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Confidence 101: How To Be Confident

how to be confident

(This is a guest post by Will Chou, founder of


You may be wondering why this book is not 1,000 pages long like other books. I will answer that with a question:

Have you ever read a really long book only to discover that its main points could have been summarized in a couple pages? The current standard of long books pushes authors to add a lot of fluff to their book to look more credible. This wastes not only the author’s time writing the book but the reader’s time.


I aim to not do that. If I can get the same point across to you in a fraction of the time, then all of us win.


This book is made to specifically help guys with their confidence so they can do better with women. Most of the other books on this topic go too broad in my opinion and try to solve the confidence question for everyone. I think this approach fails because confidence is a skill you can get for one thing (talking to women) but still be weak at on another (playing golf or public speaking).


Having said that, many of the tips on here can be translated to general social skill situations like confidence in public speaking and social events. And a few of the tips on here can be translated into general confidence overall.


Make sure to stay until the end of this book because I have a special surprise gift for you there.

Confidence. The First Thing All Women Want…


“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale


Ask any girl (even a very young girl) what she likes in a man and one of the first things she will say is, “I like a confident guy.” But why? Were girls told this by their parents at a very early age and forced to memorize this response? No.


What’s happening here is a natural genetic response, programmed into her after thousands of years of survival of the fittest. But you already know that. You could care less about why confidence matters. You just want to be more confident. And that’s why I am here for you.


For over ten years of my life, I have learned about “how to build confidence” from articles and videos on the Internet. I consumed everything there was out there. And they all sucked at helping me.


They all focused on random tactics and tricks that gave a quick, short-term boost in results. But the world has changed. We have a firmer and better understanding of what confidence is thanks to science. You do not have to go through the suffering I did.


Rather than a quick mind trick that will improve your confidence, I want to share with you the truth about why humans are biologically confident or unconfident at certain tasks and what to do about it.


As we all know, having less confidence than we should holds us back. We never put ourselves out there out of fear and fail to approach a girl we could have got, make a public speak that could have impacted millions, or start the business we could have succeeded at.


And what if, in your heart, you have your own way of expressing yourself, with your own goals that you want to achieve, all of which is very different from most other people? How can you effectively express that without feeling judgment from others?


What has been a huge issue for me (and many other men) is that we are told that women like confidence. It’s mentioned so often that we start to assume that it’s the magic pill that will get us all women and we are confused why we do not have it.


Below, I list 29 steps you can take to improve your confidence. I will go into why these techniques will actually help you rather than stay on the surface level of “it just makes you feel better for some reason.”

How To Use These Tips

Do not read all these tips in one sitting. They are overwhelming if you do it that way and that is not how I want you to. The list is supposed to be a comprehensive list of everything you can do to build confidence.


Instead, start with #1 and only read one or two a day max. Feel free to space it out to one per 3 or 4 days too. Work on using it in real life until you get good at it, master it, or feel like it is not a good fit for you. Only once you have given it a good shot should you move onto the other steps.


Some of these are more lifestyle habits that you will never fully master and can always be improved. In these cases, you can move onto the next step once you feel you have comfortably turned it into a habit of improvement.


Not all of these are necessary to achieve peak levels of confidence. In fact, a few may be enough to get you there on a consistent, long-term basis. Good luck and feel free to let me know your progress on my site


Let’s begin:

1. Increase Your Competence

Here’s some big news to you. Confidence alone will not make you irresistible to women. It helps. Girls definitely prefer someone confident in themselves versus someone who has low self-esteem.


But it will not land you every girl like some type of magic mind-control device. Think of an obese, dirty, homeless man. Do you really think the moment he obtains godlike confidence the moment he will become him a magnet to all women?


Sorry to burst your bubble but women assess multiple attractive traits, not just confidence. That man’s going to have to take a shower, dress cleaner, and get a job too. I am here to tell you the truth. Not give you a false “magic pill” like everyone else.


But having said that, we all know confidence helps. So how do you stop being the stuttering shy boy and get some confidence?


Let’s start with the biggest lesson first. This is pure gold and took me years to learn:


Confidence comes from competence.


You can have the confidence of Michael Jordan in basketball but the competence of a third grade student. The question is do you really want that? Do you really want to be the guy with the smug grin on his face about how great he is, only to be embarrassed and defeated each time you actually play against someone?


To talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. And your genetics usually does a great job of gauging where you should stand based on your competence. How so?


Because for thousands of years, the men who were overconfident when they went hunting or talked to a girl got killed or rejected. They did not get a wife and therefore, did not pass their overconfident traits down to children.


You are the descendant of thousands of years of successful mating. When you are feeling shy or anxious when you approach a woman, your prehistoric genes are telling you, “Hold on, I do not think you are competent enough to actually succeed in talking to this woman. Hold off until you develop more attractive traits.”


Sometimes, what it’s saying is right on point and you should go work on skills related to improving your competence with women (exercising, grooming, social skills, mental health, happiness, wealth, willpower, emotional intelligence, etc.).


Dr. Ivan Joseph did a Ted Talk on this topic. He said that confidence comes from assuredness at being able to perform at a specific skill. He recommends consistent practice and persistence against discouragement to keep improving at your skill. A good example he gives on how competence is related to confidence is when a professor is choosing who to call on to answer a question in class. Those who are not confident in their answer are usually not able to properly answer the question correctly.


But what if you are in the situation where your competence is high but your confidence is still low? What if your focus (like most people) is on social competence and you don’t know how to improve it? What if you know you should be more confident given your accomplishments but you aren’t?


