To understand how to improve your confidence, it is important to make clear what we mean by self-confidence. Google defines self-confidence as ‘a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgement’, and Merriam-Webster as ‘confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities’. From these definitions, it seems that the building blocks of self-confidence are based around one’s certainty in their efficacy in undertaking various tasks. For instance, to be confident speaking publicly, you need to be as sure as you can that you aren’t going to mess up the components which it consists of; remembering what to say, connecting with the audience, speaking audibly, and so on. This is important, as people often believe that confidence is purely a skill which is attained independently of its context, and therefore needlessly come to label themselves as ‘unconfident’ or ‘shy’. It is also good news, as it opens up the possibility to train confidence through a specific context, and have that confidence spill over into other areas. So, what are some actionable steps to improve your self-confidence? 1) Increase repetition: In his celebrated book ‘Mastery’, Malcom Gladwell outlines the ’10,000 Hour Rule’, which explains that, to become a master in any field, you must complete around 10,000 hours of ‘deliberate practice’. This rule was created after studying the actions of those who are most successful in their fields in comparison with those who are less successful in them. 10,000 hours seems like a lot, but the good news is that you don’t need to spend this much time to become confident in a domain (unless you want to be confident that you will win a Wimbledon tennis tournament!). Deliberate practice involves persistent repetition in order to improve your skills and knowledge. However, this kind of practice must be more clever than mindless repetition; tailoring the difficulty to your current level and simulating the pressures you will face in the real environment. 2) Set goals and achieve them: The feeling of achieving a goal you have set for yourself will make you feel better and re-enforce to yourself that you can be successful in your endeavours. A common mistake made is setting goals that are too far out of one’s reach, and then becoming discouraged when unsuccessful in reaching them. The secret is to initially set smaller goals that will be easier to achieve, and then to gradually increase the scope and size of the goals in order to continue the momentum of your progression. 3) Improve your self-talk: Have you noticed that the manner in which you speak to yourself can often err on the side of negativity? If you spoke to other people the way that you speak to yourself, how do you think they would react? Your thoughts influence your actions, both negative and positive, so you should be careful with the mental stories you tell and the opinions you hold of yourself. There are plenty of people in your life who will speak to you negatively and doubt your abilities, so the last thing you need is another one, especially one who actually wants the best for you. Negative self-talk should be replaced with positive affirmations. To do this, start by simply listening to the way that you talk to yourself. You can then begin to challenge what you are saying, with the goal of changing the content from negative to positive.