Is Confidence Biological?


Hey guys! Kat here. I’m looking to answer whether confidence is biological or not. I’ve studied under some of the greatest thought leaders and life coaches of this time. In most cases, I’ve always thought of confidence as environmental. But there have been a few things I’ve seen over the years that have left me wondering about whether confidence is biological. So I did some research. Here is what I found.

So is confidence biological? According to new research, scientists have found a link between confidence and biology. Specific genes are responsible for higher levels of self belief. This new research suggests self-confidence is linked to your genetic makeup rather than a state of mind, how you were raised or your environment.

If confidence shows biological roots, let’s talk about the confidence gene and how do you know whether you have it? There was research done that distinguished Alleles (pronounced like “All Eels,” like from the ocean). It means two forms of the same type of gene. In one study, researchers found individuals that have one type (vs. the other) showed more innate self-confidence. If you want to read more about this you can check out my article on the research.

So how would you even know whether you have it? Well besides genetic testing, it’s gonna be tough. But I believe there may be a short cut to determining whether you have it. It’s found in some pretty old studies related to personality types.

Maybe you have heard of personality type testing. There are 4 main personality types and most people are a mixture of 2 of them, and one personality type in particular tends to be the one that most agree must have a confidence gene. They tend to be self-confident even when they shouldn’t.

Here are the 4 personality types:

  • Choleric
  • Sanguine
  • Melancholic
  • Phlegmatic

Let’s look at the key traits of each one. Maybe you can pick which one you are (or the 2 that speak to you the most).

Choleric

  • Extroverted
  • Independent
  • Decisive
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Enjoy being in charge

Sanguine

  • Talkative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Active
  • Social
  • Like being with people in crowds

Melancholic

  • Detail-oriented
  • Analytical
  • Deep-thinkers
  • Self-reliant
  • Thoughtful

Phlegmatic

  • Relaxed
  • Peaceful
  • Quite
  • Easy-going
  • Sympathetic and Caring

The one who tends have a naturally self-esteem relative to the other groups are cholerics. They are the ones who seem to have the scales tipped unnaturally in their favor. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones. They way I see it, you have at least a 1 in 4 chance to have confidence as your rogue super power, and if you clearly hail from one of the other groups, I guess you are just gonna have to work a little harder.

Consider it’s a bit like being a shorter NBA player. You have some obstacles to overcome, but it’s been done even without the genetics for the sport.

Is Confidence Learned?

So can you learn to be self-confident? Yes, in the research I have read. The researchers don’t believe that just because you are genetically not “wired” for superior confidence, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.

Other factors play a role in all this such as upbringing and environment. While you might be someone like me who easily finds themselves judging their own self-worth, you can learn to accept yourself.

Let’s also assume that if you are here reading up on self-confidence, and you have made it this far with me, your case is still quite hopeful, wink. You obviously have the tenacity to stick to something.

Is Confidence a Personality Trait?

As mentioned above, it seems that one of the four main personality types have a natural propensity to be self-confident.

I’ve read about unshakeable self-confidence, and I have to admit that if people are being honest they will let you in on a little secret. The secret is that they aren’t confident all of the time. They don’t always know if what they are doing is right. However, they may have just had positive experiences thus far, so there is little self-doubt.

I read a story in which the CEO of a company woke up often in the morning thinking she would be found to be a fraud. It’s known as imposter syndrome, and it is quite a common experience.

Is Confidence a Behavior?

Confidence shows up as a behavior for someone on the outside witnessing what’s going down. However, it often isn’t in the realm of conscious thought of the individual performing.

For insance, if you are watching a piano player, you may say he or she is a competent confident piano player, but the pianist is simply focusing on what is to be played. They are in the zone. Being in the zone to an outsider looks like confidence, but the experience of the person perfomring the action first hand is quite different.

We shouldn’t forget that we all work on a feedback system. When we were learning to walk, we learned what didn’t work as much as what did until we became proficient confident walkers.

Likewise, humans are wired for pattern recognition.

If we were cavemen and went to the lake to fetch water one day and there was a lion at the water hole, we might go back a couple of times to see if the lion is still there. If he is, there will be a point at which we no longer visit that lake because… a lion lives there.

Likewise, our behavior (when we are aware of it) is on a feedback loop. We test out our ability to be confident in different areas and stick with the ones in which we have success.

In order to make confidence a behavior in any area, we have to be willing to take action and potentially fail. If we do this often enough in the areas we feel a bit “left behind,” we can grow in self-confidence.

Remember confidence is the ability to accept circumstances and the outcome of our actions, knowing that we have enough of what it takes to handle the resulting situation whether it be positive or negative.

There is evidence to support that you can act your way into a feeling, and feeling self-confidence is often a choice. The choice itself is “confidence in action.” In order to be confident, we have to face our core fear that we aren’t good enough or don’t have what it takes.

Related Questions

Here are answers to a few other questions that I found interesting surrounding this topic

Confidence Gene – Does it exist?

We discussed above that there is some scientific research supporting gene alleles that are present in individuals who have a self-empowered outlook on life. Further, there is supporting evidence that personality types have varying degrees of inherent confidence. Read this article on confidence and genes/heredity to learn more.

But even if you don’t have the gene per se, there is something you can do about it. Look, you are here doing your research. Have faith that you will do what it takes to make the changes you want.

Can you be naturally confident?

When I think about this, I think it might be important to mention that there while you may have a natural in-born level capacity for confidence, you can become confident once you choose it.

People who are confident usually come off as if they have “natural confidence.” Often, however, confidence comes through wins in life and overcoming failures. Once you have dealt with enough setbacks in any particular area, your capacity to “weather the storm” increases. Here is how I’ve seen people deal well with setbacks and what you might not know.

Remember confidence is usually experienced or witnessed by a third party rather than a feeling someone is experiencing internally. When a football player is on the field, he’s playing not thinking about whether he has confidence to play. You’ll notice when you are carrying around natural confidence because you the question of your over-confidence or lack of confidence will virtually disappear.

Is confidence natural?

There is some indication that individuals may possess natural capacity for confidence. However, research is still quite young, and human-beings are remarkably adaptive.

Consider flexibility. All of us can become more flexible. The capacity to which we can bend may be genetically limited, but rather than looking at flexibility as either you are or you aren’t, we should consider that we can become more flexible once we focus on it.

Likewise, confidence is an area that you have immense capacity to develop. It starts with a choice follow through with a commitment to learn what it takes and you will find yourself naturally more self-confident.

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Kat Clukey

I am so glad you are here, and have chosen to spend your time reading my blog. For the past 4 plus years, I have been on an intense mission to read books, go to seminars, and generally turn myself inside out to find out why some people seem to feel good in their own skin while I've struggled with self-worth and low self-esteem most of my adult life. I hope you find insights that help you on your journey!

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