That’s where the other tips come in…

2. Practice Your Social Skills In Low-Consequence, Social Environments

Confidence is topic-independent. You can be confident playing the piano, but still be unconfident when speaking to a woman. Depending on what you are after, you should practice different skills to improve your competence.


Most people struggle with confidence in some sort of social situation, so we’ll use that as an example. You can find low-pressure and low-consequence social environments to practice talking to people.


Examples include as a bartender or barista, in an improv class, during a Toastmasters or social skills development meet-up, or with old people at a retirement home.


By talking to people that do not scare you as much or being in a judgement-free environment, you can test and learn what works and what does not. For instance, you can test greeting someone with, “Hello” versus “Hello” and a compliment. Depending on which gets a warmer reception, you can write down what works and keep improving from there.


Low-consequence environments, like a recreational sports club, work great because if you are socially awkward, you do not lose your job and you do not have to see that person again.


You can slowly work your way up to situations where you are talking to people you find more intimidating or throw you off. If you are shy around attractive girls your age, a healthy intermediate solution could be practicing in a workplace around these girls where you are forced to communicate and where any interactions related to dating are off the table.


Over time, you will notice that they are just people and can move up from there to environments where there is a dating subtext and you can hit on them.

3. Realize The World Had Changed and Rejection Isn’t That Bad

Thanks to the rise of big cities, the fear and anxiety that our genetics aren’t always right. Our genes are still programmed for the small-town hunter-gatherer societies we lived for thousands of years.


Therefore, there can be a certain level of unnecessary anxiety when you approach a girl. There was never a time in history where there were so many people in a condensed space. Your genes sometimes tell you that you will be excommunicated and fail to get a wife if you get rejected by one girl because it assumes you still live in a town of 100 or less. And in these small communities, women will all talk to to each other about your rejection, which can destroy your chances.


But clearly, that’s no longer the case. So realize that sometimes, you are being a bit too fearful to approach a girl.


Now, some people will tell you to be as horrible a person as you can to strangers to prove to yourself it doesn’t matter what others think since you won’t see them again. Don’t do this because it’s about spreading positivity and improving yourself, not dragging others down. There are other ways of achieving the same effect without being a dick, like doing push-ups in public.

4. Dress and Groom Yourself Well

Now, there is so much fashion advice out there already that I will simply refer you out to Google if you want more specific tips on this.


But let’s understand why it matters. People naturally look for well dressed, well cleaned individuals because it can imply wealth, intelligence, work ethic, and health.


Health is especially important. Women had to navigate through thousands of illnesses and sexually transmitted diseases over thousands of years. They naturally picked up complex, automatic detectors of how healthy. Their radar isn’t always perfect, but it’s pretty accurate. You are shooting yourself in the foot by being noticeably dirty.


Dressing well shows that you have taken extra time and energy to show off your attractive traits in an intelligent way, something most people cannot do even with the time and money.


What’s most awesome about improving fashion and grooming is that by doing so, it can have a “ping pong effect.” This is when one improvement improves another area of your life, which improves the first area, and it keeps compounding and raising everything up.


For example, you will get more looks, compliments, and people willing to talk to you when you improve your image. This improves your competence and confidence, which makes you even more appealing, which improves your confidence even more. The first steps are usually the toughest, but once you start getting results, it gets easier.


As you will see later on, this ping pong effect also works for other activities you can do, like exercise.


P.S. Take fashion advice from people who know what they are doing. I used to be overconfident in my “fashion sense.” When I finally humbled down, I realized how ridiculous some of the outfits I wore were. No wonder I was repelling people.

5. Think Positively and Optimistically

Positive thinking is not just about pumping yourself before you have to act more confident than you actually are. Sure, that can help. But it’s also about having a positive outlook and expression throughout your entire life.


How does this help? Well, if you are positive to everyone you talk to and positive in your work, you spread good feelings, improve your mental health, and persevere when others quit. This improves how people think of you and your career success.


What’s most important is killing negative thoughts as soon as they appear. If you keep repeating beliefs that a circumstance is unchangeable (like “I will never date a girl”), you are burning that into your subconscious until you believe it on such an automatic level that it stops you from improving.

6. Help Those Less Fortunate Than You

I recently watched an interview of the billionaire John Paul DeJoria at a conference called Genius Network. He said that the number one behavior you can do to improve your self-confidence and self-esteem when you are feeling rejected, low value, or down…


Is helping others less fortunate than you. John says that you always have something to give even when you think you do not. He gave his time volunteering at homeless shelters back when he was broke himself, for example.


Now, not everyone agrees. Oprah Winfrey said in a Stanford Business School Q&A that you must have something before you can give it. But the point is that there is always someone who has it much worse than you and helping others reminds you of your blessings, skills, value, and achievements.

7. Speak Slower, Use Less Uptalk, and More Downtalk

I challenge you to watch a few speeches and interviews from leaders of the world like Obama or Martin Luther King. Or you can look to the boss at your local company.


You’ll notice a few things: they speak slow, they do not speak in a tone that seeks approval, and they use “you” or “he” more than “I” as pronouns.


Here’s why: they know they will be listened to so they have no need to rush their thoughts and they got to where they were helping and praising others rather than being selfish. The book The Secret Life of Pronouns breaks this down in detail. A mathematical algorithm was run on the words of successful people versus average people and the only identifiable difference was the pronouns they used.


Therefore, you can hack the process by speaking slower and using less uptalk. Uptalk is when you end your sentences and questions with an upward intonation as if you are seeking approval. It’s something a lot of lower-level people in a social hierarchy naturally do.


If you speak fast (like me) and use uptalk, it’s often because we were programmed to do so when we were young because people cut us off or did not care about our opinion much.


