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Confidence Quotes

Confidence Quotes

“As is our confidence, so is our capacity.” — William Hazlitt

Welcome to my collection of the best confidence quotes.  It includes the top 10 best confidence quotes, as well as a longer, organized list of confidence quotes.

According to my dictionary, confidence is "a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers" or "the quality or state of being certain."  Let’s broaden that by rounding up related words and ideas that help us paint a high-definition picture in our mind’s-eye of the power of confidence: bold, courageous, daring, dashing, debonair, self-assured, self-certain, etc. … you get the idea.

There’s nothing like a dash of confidence to "carpe diem" with style.

Confidence is not to be confused with arrogance, although when taken overboard it can come across that way.  Instead, think of confidence as the juice to jazz your thinking, feeling, and doing in more powerful ways.  Rather than second guess yourself every step of the way, or chopping yourself down to size … put a cork in your fear, while uncorking your possibilities.

That’s where big ideas, bold action, and daring adventures come from.

Of course, like anything, there are two ends of the spectrum.  You can dial your confidence up or down, depending on what you need to be effective for your scenario.  One way to dial up your confidence is to have a handy set of pithy prose to help inspire or remind you of the confident way.  Quotes are a powerful tool, and they put the brilliance of minds like Aristotle, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, and others right at your mental finger tips.

The Wisdom of the Ages on Confidence …

If we flip through the words of wisdom from the ages and modern sages, we see a few key patterns and themes for improving confidence:

  • Flow your confidence from the inside out.  Don’t hang it from the praise or accolades or reinforcement of others.
  • Find your way forward.  Confidence is not the absence of fear, but instead feeling the fear, and finding your way forward.
  • See it in your mind’s-eye.   Picture it.  Visualize the confident you, and drink often from your fountain of images.
  • Flip the switch.  It’s like flipping a switch. It’s an emotional and mental state that you can drive from.  You just might have to turn it on.   For some, this means fake it till you make it.
  • Don’t let critics limit you.  Don’t let other people push your buttons, and know how to push your own.  Sometimes you need the critic to tell you that you can’t, to figure out that you can … but don’t become reliant on reverse psychology to make up your mind.
  • Know that confidence comes before competence.  Don’t fall prey to the "if … then" trap (If I’m competent, then I’ll be confident.")  Instead, anchor your confidence to the belief that you will get better with practice.  Expect great things from yourself and make them happen.
  • Let your confidence bloom as you do.  You might be sapling where somebody else is a sage, but don’t let their shadow overshadow you.  Simply recognize the stage you are at, and be confident in your ability to grow.  Your capacity is a powerful thing.

Scan my collection of confidence quotes and pluck out the vital few that you can add to your garden of growth.  Here is my growing garden of confidence quotes …

Top 10 Confidence Quotes

Here are the top 10 best confidence quotes:

  1. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William Shedd
  2. “Knock the ‘t’ off the ‘can’t.’” — Samuel Johnson
  3. “Life marks us all down, so it’s just as well that we start out by overpricing ourselves.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  4. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anaïs Nin
  5. “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  6. “The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  7. “They can do all because they think they can.” – Vergil
  8. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Henry S. Haskins
  9. “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” — Joe Namath
  10. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” — Henry Ford

Action

Here are the best confidence quotes on action:

  • “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.” — Baltasar Gracian
  • “Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.” — Paul J. Meyer
  • "Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it." — Stan Smith
  • Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor.” — John Haggai
  • “I think that feeling that if one believed absolutely in any cause, then one must have the confidence, the self-certainty, to go through with that particular course of action.” — Wole Soyinka
  • “I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.” — Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
  • “It is best to act with confidence, no matter how little right you have to it.” — Lillian Hellman
  • “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” — Helen Keller
  • “To win, all you need to do is get up one more time than you fall down.” — Anonymous

Boldness

Here are the best confidence quotes on boldness:

