What if I told you there is something you can do right now that will help you to be more happy and confident?
Firstly: no, I’m not selling anything. This won’t cost you a penny unless you decide to buy something.
First, let’s talk about the link between happiness and confidence. For me, these two are inextricably linked: when I feel happy, I feel more confident. And when I feel confident in a situation, I feel happy. It’s hard to feel happy if you don’t feel confident, and it’s hard to feel confident if you don’t feel happy.
Not the most scientific explanation, but there you go. If you’re more into science, here’s an article from Psychology Today about how happiness can lead to confidence.
The simple thing you can do right now to feel more happy and confident
Are you ready for this? The one thing you can do to instantly feel more happy and confident is to do something kind for someone else.
Yes, I know. It sounds too good to be true; it sounds a bit do-gooder and not something you would immediately think of. But this really is one of those don’t knock it until you’ve tried it things.
Being kind makes you feel good
I found this out by accident a couple of years ago. It was the anniversary of my dad’s death, and I was feeling really rubbish. A few other things in my life were not going well, and I was feeling really sorry for myself. I walked into town to buy a coffee, and around the corner from the coffee shop I saw a homeless man leaning against a wall. He wasn’t begging, but he did look like he could use a coffee. If my dad were here, I knew he would buy the man a coffee so I figured perhaps I should instead. I bought him a large coffee and a pastry, and when I gave them to him I found that actually, now I felt pretty good – about myself and in general.
At the time I wanted to post on social media to tell people about how great it can feel to do something nice for someone – but I didn’t want to do the whole Look how great I am, buying coffee for homeless people thing so I kept quiet. Actually, I think this works better if you do keep quiet about it.
If you do something kind and then post about it on social media, it can lose a bit of that good feeling – because then it becomes something you’re boasting about. Your motivation can be questionable – Am I doing something kind to be nice to someone else, or am I doing it to look good on social?
Doing something nice and then keeping quiet about it can have this compound effect where you know you’re not doing it just for the likes. When you do something kind and you know nobody else will ever find out about it, it feels even better.
Random acts of kindness
Many years ago I read Join Me by Danny Wallace. It’s about how he decides to start his own cult, based on the premise of performing random acts of kindness on a Friday, so as to accrue good karma for the weekend. This idea sounded great to me, and I began bringing sweets and other treats into work with me on a Friday. I would sneak onto other floors of the building and leave sweets in break areas with a note saying Help yourself and have a happy Friday. Sometimes I would post random packages of sweets and gifts to my friends too. I enjoyed it, but eventually fell out of the habit. Also, in hindsight I don’t think it’s advisable to perform acts of kindness with the idea of getting something (good karma or something else) in return. It really only works if you do nice things for people without expecting anything in return.
Finding ways to do nice things for people
You don’t need to spend money to do something kind for someone. Hold a door open; help them with their shopping; pick up something they’ve dropped. Of course, if you want to spend money you could buy a coffee for a homeless person, or pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the queue at a coffee shop.
Once when I was walking through town minding my business, a teenage boy came over with a multipack of sweets and offered me a bag. I asked why he was giving out sweets and he told me:
We feel like we’re so lucky to have the things we have in life, we thought we’d share that with others.
How amazing is that? He felt good giving out the sweets, and once I’d heard his reason for doing so I felt pretty good too.
What are you waiting for?
I challenge you to try this out for yourself, and see how it makes you feel. Do something kind for someone else every day for a week and see how good you feel at the end of it!