Downtalk does not mean ending your sentences with a downward inflection. It can often just mean a neutral yet affirming statement. Most people talk like this naturally to equals.

8. Improve Your Body Language and Movement

Your body language matters. It’s not just how you stand (which is important), but also how you move, your facial expressions, your gestures, your posture, and your energy.


I bet you can tell how confident someone is simply by how he walks. Is his chest out? Is he walking fast? Is he smiling?


Don’t get overwhelmed here. What matters most is your posture so start there. It’s more important to identify and remove bad body language more than improving what’s good first.


Red flags to look out for are: hunched back, shrugged shoulders, and taking up too little space in a room.


Amy Cuddy did a Ted Talk that revealed how different body language can literally change the levels of hormones produced in your body, including stress and relaxation hormones.


Recent studies have shown that physiology can change psychology. We used to assume that if you are sad, your body language will reflect that. And there was no way to fake happiness or confidence. It turns out that this isn’t completely true. Changed your body language can literally change how you think and what hormones your body secretes.


9. Smile More

Smiling is the key to opening others up. Thanks to the mirror neurons in our brains, we cannot help but smile back at a genuine smile. Smiling opens up others receptivity to us, which improves our competence talking to others.


Smiling can fall in line with the “psychology can follow physiology” studies mentioned in the last point. It can act as a feedback loop where one act improves another which improves another until your success keeps compounding upwards.


Start smiling more, but remember to make sure it’s a genuine smile. It’s proven that people can tell the difference between a fake and real smile.

10. Celebrate Your Accomplishments To Improve Self-Esteem

You probably won’t be surprised if I tell you that our brains psychologically forget about all the accomplishments and good times we had, while over-emphasizing the negative events, our insecurities, or what we don’t have.


In Rick Hanson’s book Hardwiring Happiness, he calls the brain “Velcro for bad and Teflon for good.” Why does this happen?


It goes back to the genetics that we have been groomed for after thousands of years as a hunter-gatherer society. We had to emphasize the negative because if we did not, we would get killed. Our brains are just not adapted to this new modern world.


Therefore, celebrate your accomplishments, skills, and happy moments. Otherwise, you will brush them aside. Realize there is plenty of great stuff that you have done that you should celebrate.


It can be as simple as finally going to the gym, meditating, or earning your first dollar.  One way to do this is the Jar of Awesome. You write down your achievements as soon as they occur so you don’t forget (I like to record them on a computer). Then, you read them out loud and celebrate them at the end of the day.


11. Meditate

Now, there are situations where your confidence is much lower than your competence.


Maybe you rightfully should be more confident than you are (and it’s not arrogance), yet you still act shy and unconfident. Perhaps, you are an incredible professional trumpet player, yet you won’t ask for the salary you deserve. Maybe you are rich, handsome, successful, funny, healthy, and trustworthy, but you are still so insecure that you cannot even look at a girl. Or maybe you make most of the money for the company yet you are scared to ask for a raise or promotion.


In these cases, you need to improve your confidence rather than your competence. There is a miscalibrated gauge. There could be multiple causes, such as the “Ugly Duckling Syndrome” where you still identify with your childhood identity, which was much lower-value compared to your peers.


There are many methods of working on this. One is meditation. Science has shown that meditation is not just some woo-woo mystical art without measurable effects. It has shown to physically change the structure of your brain for the better.


One way meditation can help is if you have an over-reactive tendency to be shy. This could be caused by an overactive amygdala that perceives social threats as much bigger than they actually are. Sustained, long-term meditation has proven to increase the prefrontal cortex’s ability to inhibit the amygdala and control unreasonable social fears.


It also has many other beneficial effects such as improving the brain’s ability to make cognitive decisions apart from the sometimes illogical emotional reactions we have. You are able to make the right decisions and act in a certain way even if your emotions are telling you it’s uncomfortable. As you will see, this will help you with the next few practices.

12. Surround Yourself With People More Confident Than You

Ever heard the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do?”


Well, humans copy others too. And it’s because of their mirror neurons. Just by watching someone perform a task, our brain is almost experiencing it as if we are doing it. We naturally and automatically start copying others so that we can do it ourselves eventually.

If you can surround yourself with people who are naturally confident, you will naturally pick up on all the subtle movements, tones, facial expressions, and mindsets they have and add them into your own behavior.

13. Surround Yourself With People, Music, or Environments That Make You Feel Good

Similar to the last point, this is about using objects, music, or people to improve your mood. This time, it’s not about finding people who are already confident to model. What you are looking for here are songs, people, clothes, perfume, funny videos, articles, quotes, wallpaper, or anything else to put you in a good mood.


This is usually has a more short-term effect on your confidence. But having a good boost is still useful because our moods can affect our behavior no matter how competent or confident we are. People are more likely to open up or be receptive to you if you are in a more positive mood.

14. Avoid Those Who Tear You Down

Just as important (if not more so) than surrounding yourself with the right people is removing negative people from your environment and lifestyle. Specifically, identify and avoid people who tear down your self-confidence. These are people who are the main culprit for imprinting a negative self-image throughout your life from childhood, even all the way into adulthood when you are really good at what you do.


A clear sign to look out for to identify these people is if they constantly make fun of you for being awful at something, call you names, or demoralize your self-esteem.

15. Fake It ‘Til You Make It

I saved this section and left it out of the body language section above because you should mainly use it for situations where your competence is already there while your confidence is not.