  • “A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.  Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.” — Sydney Smith
  • “All of us have wonders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them.” — Charles Dickens
  • “As long as I can remember I feel I have had this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. It is all these combined. My brain becomes magnetized with this dominating force which I hold in my hand.” — Bruce Lee
  • “Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks in great and honorable courses with a sure hope and trust in itself.” – Cicero
  • “Danger breeds best on too much confidence.” — Pierre Corneille
  • “Don’t let anyone steal your dream.  It’s your dream, not theirs.” — Dan Zadra
  • “Fortune favors the brave.” – Virgil
  • “If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.” — Tony Robbins
  • “Nothing reduces the odds against you like ignoring them.” — Robert Brault
  • “People are slow to claim confidence in undertakings of magnitude.” – Ovid
  • “The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” — Andrew Carnegie
  • “The usual channels of university studies or secretarial work did not appeal to me. I cherished difficult dreams through confidence in myself.” — Ella Maillart
  • “There can be no great courage where there is no confidence or assurance, and half the battle is in the conviction that we can do what we undertake.” — Orison Swett Marden
  • “To me, there is no greater act of courage than being the one who kisses first.” — Janeane Garofalo

Character

Here are the best confidence quotes on character:

  • “Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks.” — Joe Paterno
  • “Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.” — Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  • “Confidence is at the root of so many attractive qualities, a sense of humor, a sense of style, a willingness to be who you are no matter what anyone else might think or say …" — Wentworth Miller
  • “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” — Vince Lombardi
  • "Confidence is courage at ease." — Daniel Maher
  • “How often in life we complete a task that was beyond the capability of the person we were when we started it.” — Robert Brault
  • He who has faith has… an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.” — B. C. Forbes
  • “I was thinking of my patients, and how the worst moment for them was when they discovered they were masters of their own fate.  It was not a matter of bad or good luck.  When they could no longer blame fate, they were in despair.” — Anaïs Nin
  • “I’ve always had confidence. It came because I have lots of initiative. I wanted to make something of myself.” — Eddie Murphy
  • “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” — Charles Darwin
  • “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” — Lao Tzu
  • “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” — Tom Landry
  • “Men give their confidence at once, but never their money.” — Tristan Bernard
  • “Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” — Sophia Loren
  • “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” — André Dubus
  • “The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.” — Felix Frankfurter

Competence

Here are the best confidence quotes on competence:

  • “I don’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game.” — Tom Landry
  • "My intent is simply to know my material so well that I’m very comfortable with it. Confidence, not perfection, is the goal." — Scott Berkun
  • “Put your future in good hands – your own.” – Anonymous
  • “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” — Diane Arbus
  • “Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.” — George Herbert
  • “The big gap between the ability of actors is confidence.” — Kathleen Turner
  • “There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.” — John Calvin
  • “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” — Michael Jordan
  • “You need to play with supreme confidence, or else you’ll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit.” — Joe Paterno

Courage / Fear

Here are the best confidence quotes on fear and courage:

  • “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” — Peter T. Mcintyre
  • “Confidence is key. Sometimes, you need to look like you’re confident even when you’re not.” — Vanessa Hudgens
  • “Courage is a mean with regard to fear and confidence.” – Aristotle
  • "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." — Mark Twain
  • “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott
  • “I quit being afraid when my first venture failed and the sky didn’t fall down.” — Allen H. Neuharth
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anaïs Nin
  • “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare
  • “Self trust is the essence of heroism.” – Emerson
  • “The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.” – Anonymous
  • “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Critics / Criticism

Here are the best confidence quotes on critics and criticism:

  • “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” — Sally Field
  • “Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” — Gene Fowler
  • “Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” — Les Brown
  • “Pay no attention to what the critics say.  A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” — Jean Sibelius
  • “The more we refuse to buy into our inner critics – and our external ones too – the easier it will get to have confidence in our choices, and to feel comfortable with who we are – as women and as mothers.” — Arianna Huffington
  • “We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.” — Olin Miller
  • “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” — Lou Holtz and John Heisler

Limitations

Here are the best confidence quotes on limitations:

