We had some great sports figures in the 1970’s and Muhammad Ali was one of them. He was a central figure in sports at that time.

You either loved him or totally disliked him. There was rarely anything in between. He was divisive and controversial.  His greatness was often overshadowed by the confidence he dared to show to everyone.

It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that many of his actions were merely showmanship and I understood the complexity of his soul. I’ve included two great clips at the end that gives you insight into this man and a funny clip about confidence.

But, his confidence always stood out and we can take a lesson from him on that.

Lacking self-confidence can cripple you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How self-confident are you in general?
  • Are you confident in your work?
  • Do you ever find yourself hesitating or holding yourself back at work or in your personal life?
  • Do you worry that you’re not “good enough” to achieve the kind of success you dream of?

Confidence and State of Mind


Confidence is a state of mind. It’s the feeling of self-assurance that arises from the appreciation of your abilities and qualities. Confidence is knowing what you bring to the table. You believe in your knowledge, skills, and the experience you have.

 It’s knowing that you can get the job done.

 As Muhammad Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” 

Talent or Confidence? What Drives Success?

According to Medical News Today, confidence, not talent, is a driver of success. Researchers at the University of California (UC) Berkeley’s Haas School of Business found that those who were more confident experience more success than their peers, despite their talent.

Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologyshowed that those who appeared more confident achieved a higher status than their peers. At work, “higher-status individuals” tended to be more admired, listened to, and had more influence over group decisions.

Business News Daily also published studies on confidence that suggested confident employees have more fruitful careers than their peers who aren’t as self-assured. Their research discovered a correlation between confidence and career success and also revealed that those who self-reported higher levels of confidence earlier in school earned better wages, and were promoted more quickly.

Can it be? Can confidence really be the key to greater success?

The Importance of Confidence

The good thing about confidence is that you don’t have to be born with it. Confidence is not a static measure. Our confidence to perform tasks can increase and decrease. Some days we even feel more confident than others.

But being confident changes things. People take notice.

Confidence changes your relationships, how you communicate, your ability to meet your goals, and having a successful working environment. Confidence is one of our most important assets. 

How Does Confidence Help?

  • Confidence helps with communication: Let’s say you are having an interview. Your skills can be off the page but you have to be able to convince an employer that you can do the job. If your body language or communication style says otherwise, that’s going to hurt. If you lack confidence, it diminishes your ability to speak with conviction.
  • Confidence helps with meeting goals: If you don’t believe you’re capable of reaching your goals, you probably won’t reach them.
  • Confidence means you are comfortable just being you: You can tell a confident person by the way they walk into the room.
  • Confidence frees us from fear: It helps us move out of our self-restricted boundary – called our comfort zone – and helps us to control any situation, circumstance, or outcome. Confidence replaces fear and anxiety.
  • Confidence helps our success: The studies above have shown a correlation between self-confidence and success. Increasing confidence can help to increase success. 

How to Gain Confidence

  • Plan and Prepare: Prepare for difficult situations and take control of the unknown. Break it down into bite-size pieces so you can plan your course of actions.
  • Increase Your Knowledge: The more you know, the more confident you become. Increased knowledge helps boost confidence levels as well as confidence with our abilities to perform roles and tasks.
  • Surround Yourself With the Right People: Your network can either increase or reduce your self-doubt.  If you’re embarking on something new, make sure you have supportive people around you who are uplifting you and encouraging you to move forward.
  • Know You Will Do It: Powerful thoughts provide us with powerful intentions. Negative thoughts can be very damaging to confidence and your ability to achieve goals.
  • Strengthen Your Strengths: Keep doing what you do best and continue to develop those strengths because that will consciously add fuel to your confidence. When you draw from your strengths it helps to remove your fear.
  • Take Note of the Times You Were Not Successful: Don’t think of your mistakes as negatives but rather as learning opportunities. Some of the greatest life lessons are a result of missing the mark first go around.
  • Recognize Your Accomplishments and Toot Your Own Horn: Ali was a master at this. It’s okay to toot your horn. Recognize your own achievements and don’t be embarrassed to accept compliments when given.
  • Learn to Express Yourself: Stand up for what is important to you. Flex those vocal cords. Stand up for what you believe and stick to your principles. People admire those who are not afraid to speak what is on their mind. Assertiveness, confidence and self-confidence are linked. As people become naturally more assertive, confidence develops. 

Confidence is Not Cockiness

Be confident but not cocky. Arrogance doesn’t win friends and can be detrimental to interpersonal relationships. A little humility goes a long way to temperate arrogance.

Remember, it’s not enough just to feel confident. You have to actually perform the task at hand. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. When you set the ground rules for an expectation of success, you can attempt new things, forge new relationships, contribute to your success, and revel in small wins as you move toward bigger goals.

Muhammad Ali sure showed us how to get it done.  A classic video of Ali below:

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