Faking it until you make it only works so much for people who do not have the competence to walk the walk after they talk the talk. It’s important that you get some feedback from people you can trust to give you an unbiased, honest opinion on where you stand because many people can fall into the category of being arrogant or overconfident with their levels of competence. A good friend that is always brutally honest or a peer that isn’t your friend but has observed you for over a year are good examples.


This time, it goes beyond just improving your posture from something poor to something that looks good.


You want to act more confident, smile more, have solid eye contact, and act the part of someone you consider to be confident. You don’t have to overdo it, but it may be good to think of a specific celebrity or role model, like Robert Downey Jr. to model because you get a specific idea of behaviors to model.


What’s most important here is how you approach, talk, respond to people, and keep eye contact. If you are naturally someone who has shy, fearful eye contact, practice focusing and maintaining on a single eye for a longer period of time. I recommend just a single eye because otherwise, your eyes will shift from eye to eye as you look at someone, which may give off the impression that you are uneasy.


You may think that faking it until you make it does not work at all. That’s not true. There is a degree to which it can work if you think about it. People only see what they see, especially when they just met you.


You could be a complete emotional wreck inside or completely broke, but if you walk in for the first time with an expensive suit, a smile, and a confident posture, they have no reason to believe you are not confident and successful. Again, I suggest building up the actual competence behind this so that you don’t end up a fraud or trickster (or with inconsistent confidence). But if you should be more confident, it’s a good practice.

16. Be More Present

This is definitely at play with social-related competencies and domains of confidence, but one could argue they also factor into other domains.


I was watching James Corden’s carpool karaoke video with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a highly successful band. The lead drummer said that he learned to be so engaged in his music when he heard an artist he admired say that the fullest expression of music is when you are fully present while performing.


Being present matters because you are less engaged if you are not. Whether you are chatting with someone, interviewing them as part of your job, courting a girl, giving a speech, or playing music, if you are not present, it feels weird. People feel less excited with talking to you when they can tell you are thinking of plans for the future or memories from your past.


It doesn’t even have to be the distance future. If you are thinking about what you are going to say next in the conversation “to keep the conversation going”, a girl will detect that and feel put off. She will feel unhappy that you aren’t listening to what she is saying right now about what interests her because you are ignoring her to come up with some random topic you also care little about to keep the engagement going.


Being more present helps you increase your skill at a task, which ends up improving your competence. Meditation is a great way of improving your ability to be more present.


As far as social conversation goes, try letting the conversation flow and listening more. Don’t have too many lines pre-planned. If the person you are talking to all of a sudden starts talking about soccer (which you didn’t plan for), find related connections you have to soccer and empathize with what they enjoy so much about it.


17. Do Gratitude Exercises

Happiness is a related component to confidence, especially when it comes to social skills and dating confidence. Why? Because women are genetically wired to unconsciously select for men with good mental health and happiness is a key indicator of that health.


Why do women select for this? It’s important for choosing the best mate so that their offspring have the best chance of surviving in a competitive world. The women who effectively survived over thousands of years by doing so passed this screening trait down with them.


So how does this relate to gratitude? Science has shown that gratitude has a long-enduring effect on happiness. As far as money, mansions, yachts, and sports car goes, you’ll be surprised that they have a minor effect on happiness based on scientific research.


But gratitude… that stays forever. Gratitude exercises are simply ways of expressing gratitude every day. It could be as simple as listing ten things before you wake up or taking a walk and finding three things in nature that you appreciate on your walk.

18. Exercise and Workout (Cardio and Strength Training)

Exercise is one of the main indirect ways you can improve competence and confidence. People naturally respect and admire someone who is in shape. You are given more of a chance, you are more likely to be listened to when you talk, you are seen as more attractive on a biological level. The benefits are endless.


Cardiovascular exercise is great for staying fit, preventing obesity, improving your focus, and increasing your energy levels. These indirectly improve your competence because you can use these benefits to improve your competence, whether that’s in public speaking, sports, or making more money.


Strength training is about tearing down a focused area of muscles to re-grow bigger, stronger muscles in its place. It may seem obvious, how this can help, but most people do not emphasize it at all. If you’ve been to gyms lately, you know no one shows up on weekdays. As a quick refresher, strength training can improve your physique, a clear competence trait for confidence-domains like dating, athleticism, and athletic careers.

19. Get To Know Yourself

Why is it important to know yourself? Because there are different styles and personalities that can work to come across confident and likable. You do not have to follow one set way of behaving or expressing yourself.


Women, especially, are great at detecting if you are putting up a false front because their ancestors had to in order to survive and reproduce. They are not perfect at it but they are usually better than males. And when they find out you are lying or not being yourself, it completely shuts down your chances of being viewed favorably.


This does not mean the same thing as the horrible “be yourself” dating advice you get from girls. That, of course, does not work well. Most of us throw our hands up in the air and say, “We’ve been being ourselves for decades. If that would have worked, it would have worked already.”


Instead, I am talking about knowing what type of character you are and building off of that to become a more confident version of yourself. For example, if you are the shy but intelligent archetype, you could have learned from testing in social situations that acting like the “show-off” or “sexiest man in the room” does not work well. Instead, you can try building on your ability to confidently show off your intelligence but not in an overly show-offy way.

20. Help Others Less Fortunate

The billionaire John Paul DeJoria was acted at a Genius Network event how to deal with rejection and insecurity. He said the greatest thing you can do is to help others who are less fortunate than you because you will feel the greatest sense of fulfillment and value in yourself.


When it comes to social confidence, it’s more complicated than a purely skill based confidence because it involves psychology, childhood imprints, deep memories, and self-esteem. The Ugly Duckling syndrome is just one example of this playing out. You could be highly competent in every way (rich, fit, sociable, funny, etc.) but still insecure despite the clear evidence.


