Here's Why Confidence Is More Important Than Being Smart or Talented

The older I get, the more I discover that talent, knowledge, and skill really aren’t the deciding factors to success in life. Everything is about confidence. We like to think of life as a meritocracy, where you work really hard and the people who are the best rise to the top. Haha! Such a cute idea. Really adorable. Not accurate at all. In real life, most people get ahead because they’re born ahead, by being rich and well-connected. They have a lot of confidence, because why wouldn’t they? Life has been working out well for them from the second they popped out. Anyone else who wants to get ahead needs to find a way to muster the confidence of those silver-spoon babies. Confidence is more important than being smart or hard-working, and here’s why:

1. Most people aren’t good at what they do

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One of the saddest things I’ve learned as I’ve grown up is that most people aren’t good at their jobs, the thing they're passionate about, or the things they think they’re really good at. I used to think that comedians had to be supernaturally hilarious people. Then I met a bunch of comedians and found out that a lot of people pursuing comedy as a career aren’t funny at all. That gave me the confidence that I could pursue comedy even if I wasn’t very funny. You don’t need to have some extraordinary talent. If you want to pursue a dream, just do it. You’re going to be better than plenty of other people who are going for the same thing. Someday you could be a successful talentless hack, too!

2. Donald Trump is going to be President

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No matter what your political affiliation is, the simple fact is that Donald Trump does not have any political or government experience. He didn’t supply the public with specifics for his policy ideas. He just said he had really good ideas, and that people should trust him. And 62 million of them did. Donald Trump got the biggest job in the world through confidence. So whether you like him or not (and believe me, I do not), he’s proof that the key to success is talking a big game.

3. You have to market yourself

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Everything in life is about marketing. Let’s say you have an interview for a job, and you're extremely qualified and you're up against someone whose qualifications are lacking. But in the interview, you're self-conscious and don’t do an effective job explaining why you’ll be great, while your competitor makes themselves sound fantastic. Sorry, but you aren’t getting the gig. You have to be able to sell yourself. Branding is everything these days, and confidence beats competence basically every time. I’m not saying this is how life should be, but unfortunately, it’s how life is.

4. Studies show that confidence makes you more attractive

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Being attractive isn’t just about facial symmetry and body proportions. A lot of it is confidence. A study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that men who felt more confident when wearing cologne were rated more attractive in photographs when they were wearing the cologne. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself is going to make you more attractive to others. So wear clothes that make you feel good, take the time to do your hair or whatever makes you feel beautiful. Don’t worry about what others think, just about what you like. And the confidence that inspires in you will actually make you hotter.

5. Confident people are less likely to get discouraged

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Everyone is bound to fail sometimes. You’ll lose a game, get a bad grade, get dumped, get fired. For people without a secure bedrock of confidence, those setbacks can make them unwilling to try again. Confident people believe that they’re awesome and they’ll eventually succeed, so they keep trying. And the more times you try to achieve a goal, the more likely you are to succeed — it’s just probability. Lots of life is just luck and chance. Confident people keep taking those chances because they believe they'll eventually succeed. Less than confident people give up and go home. So even if you’re a talentless, unlikable hack, just keep trying and you may eventually succeed at achieving your wildest dreams that you’re totally unqualified for.

Do you agree? How do you work on your confidence? If you have any good tips, let me know on Twitter @erikaheidewald!