

confidence even in a moment. Love makes impossible things possible.

Abraham Lincoln, the greatest president of the United States got

that confidence and courage to fight for the abolition of slavery

through love. It was his unselfish love for mankind which promoted

him to act. His loving heart could witness the sufferings of human

beings who were treated worse than animals.

A young Irish woman, Miss Margaret Noble, inspired by the speeches

of Swami Vivekananda in London, decided to come to India and help

Swamiji in his mission of upliftment of Indian women. What was that

force which made her renounce everything and follow Vivekananda to

India? It was her love for India. Swami Vivekananda could instil that

love in her heart. This love in her heart for the masses and the

women of India gave her great confidence to overcome all obstacles

in her way. She served India by starting a school for girls in Kolkata

and also took active part in India's freedom movements.

"Love opens the most impossible gates; love is the gate to all the

secrets of the universe. Every step that has been really gained in the

world has been gained by love."

Swami Vivekananda.

11) Concentration:

God has given a unique instrument called the 'mind' to all living beings

including animals. But He bestowed his special grace only on human

beings in the form of freedom. Animals are controlled by nature;

human beings are capable of conquering nature. This conquest is

possible only through the power of concentration. Swami Vivekananda

said," Herein is the difference between man and animals- man has the

greater power of concentration. The difference in their power of

concentration also constitutes the difference between man and man.

Compare the lowest with the highest man. The difference is in the

degree of concentration. This is the only difference."

Concentration leads to perfection, perfection to confidence,

confidence to success and success finally leads to happiness. The

concentrated mind is like a perfect instrument for achieving success

in every walk of life. Creativity, talents, originality, scientific

discoveries and inventions, fine arts and even spiritual truths

discovered by the sages are the product of a concentrated mind.

Especially for students and youth concentration is a must. It is

impossible to acquire knowledge and working skills without adequate

concentration. A restless mind leads to confusion, frustration,

failures and various disasters.

How could Swami Vivekananda climb the pinnacle of success? Through

the power of concentration. In his own words," Just two or three

days before the entrance examination, I found that I hardly knew

anything of geometry, so I began to study the subject, keeping awake

the whole night and in twenty-four hours I mastered the four books

on geometry."

Because of this power of concentration Swami Vivekananda could

master many subjects and become an encyclopedia of knowledge.

Professor Wright of Harvard University was so deeply impressed by

his erudite scholarship that he insisted that Swamiji should

represent Hinduism at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago.

On hearing from Swami that he was denied that opportunity since he

could not produce the required credentials, the professor himself

introduced Vivekananda to the organizing committee in glowing

words." Here is a man who is more learned than all our learned

professors put together. Asking him for credentials is asking the sun

to state its right to shine!"

Concentration gave Narendranath knowledge, knowledge gave him

confidence finally leading to success and made him the world

conqueror Swami Vivekanananda.

"Concentration is the essence of all knowledge; nothing can be done

without it. Ninety percent of thought force is wasted by the ordinary

human being, and therefore he is constantly committing blunders; the

trained man or mind never makes a mistake."

Swami Vivekananada.

12) Strength:

Life is not always smooth like a bed of roses. Happiness and misery

are two sides of the same coin. One needs to develop mental strength

to digest them. Many a time a weak mind that is unable to withstand

suffering invites only untold miseries. What happened to

Dronacharya, when he heard the news of his son Ashvatthama's

death? He lost confidence on account of grief and finally lost his

life.Anger, grief, hatred, jealousy, ego, fear, inferiority complex are

obstacles which make a person weak and bereft of confidence. But

there are people who maintain equanimity even in the midst of crisis.

When Sardar Patel was arguing his case in court he received a

telegram carrying the news of his wife's death. He was not perturbed

by this and continued to argue till the end of the day, won the case in

favour of his client and then broke the news of his wife's death. That

is the sign of a healthy mind. Such people never lose their selfconfidence

even in the midst of a crisis.

Is anyone free from problems in this world? Without struggle, there

is no meaning for life. We have come to this world only to conquer

difficulties. Today, our youth are becoming so sensitive that for

petty things they feel depressed and commit suicide. Success and

failure are inevitable in life. Such a rare human birth is not meant for

committing suicide. We have no right to destroy this body. It is a

precious gift of god given to us to make the best use of it to achieve

great things. Failures in examinations, a little scolding from parents, a

petty quarrel with friends, a temporary financial problem, failure in

love affairs, inferiority complex, unemployment, dowry harassment,

these are the common reasons which forces people to commit suicide.

It is a great sin to commit suicide. It is not less terrible than

committing murder. We are not the owner of this body, we are only

the keeper. Therefore, we have no right to destroy it.

For every problem there is a solution: we need only a little patience

and confidence. Let us develop mental strength and courage to face

the problems of life and they will disappear in no time.

All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put

our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Know that there is

no darkness around us. Take the hands away and there is the light

which was from the beginning. Darkness never existed, weakness

never existed. We who are fools cry that we are weak; we who are

fools cry that we are impure. Thus Vedanta only insists that the ideal

is practical, but that it has been so all the time; and this ideal, this

reality, is our own nature. Everything else that you see is false,

untrue.As soon as you say," I am a little mortal being," you are saying

something which is not true, you are giving the lie to yourselves, you

are hypnotizing yourselves into something vile and weak and wretched.

Swami Vivekanananda


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      wow,really i am very happy now. i have a kid with down syndrome so i thought that my life is dark before reading this hub. now i feel good. thanks swamiji for giving me such a confidence level.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I realize my spiritual side when I merely a 2 yrs old but was limited but it is now grows eternal. Sri ramakrishna and vivekananda's life is enough to make one's a true human being. A man of truth, confidence, cimpassion, enlightenment...a perfect soul...only a person who is conscious towards his own seld would understand much!

    • profile image

      parveen sharma 

      6 years ago

      i am greatly inspired from these above steps and that helps me to attain poisitive potentality in my life......thanx swami ji.

    • profile image

      P.V.Praveen Kumar 

      6 years ago

      Nice writings iam facing similar problem (Self-Confidence). this article made me think more & act accordingly. A Heart Full thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very beautiful documentary that everyone should read.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice. Motivating

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was a good student but recently had many failures. Thank you very much for your nice writing, I will read it again and again and I am sure it will help me a lot.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Other religions should learn from this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I still have low self confidence , and this is the first step to eradicate the enemy that is killing me inside.

    • profile image

      kamal deep minj 

      10 years ago

      thanks hub you are really cool . after geeting here i have changed a lot

    • Jerrico Usher profile image

      Jerrico Usher 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      what a great hub! I too had low self esteem as a kid but broke out of it using exactly what is in this hub.. tis all a matter mind over matter, believing in yourself and try try try to say ahead :)


    • supercibor profile image

      Hector Herrera 

      10 years ago from Dominican Republic

      Hi HanoHarv:

      I enjoyed your Hub. This is an article that should be read over and over again and distribuited widely because ia a remedy for depression and stress which ar plaguing the modern world. It's very soothing advice for our souls.

      Thank for your gift.



    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You do have to know your success within

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      10 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Very nice hub! I struggle with self-confidence at times - I have learned it is virtually impossibe to please everyone so why die trying - I am getting better, I just try to please God and keep my integrity. Keep writing beautiful!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great hub! I use to have low self confidence as a kid...getting nervous around other kids and stuff. As I gre older...I broke myself out of that. Nobody can tell me nothing! My self-confidence level is 100%. :)


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