This imbalance is a more internal issue than an external competence play. This is a case where you have to praise, celebrate, and value yourself. Helping others is an incredibly helpful exercise for people who feel like they do not have much value to give and have low self-esteem. It works especially well for people who really do have low value.


21. Improve Your Knowledge and Intelligence

Any form of social confidence that involves speaking to others can benefit from showing your intelligence and wisdom.


Many people do it wrong by showing it off in a way that is too brash. If everyone can tell that you are deliberately trying to make others think you are smart, it is not as effective because naturally wise people do not have to put effort into showing it off. The best way is to subtly display your knowledge through stories and experiences you add into your words every now and then.


There are many ways you can build your wisdom but the main forms are audio, video, and text. This can range from books to web articles to podcasts.


Many people falsely assume that your wisdom cannot be changed, but they are thinking of IQ, which is more focused on a measure of brain power. Wisdom is more a measure of your cumulative, practical, useful experiences and knowledge base, which can be grown by learning.


22. Become Socially Fluent

George Clooney has been known as a heart-throb for decades by women. But what makes this actor such an admired archetype of an ideal man?


One clear reason is he is never at a loss for words in his movies. He is always verbally fluent and smooth. He can navigate every social situation.


Social fluency takes practice but it can be improved. Make an effort to put yourself in more social settings with people you can practice with that are willing to talk. This could mean spending more time to chat with service workers like waitresses or volunteering in a social environment like a pet shelter.


On top of this, there are specific tips you can use to keep a conversation going, such as RMP (remind, memories, or philosophy). You can talk about what something mentioned relates to you, reminds you of, or your opinion on it.


23. Get More Organized

Your room. Your dress. How you groom yourself. These affect your state of thinking and your unconscious levels of confidence.


I used to think that the effect was minor or non-existent. Then, I showed friends my dirty pig sty of a room and felt my stomach drop. And then, I tried dressing much better and cleaning up my face and I felt so much better about myself.


These little factors add up. When I had dozens of possible reasons why I was coming off unconfident or why someone did not open up to me, I unconsciously let those affect me.


But when I eliminated factors like poor grooming by showering and styling my hair, I knew it couldn’t be because of that factor. I felt a lot more confident because the reasons I should not be confident went from a mysterious mess of reasons to zero.

24. Stay away from negative, unconfident, low self esteem people that tear you down

On top of surrounding yourself with positive people should be avoiding people that tear you down.


I used to hang around people who had toxic, irrational self-thought patterns that they would sometimes act out in their behavior. These would be belief patterns like, “I am on the lowest ladder of the social hierarchy.”


I found myself copying their behaviors naturally like always sitting at the front of the bus or assuming people would look down on me. Who you surround yourself with naturally rubs off on you in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.

25. Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

Even after getting away from negative influences, I found that their way of thinking had sometimes imprinted on me. Even several years later, I caught myself saying certain phrases I knew I shouldn’t anymore.


Telling yourself something in your head or out loud slowly re-enforces beliefs into your brain until they are hard-wired. Undoing these wires takes time but it is well worth it.


The good news is that this “snowball effect” can work in the opposite direction. If you imprint positive thoughts and optimistic beliefs over time, they will become second nature.

26. Prepare Yourself A Bit for Social Situations

A bit of preparation is always useful. This does not mean you should over-prepare and come up with long scripts of words to say. By not being in the moment and responding naturally based on what someone said, you can come off unnatural, which turns people away.


But a bit of preparation can go a long way. It does not come across fake if done in small amounts and makes you come across a lot better.


If you, for example, have a couple cool stories ready to pull out when asked, you can demonstrate funny and interesting moments of your life. This can show off your best self rather than put you in a place where you are at a loss for words and end up pulling out a boring story.

27. Speak and Act Like Confident People You Admire (But Don’t Be Fake)

Piggybacking off the “know yourself” point from earlier, find role models that align with your archetype. If you are the shy athlete, find actors or friends you admire that have that archetype that you can model.


Choosing someone you can effectively model based on your personality traits is better than choosing any role model because we are building off our strengths rather than forcibly trying to completely change our entire selves to fit another person.


Here’s an example:


I am a shy skinny nerd archetype who has the ability to morph into an extrovert if need be. I find Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory to be a similar archetype.


Now, I do not think all of his traits are ideal but I do admire his 100% confidence and pride in being a nerd and behaving on it. In moments of insecurity involving being a nerd, I will do what I think he would do in that situation.  

28. Know The Difference Between Confidence and Arrogance (And Don’t Be Arrogant)

People are usually extremely turned off by arrogance. It’s one of their number one pet peeves. A lot of street interviews (like the one I conducted) confirm this.  


Confidence works like a linear line. If you are at the beginning of this line, you are unconfident. When you get to the middle, you are confident. But then, when you pass the threshold of competence on the line, you get more and more arrogant.


Arrogance is believing you are much better than you actually are at a skill.


Years ago, I was told that confidence was the key to success with women. So I acted more and more confident, thinking that the more I had, the better. Eventually, I wasn’t acting like myself and acted super arrogant. It didn’t work.

29. Be Assertive

I’m not saying you should be an overly aggressive, overly assertive person. Like confidence, the effectiveness of assertiveness can work like a bell curve: once you hit high levels, you can perform worse.


But shy people especially fail to stand up for themselves or state opinions that they should state out of fear of rejection or disregard. By failing to have a spine for what you rightfully deserve, you fail to be an effective person.


Ineffective people are unable to get what they work for because they let others walk over them and take what they have. You have to stand up for yourself because, at some point, you will run into someone who does not have the best intentions.


