3 things you can do in your spare time to boost your confidence.

TED-Ed brings us 3 science-backed tips to become a more confident person.

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it," wrote J.M Barrie.

That line — appearing in the 1902 "Peter Pan" precursor "The Little White Bird" — is a perfect look at the power of confidence. "The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings," Barrie continued.

And while the latter part of his quote isn't exactly scientifically sound, it's not without merit.


For more than a century, we've remained fascinated with the story of Pan — the boy who never grew up, who lived without doubt. His is a story of pure, unfettered confidence. In a way, we all aspire to live a life so sure of ourselves.

A program from the first production of Barrie's "Peter Pan," staged February 1905 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

There are some major benefits to having confidence, and there are proven methods to boost it.

There's a saying that "confidence breeds success." But does it?

Science actually backs this up to a reasonable extent. Confidence can play a big role in how much success you experience in the workplace, in relationships, and even in your health. So let's take a look at how to get there.

If we can learn to fail, we can learn to succeed.

And no, I'm not about to push some "power of positive thinking" type tips nor am I going to tell you to run out and pick up a copy of "The Secret." Instead, let's take a look at some science-backed suggestions to becoming a more confident version of yourself, based off of a video from the people over at TED-Ed.

GIF via TED-Ed.

1. Give yourself a quick confidence boost by striking a "power pose."

Did you know you that something as simple as striking a powerful, confident pose can trick your brain into actually feeling more confident? Well, it can. Really.

Try this: Next time you're feeling nervous about something — like a job interview, for example — try taking a couple minutes right before and adopting this pose: Stand straight up, push your shoulders back and chest out, and place your hands on your hips.

Now THAT'S a power pose. Photo by iStock.

Studies have shown that this pose can lead to a short-term increase in confidence and reduction in stress. How does this work?

“Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves. Our bodies change our minds," said Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy in a 2012 TEDGlobal talk.

2. Convince yourself you have the ability to improve.

Now, this sounds like one of those "easier said than done" type suggestions, but it's actually not. Think about the things in your life you can't change and those you can. You can't change your eye color or your height, for example, but you can change your physical strength through training.

Photo by iStock.

Ask yourself if your goal is something you have the power to improve upon (even if improving might be really difficult). Is your goal to become a better public speaker? That's something you can improve upon. A better interviewer? That's a skill that can be honed. Have more upper body strength? With training, that's possible, too.

What you'll find is that there are very few things in life truly set in stone. We all have our own limitations, but as long as we can remind ourselves that we're not stuck, we have incentive to stay motivated.

3. Fail. Get up. Try again. Repeat.

You're going to fail, and that's a given. What matters much more than whether or not you fail is how you react to that setback. Do you get up? Do you regroup, come up with a new strategy, and try again? Or do you just throw in the towel?

Take a look at Michael Jordan, for example. He's a six-time NBA Finals champion, five-time Most Valuable Player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and 2009 inductee into the basketball hall of fame. To many, he's considered the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball.

Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time but also a huge failure. Photo by Tim DeFrisco/Allsport/Getty Images.

But he's also someone who's experienced a lot of failure. Check out this voiceover from a 1997 Nike ad.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." — Michael Jordan

By the time Jordan's career finally came to an end in 2003, his missed shots totaled more than 12,000. Few of us will ever be as good at anything as Michael Jordan was at basketball. We will all fail. But do we get up? Do we try again? That's up to us.

If we can learn to fail, we can learn to succeed.

TED-Ed put together a great video with variations on these three tips you can check out below.

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


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Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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