The Real Secret to Confidence (That Nobody has Told You Yet)

I remember being nineteen years old in my first week of University when I first heard the advice to “just be confident” when talking to women. Before I started figuring things out for myself, “just be confident” and “just be yourself” were the only two pieces of dating advice that I had ever really gotten, and it was frustrating because it didn’t give me any sort of real guidance on what I should actually do.

After all, how do you really be confident? As a 19-year-old, I hadn’t really achieved anything except getting into a good university, which only made me equal to every single person on campus. I was skinny, awkward, untested, unsure of who I was and what my talents were. I had no real foundations on which to base any sense of accomplishment. I saw other, more confident guys on campus, and wondered: “what do they have to be so confident about?” It took me many years to realize this secret, that I’m going to share with you now. Hopefully this will save you a lot of the trouble that I went through. Before I tell you the secret though,  you have to realize the error that most people make. Most people with low-confidence and low-self esteem, think that confidence is about thinking you’re good at something, and self-esteem is about thinking you’re a good or worthy person in general. They think it’s about having “high value” or whatever. These people have it all wrong.

The girl who looks in the mirror and says “I’m pretty” and feels good about her self has the same problem as the girl who looks in the mirror and says “I’m ugly” and feels bad. Their real problem is the compulsive need to look in the mirror to reassure themselves. The only difference between the two is that one gets her fix, and the other doesn’t.

It is the habit of self-judgment, more than the judgment itself, that characterizes people with low self-confidence and low self-esteem. It’s that habit of going into your mind and demanding reassurance that you are good or worthy that is the root of low self-esteem, and its mirror image, arrogance.

So what is REAL confidence, and REAL self-esteem?


True confidence and self esteem are about not judging yourself at all.


Confidence is a state of non-worry, of being present and occupied with the world as it is, and not as it ought to be, or as we judge it to be. True self-esteem is the state of accepting oneself, for good and for bad. You can only do that if you change the habit of judging yourself.

I’m not saying that you should be oblivious to yourself, or whether you’re a good person or a bad person. There is a role for non-judgementally evaluating yourself. But a confident person doesn’t think about these things compulsively. The confident man does what he believes is right, and is not overly concerned with how others judge him. He seeks to control that which he can control: his own actions, emotions and motivations, and then accepts the things that he cannot control, such as the inevitable judgments of other people.

After all, if we allow our self-esteem to be reliant on the judgments of other people, we are really making ourselves the victims of the meanest, most judgmental people in society.

Let me provide an example. I am a confident singer and guitar player. This is despite the fact that my talent at those two things is rather middling. I’m not confident because I think I’m great; I’m confident because I know I’m not horrible and I’m not really worried much beyond that. So I can get up in front of people, and sing my little heart out without worry or anxiety.

But in order to be confident, in order for me to truly enjoy and put my heart into the act of singing, it’s not simply enough that I consider myself good – I must stop even asking the question.

Today, instead of worrying whether you’re good or bad, worthy or unworthy, direct your attention and focus outwards, towards the world in front of you, and watch your confidence increase.

Check here for 10 steps you can use to increase your self-confidence right away. I highly recommend signing up for my mailing list at the top right, or subscribing to my RSS feed, so you can get this information delivered to you right away when it’s published. Also, check out my other Inner Game posts.



About Chris Shepherd

Chris Shepherd is a dating coach operating out of Montreal. He is a founder of Love Systems, the world's largest dating coaching company for men. He likes Led Zeppelin, greek philosophy and Hemingway, and hates bad dates, mediocrity and douchebags. He recommends the book Magic Bullets for men who want to improve their success with women.


  1. I was in a coffeeshop (despite it’s name there is no coffee involved ;P) in Amsterdam once and I met this woman who told me just this. Focus outwards and everything will be alright. Since I started doing that my confidence got an insane boost.

  2. Very interesting acticle, I never thought about it that way. Thanks.

  3. Good article, Chris. You have some nice writing and interesting perspectives. But from what I understand it seems as if you’re coupling “confidence” with “indifference,” in the sense that to be confident one must not care about anything else. Let me know if I’m reading too superficially and not grasping your point.

  4. Given that this is the first time I clicked through from Heartiste, it’s exactly what I needed to see. Woke up this morning in a good mood for the first time in months. Know reason for it but I wasn’t going to question it. This post certaintly reinforced my instincts.

  5. Andrew,

    A lot of people have made the same misunderstanding. I will address it in an upcoming blog post.

  6. Very Good article! Would love to some practical steps to achieve this state of Self esteem 😀

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely awful advice. Don’t listen to people who tell you not to judge, either others or yourself. Self-esteem is a crucial value in every human beings life. The path to self-esteem, first and foremost, is to know and accept reality as such, by using your rational mind, and being honest and having integrity to rational values. This all requires judgment, especially of when you are adhering to reality and when you are not, as well as when others are doing so, too. You have to judge whether you are goods or not, according to a rational standard, and whether you are worthy of a person’s praise or condemnation. Ayn Rand said it best: judge and be prepared to be judged.

    • Bro or whoever it is u r in for trouble if u follow that belief…as einstein said….to avoid critisicm….speak nothing do nothing and be nothing

    • Agreed. Advice like this has caused me many months of frustration. The problem with this not judging yourself at all approach is that it leaves your inner issues unresolved. It’s more like putting a bandaid over a wound that festers over time or like building up this grandiosity armor that is completely out of tune with reality. Eventually reality penetrates through this armor to reveal this fundamental worthlessness.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It makes me happy to see people promoting good mindsets like these.. I think there are a lot of unhealthy behaviors and judgements going on in our society today.

  9. Great article that gave me an aha moment, thanks, by turning off their inner judgmental voice to themselves, by not judging who is bad and by doing the correct without expecting a reward the persona is taking concise steps towards mastery…

  10. Incredible universal truths buddy…..thnx a lot!!

  11. Compliments the three laws of magnetic, charismatic personality…..1.being present in the moment 2. True self esteem…esteem beyond your self image…nd 3. Showing the divine emotions of love joy and equinamity..

  12. No offense but this is not much of a secret. plus, confidence and self esteem are two different things albiet sepearted by a fine line. And you’re wrong about self esteem not being how you feel about yourself as a person. That’s exactly what it is. You can’t just redefine words. That would defeat the purpose of words. Here’s the real “secret”: Your self esteem is directly tied to your self respect. Therefore, if you want to improve your self esteem, respect yourself. If you want to respect yourself, do things that you respect and avoid doing things that you don’t respect. Easier said than done but practical advice that will bring you everlasting self respect and then your world will change.


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