About Will

Will Chou runs a personal development blog that helps people earn more and live a

more successful life based on data-driven advice from the world’s most successful people. You can visit at


Relaxation 101: How To Be Relaxed

how to be relaxed

Photo credit: Zach Betten


The driver that cut you off.


The train being delayed.


The train being canceled.


That obnoxious colleague who always makes stupid comments.


The person who is walking slowly in front of you.


I could go on…


There are too many things in the world which have the potential to get us agitated and completely throw our mood off each and every day.


If you are reading this, I take it that you recognise that you are relatively agitated and stressed, and want some help to be more relaxed.


In this resource, I am going to delve deep down into the methods and techniques that I have personally used which have helped me stay calm, cool, and collective.


So, let’s get to it!


What does it mean to be relaxed?


For me, being relaxed means thinking clearly and freely; my mind is not clouded by negative emotions and energy. Instead, I feel a sense of peace and an ability to look at events open-mindedly.


During times when I am feeling relaxed little things do not get to me. A million bad things could happen to me in that day and I would still be serene.


This is the sort of feeling I am striving to reach consistently.


Being completely relaxed and calm is not only the ability to simply to be able to let a bunch of little things go; personally, I feel it is the ability to also truly understand and appreciate the positives of these events.


The way I see it is like this:


Every day you will receive a stream of negative-based energy hitting you.


The reason I say negative-based energy is due to the events not typically being something you would associate with positive feelings, like someone yelling abuse at you, or your boss giving you way too much work which you know is going to be a challenge to achieve.


The immediate feeling that most of us have to these events are related to negative feelings, such as stress, agitation, and anger – this is completely normal.


However, something being normal does not necessarily mean it is good; personally, I have found that letting myself get dictated by these emotions tend to do more harm than good – I’m sure you can resonate with me on this.


Below I am going to detail the approach I have personally used to handle negative events in a way which allows me to not let my feelings be negatively dictated by them.


1) Recognize how destructive negative energy can be


First, let us understand what I mean by being affected by negative energy:


These are the moment when you react abruptly, irrationally, and unnecessarily to an event occurring as a result of letting yourself get emotionally controlled by it.


Prime examples of this are when we get pissed off by the person who cuts us  off on our way to work or the fact that you ran out of milk this morning.


Over the course of the day, month, or even year, we can so easily let these events build up and negatively affect our mood; it can easily get to a point where we start to project these feelings externally – this is the point where it starts to be destructive.


Multiple negative interpretations of negative-based events may lead to an internal build-up of stress and agitation which may cloud our judgment – both short-term and long-term: it may make you unnecessarily yell at your significant other or unreasonably not like someone; not because of anything they did, but due to your negative frame of mind.


Is this how you want to live life? Not only letting your mind be clouded by insignificant events which will worsen your quality of life, but also worsen the quality of life of the people around you?


I hope your answer is no; it is not a way we want to live life.


Of course, being angry at a particular event is completely understandable, but as soon as you let it start to control your base emotional state is when it simply does more harm than good.


The above really resonates with me after experiencing both the 2016 UK referendum and the 2016 US election:


I am not into politics, nor do I like to judge or criticize people for the way they think or feel about things. However, I cannot help but be fascinated by how passionate people were about, not so much irrational, but illogical arguments – immigration in particular.


In both the UK and US I watched countless people speak with such emotion about how foreigners were essentially the main issue regarding their nations.


It is not the fact that I disagree with the argument, but that you could tell that the source of their feelings came from irrational anger and other negative emotions; the sort that would develop from being emotionally annoyed that a foreigner is running your corner shop for example.


As we can see, this sort of emotional influence causes unnecessary tension and divide, between people, families, and nations.


Another issue with being so emotionally affected by negative events is that it tends to make us more of an angry and temperamental person.


A key element that impacts happiness is gratitude and appreciation. Letting ourselves get unnecessarily angry and temperamental on a daily basis will bring us away from our goals of being more relaxed and at peace with ourselves.


2) Work on letting the negative energy flow through you


By default this is a positive action – you are not letting the negative energy have a negative effect on you; instead of letting it block your emotional drain your plumbing is on point and the energy is flowing right through!


This is my base point for handling my daily dose of nonsense.


The way I neutralize this negative energy is by getting into the habit of forcing myself to take a step back and think logically about the series of events which have just occurred.


When something annoying happens I normally think to myself the following:


‘Am I really going to let that annoy me?’


‘Could I have done anything about that?’


‘What is that person thinking?’


Let’s take my favorite example: someone cutting you off for no reason.


The way I would handle this in my head is as follows:




‘Mike. Wait. First, could you have done anything about it?’


‘Well, No bu-’


‘Why let your emotions be controlled by things you can’t control?’


‘Uh, good point Mike…’


‘Also, what if that guy was rushing his dying child or pregnant wife to the hospital?’


‘Stop! Now you’re just making me feel bad…’


Those are the sort of internal dialogues I tend to have with myself in my head whenever I am thinking about getting annoyed at an event that I cannot control; it really helps me look at the situation from all angles and appreciate that looking at the event negatively is only one way to see it; there are a myriad of other interpretation which can be taken from it, many which will allow you to look at the event from a calm and neutral perspective.


The above especially applies to the third question; when you start to think what someone else is thinking, without the implication on yourself, you develop an element of selflessness and an ability to look at a balanced picture; an essential skill to reduce irrational bias.


Next time something annoying happens I urge you to follow a similar procedure; take a step back and let the peaceful and calm you (we all have one) do the talking. Think about the event from all sides and angles, recognise that it does not have to be interpreted negatively, and then strive to not let yourself get unnecessarily affected by it.


