The Only Way to Be Truly Confident in Yourself

Mark Manson explains how to break free from the ‘confidence conundrum’

Mark Manson
Forge
Published in
5 min readApr 7, 2021

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Credit: We Are / Getty Images

How are you supposed to be confident about something when you have nothing to feel confident about? Like, how are you supposed to be confident in your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or be confident in social situations when you’ve never made a friend before? Or be confident in your relationship when you’ve never dated anyone before?

Confidence appears to be an area where the rich get richer and the poor stay the losers they are. If you’ve always lost in life, how could you ever expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus, the cycle of suckage continues.

This is the confidence conundrum, where in order to be happy or loved or successful, you first need to be confident. But in order to be confident, you first need to be happy or loved or successful.

So it seems like you’re stuck in one of two loops — a happy and confident loop, like this:

Or a loser loop, like this.

And if you’re in the loser loop, well, it seems damn near impossible to get out. It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. Or Domino’s ordering its own pizza.

But maybe we’re going about this all wrong. Maybe the confidence conundrum isn’t really a conundrum at all.

If we pay close attention, we can learn a few things about confidence just by observing people. Let’s break it down:

  1. Just because somebody has something (tons of friends, a million dollars, a bitchin’ beach body) doesn’t necessarily mean that person is confident in it. There are business tycoons who lack confidence in their own wealth, models who lack confidence in their looks, and celebrities who lack confidence in their own popularity. So I think the first thing we can establish is that…

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Mark Manson
Forge
Writer for

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.