Mary Kay Ash instructed her salespeople, "Fake it 'till you make it." She meant if you act as if you have already achieved something, eventually you will achieve it. So if you act as if you are confident, eventually you will become confident.
This has been confirmed many times and by many people. Walter Anderson, who wrote the book The Confidence Course, says: "If you act as if you're confident, even though you may not feel sure of yourself, your confidence will grow. If you firmly fix the image in your mind of the person you'd like to be, you will begin to become that person."Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali confirmed this. He said: "To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are."
George S. Patton, the famed World War II general, employed the same techniques. In World War I, Patton was a young, 29-year-old colonel leading the first American tanks ever built against the Germans in France. Patton wrote his wife that every day he practiced in front of a mirror looking absolutely determined and confident. He called this his "war face." He maintained that this look helped his troops and gave them the confidence they needed to face the Germans. Until I read that, I had always assumed that Patton was just naturally confident in everything he did. However, there is little doubt that acting as if you have already achieved perfect confidence, even if you are a little uncertain, will eventually make it so.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was asked how he managed to lead New York City out of the tragedy of 9/11 after so much destruction and death. He responded, "I used Churchill to teach me how to reinvigorate the spirit of a dying nation. . . . During the worst days of the Battle of Britain, Churchill never stepped out of Downing Street and said, 'I don't know what to do,' or 'I'm lost.' He walked out with a direction and purpose, even if he had to fake it.