3) Convert the negative energy to positive energy


This is by far the hardest and most challenging task.


This does not have to be done to every negative event. However, when applied it may help you reach new levels of appreciation and gratitude.


For those who may not be sure what I mean by converting negative energy to positive energy let me go a bit further:


Essentially, this is building upon that third question of step 2 again: ‘what is that person thinking?’.


The difference this time is that it is not just understanding and accepting what the other person is thinking, but going that extra step and associating positives to this.


Let’s go back to the person cutting off us; we have accepted that he potentially could have been rushing his dying child to the hospital in one of the many scenarios that could actually be happening.


Let’s go that step further and hope that he is okay; let’s wish the best for him and hope everything will turn out the best for him – let us clear all negative emotion we have with them and restructure our interpretation of that event.


In regards to more personal scenarios, such as being completely overwhelmed with work, take a moment to appreciate all you do have.


This applied to me recently; I was absolutely drained by having to work quite a few extra hours and having to wake up over an hour earlier than usual… I then realized that my cousin works significant more hours as part of her standard contract than I would ever work, and gets up before that time every single day…


Taking the time to appreciate everything you do have enables you to express that gratitude and appreciation I mentioned before, as well as helping us see the bright positive side of life.


The ability to the positives out of events, no matter how naturally negative they are, is key to staying relaxed, calm, and happy – this is how I want to feel all the time.


I feel that when you are able to be in this state of mind all the time you are almost guaranteed to constantly be in a relaxed and calm state, as no matter what happens you are able to mentally see and appreciate the event from a positive angle, allowing your internal state to not only stay balanced and composed, but also be in a mode where you can project this positivity to others around you.




The most important point to remember is that being relaxed is a choice.


No one is forcing us to be annoyed, stressed, or angry at anything – it is a decision.


That being said, these are not decisions we actively tend to make. However, with some practice we can identify when we are about to make these negative decisions and use the techniques listed in this article to change our frame of mind.


Another point to remember about staying relaxed is simply not letting unnecessary things get to us. Life is too short to be constantly stressed by insignificant life events; let us spend our time and energy on the things that really matter in life.


Finally, managing to stay relaxed is a lot down to our interpretation of events. We rarely ever know the full picture of the things which annoy us; as a result we fill these gaps with preconceived assumptions.


Identifying this and taking a step back to appreciate the myriad of all the potential different outcomes will help us realise that a negative association to the event is not the only option.


I hope this resource helped shed some light on my interpretation of being relaxed.


I would like to quickly stress that by no means am I the most peaceful guy you will ever meet; I still get annoyed, frustrated and stressed. That being said, the techniques used above have really helped me make huge improvements to my base state of mind and the way I see and interpret events.


You really start to see how long you have progressed when you see someone helplessly lose their temper or act irrationally at an unnecessary event where you would have acted in a similar fashion before; you will be so thankful to yourself for taking the time to invest in yourself to make an effort to improve your emotional state.


I hope you enjoyed the article!


If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at




Do you want to know the techniques and methods I use to overcome my fears? If so, check out my 2500 word article on my personal journey to understanding, embracing, and overcoming my fears.

The Ultimate Student Guide To Bulking On A Budget


MYPROTEIN Deals – Help me release UNIGAINS Apparel!



Finally, you have decided to put on some muscle mass; you want to transform your physique, your mentality, and your life.


This is the time to make a fresh start and redifine yourself – you are no longer going to be that scrawny guy. Good.


But now you need guidance.. you’re on a tight budget, and you want to bulk – not a good mix…


Luckily for you, you’ve just arrived at the perfect guide to help you bulk whilst on a tight budget.


But first – Do you really know what a bulk is?


The first things first we need to make sure we understand is what an effective bulk is.


Sure, anyone can eat 4000 calories and ‘bulk up’ – but in reality, you are just getting fat.


 A calorie calculator (with protein requirement), a four-month bulking workout program, a body progress tracker, and a guide on how to bulk effectively is all included in my FREE UNIGAINS program.


Essentially, we need high protein and low calories – on a budget. Try this and you will soon realize that it is hard as fuck.


I have been experimenting a lot with trying to find foods which are easy to buy (can be bought from a supermarket), are cheap and satisfy typical bulking macronutrient goals.
Below is a list of the main foods which I rely on to get my protein and calorie requirements at a cheap price.


Before we start.. this is not a ‘healthy eating’ guide. The foods here are designed to fit our bulking goals, not our health and well-being. If you are expecting to see lean fillet steak and other expensive shit then you have come to the wrong place.


The foods have been analysed to make them easily comparable, and the ‘percentage of protein/calories’ is based on me; I am 163lbs, 5 foot 9, and currently I need 2800 calories and 160g protein to bulk.

SO LET’S BEGIN! In no particular order…


1. Frozen Pizza
Price per serving – £0.90-£1
Calories – 700-800
Protein – 25g
Percentage of daily protein – 15%
Percentage of daily calories – 25%
Cost per 50g protein – £1.80
Cost per 1000 calories – £1.25


I love frozen pizza – so quick to cook, easy to prepare, and no need to worry about expiry dates. Even though the calories are slightly on the higher side, I still rank it near the top of my list as it makes a great post workout meal due to adequate protein levels as well as high-glycemic carbs.


