We are all attracted to confident people. We fawn over the powerful entrepreneur who can win over employees, investors and the public through sheer force of personality. Sometimes it can be difficult to identify with these confident people, especially if we struggle with self-doubt. But confidence is one of the key traits for success in any adventure. You must believe in yourself before others will join in. Surprisingly, the easiest way to build your confidence is by changing your perspective.


One of my best buddies earned an MBA. One of his assignments during this process was to get five people to say no to him. This is brilliant because it immediately separates the confident people from the doubters. I will admit I have long been a self-doubter. When he first told me about this assignment I figured it would be incredibly easy. Everyone is ready to say no. The reality was much different.


As it turns out people are much more willing to say yes than you would imagine. For example, he called his cable provider and demanded to receive free HBO. He anticipated a quick no. However, they responded with ‘sure, we’ll throw that in.’ This result repeated itself many times. He began to realize just how much opportunity we all leave on the table, simply because we don’t ask for it.


Yes, eventually people said no and he passed his assignment. But even within those no’s there is a new phase to the confidence evolution: realizing no is not a final answer. Everything is negotiable. The impact of this perspective change can be quite significant. It can turn you into a much more optimistic person. Understanding that you have more influence in the outcome of situations, is empowering. Of course, you might not always successfully negotiate a higher salary or a lower price but you will know you exhausted all options, which will create greater inner peace. Additionally, each one of these negotiations sharpens your game, which means you’ll be better prepared in the future. So don’t balk at any opportunity to negotiate, even if it seems small. There are always lessons to learn.


Now you may be like me who long believed these type of mindset was a waste of time and more hassle than it is worth. This might be true at times but, again, this must be viewed as a step toward changing your perspective more than a tactical exercise. By simply negotiating you are validating your self-worth. You’re going from ‘I’m lucky to have anything and well, this has already been decided’ to ‘I am good at what I do and I have earned more and I have the ability to influence this outcome.’


That is a strong perspective reversal and one that reeks of confidence.