2. Baked Beans
Price per serving – £0.32
Calories – 370
Protein – 18g
Percentage of protein – 11%
Percentage of calories – 13%
Cost per 50g protein – £0.88
Cost per 1000 calories – £0.86


Beans beans good for your heart… and bloody cheap too. I was shocked when I realized just how much protein there is in beans.. like damn there is a decent amount.. and for the price too, it’s pretty fantastic. Again I love baked beans because all you have to do is shove it in a microwave and you’re done.


3. Natural Yoghurt
Price per serving – £1
Calories – 492
Protein – 32g
Percentage of protein – 20%
Percentage of calories – 17%
Cost per 50g protein – £1.56
Cost per 1000 calories – £2


Again, I was surprised when I saw just how much protein there was in natural yohurt. Convenient and simple – just shove a bit of sugar and honey/jam in there and you have another quick fixer-upper! This is one of the more expensive items on the list, but it tastes so good.

4. Eggs (4 per serving)
Price per serving – £0.33
Calories – 240
Protein – 24g
Percentage of protein – 15%
Percentage of calories – 8.5%
Cost per 50g protein – £0.69
Cost per 1000 calories – £1.38


Obviously this list could not exist without eggs. The protein content always dissappoints me, I always feel that eggs should have way more, but they are the cheapest source. And don’t be worried about cholesterol; studies have not found a direct correlation between cholesterol and heart disease. But if you still are concerned, there are plenty of other foods to choose from.

5. Frozen Fish
Price per serving – £0.50
Calories – 144
Protein – 33g
Percentage of protein – 20%
Percentage of calories – 5%
Cost per 50g protein – £0.75
Cost per 1000 calories – £3.47


One of the healthier options on the menu. I picked these up from Morrisons. Again just slap them in the oven and you’re done. The protein content is superb and of a higher quality than most others on the list. It’s a bit bland, but meh – gotta sacrifice for them gains.


6. Red Kidney Beans
Price per serving – £0.30
Calories – 250
Protein – 19g
Percentage of protein – 12%
Percentage of calories – 9%
Cost per 50g protein – £0.79
Cost per 1000 calories – £1.20


Tastes quite bland. If you find a way to make it taste good please let me know. This is another cheap source of protein with a low percentage of calories. In fact, nutritionally, this may be one of the best foods on the list for protein/carb/calorie mix… shame it tastes shit.


7. Frozen Mince Beef & Pork
Price per serving – £0.64
Calories – 600
Protein – 32g
Percentage of protein – 20%
Percentage of calories – 21%
Cost per 50g protein – £1
Cost per 1000 calories – £1.07


Surpisingly, it is 100% meat (shocking, I know). Now this is a little higher in calories, and I don’t really like the taste too much. However, if you’re struggling to chug down some calories whilst trying to get in some protein, then a slab of minced meat is the way to go!


8. Impact Whey Protein (with water)
Price per serving – £0.29
Calories – 100
Protein – 20g
Percentage of protein – 13%
Percentage of calories –  3.6%
Cost per 50g protein – £0.73
Cost per 1000 calories – £3


I left whey protein for last because I wanted to stress that whey protein is not the only protein you should rely on. Too much of anything is bad for you, especially when it is meant to be a supplement.


Try to get as much of your protein requirement as you can from proper food. I tend to keep the percentage of protein I get from whey to about 1/3 of my daily consumption; I highly doubt that too much of it is a good thing…
To summarize, here is the list of foods in order of the best price/protein ratio:


1. Eggs
2. Whey Protein
3. Frozen Fish
4. Red Kidney Beans
5. Baked Beans
5. Frozen Mince Beef/Pork
7. Natural Yoghurt
8. Frozen Pizza


Well there you have it, these are the foods which I basically live off for my protein needs.. and yes, I did leave out tuna because it is pretty damn expensive. £1 for just 20g protein? No thanks, I will just have a frozen pizza with 700 calories instead (tastes way better too).


Of course, the remainder of your carbs and calories can be filled with rice, pasta, porridge, oats etc, just make sure you are getting your protein requirements whilst not exceeding your calorie limit!




Any suggestions, comments, or questions? Ask at, or @unigains on Twitter

The Supplements You Need To Build Muscle

So for some odd reason whenever people get into fitness one of the first things that comes across their mind is ‘what supplements should I take!?’

Now, this always surprises me, because look at the name… supplement.
Supplements are meant to supplement your training… it does not mean you can’t get bigger and stronger without them.

I’m honestly so impressed with how the media and fitness industry have managed to make so many of us believe that to get a good physique you need protein shakes, creatine, pre-workout, BCAAs, and all this other stuff… but the reality is that you don’t.

Check my stats on the ‘About Mike’ page – no supplements were used apart from whey protein (which I don’t really consider a supplement).

I like to think of it like the old 80/20 rule – you can get 80% of the results with 20% of the resources.
But when it comes to supplements, I think it’s more like 95/5… sure supplements may help your progress slightly quicker and help you get that extra 5% of results, but in most instances (especially for you students out there) it may not be worth the money and effort.

And remember, supplements don’t do shit if you’re not doing the basics correctly; you have to be eating right, getting enough sleep, and working out effectively and consistently for supplements to help maximize results.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother with supplements, as I see no point in spending extra money and time buying and preparing all these things when it will only bring me slightly better results.

The only exception to this is protein shakes. I find these helpful as they are actually one of the cheapest sources of protein (a necessary macronutrient to building muscle), and therefore it only makes sense to help boost up your protein intake with them if you are struggling to get it through normal food.
That being said, I always try to get my protein intake from proper food first, before resorting to protein shakes to top it off if need be.

So yeah, instead of thinking that you need supplements to make gains, you should be thinking about the hard-work, consistency, and discipline it takes to build the physique of your dreams.

Need a good workout? Email me at