  • “A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.” — John Powell
  • “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” — Mary Kay Ash
  • “All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do…. Build, therefore, your own world.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours.” — Richard Bach
  • “Chiefly the mold of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.” — Francis Bacon
  • “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” — Thomas Alva Edison
  • “If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh
  • “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.” – Epicurus
  • “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” — Edmund Hillary
  • “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” – Anonymous
  • Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  • “Never dull your shine for somebody else.” — Tyra Banks
  • “No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.” — William Ellery Channing
  • “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” — Bruce Barton
  • “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” — Marianne Williamson
  • “The light of starry dreams can only be seen once we escape the blinding cities of disbelief.” — Shawn Purvis
  • Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.” — Mark Twain
  • “Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Brian Tracy
  • “Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” — Michelle Obama

Self-Confidence

Here are the best confidence quotes on self-confidence:

  • “Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.” — Max L. Forman
  • “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” — Truman Capote
  • "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." — Johann von Goethe
  • Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Confidence comes from hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” — Roger Staubach
  • “Confidence is a very fragile thing.” — Joe Montana
  • Confidence is preparation.  Everything else is beyond your control.” — Richard Kline
  • Growing up, I started developing confidence in what I felt. My parents helped me to believe in myself. I wasn’t the best looking guy, I wasn’t the best athlete in the world, but they made me feel good about myself.” — Herschel Walker
  • He who closes his ears to the views of others shows little confidence in the integrity of his own views.” — William Congreve
  • I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.” — Edgar Allan Poe
  • I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” — Anna Freud
  • I wouldn’t describe myself as lacking in confidence, but I would just say that – the ghosts you chase you never catch.” — John Malkovich
  • “If a man has been his mother’s undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it.” — Sigmund Freud
  • If you doubt yourself, then indeed you stand on shaky ground.” — Henrik Ibsen
  • “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” – Cicero
  • Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  • Perhaps a child who is fussed over gets a feeling of destiny; he thinks he is the world for something important, and it gives him drive and confidence.” — Benjamin Spock
  • “Self-assurance is contemptible and fatal unless it is self-knowledge.” — George Santayana
  • To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” — Mark Twain

Self-Talk

Here are the best confidence quotes on self-talk:

  • “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” — Mark Twain
  • “Men harm others by their deeds, themselves by their thoughts.” — Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare
  • “We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.” — Roderick Thorp
  • What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” — African Proverb

Self-Worth / Self-Esteem

Here are the best confidence quotes on self-worth:

  • “Always act like you’re wearing an invisible crown.” – Anonymous
  • “Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.” — Nicholai Velimirovic
  • “Be proud to wear you.” – Dodinsky
  • “Everybody wants to be somebody. The thing you have to do is give them confidence they can. You have to give a kid a dream.” — George Foreman
  • I am not a has-been.  I am a will be.” — Lauren Bacall
  • If I am not for myself, who will be?” — Pirke Avoth
  • "If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor.” — Nicholas de Chamfort
  • “If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” – Anonymous
  • “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” — W.C. Fields
  • “Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.” — Michel de Montaigne
  • “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” — Marie Curie
  • “Life marks us all down, so it’s just as well that we start out by overpricing ourselves.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  • “Of all our infirmities, the most savage is to despise our being.” — Michel de Montaigne
  • People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.” — Sa’Di
  • Self-love seems so often unrequited.” — Anthony Powell
  • “The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.” — Paul Tillich
  • The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” — Robert Hughes
  • The things we hate about ourselves aren’t more real than things we like about ourselves.” — Ellen Goodman
  • “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” — Sonya Friedman
  • “They are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers.” — Christian Bovee
  • Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Your problem is you’re… too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” — Ram Dass
  • “Your value is the product of your thoughts.  Do not miscalculate your self worth by multiplying your insecurities.” – Dodinsky
  • "Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself.” — William J. H. Boetcker

General

Here are the best confidence quotes that are about confidence in general:

  • “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” — David Brinkley
  • “A timid question will always receive a confident answer.”—Lord Darling
  • “Confidence … thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.” – Jack Nicklaus
  • “Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure.” — Gary Ryan Blair
  • "He who has lost confidence can lose nothing more." – Boiste
  • “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” — Lao Tzu
  • Honor bespeaks worth. Confidence begets trust. Service brings satisfaction. Cooperation proves the quality of leadership.” — James Cash Penney
  • “In the kingdom of hope there is no winter.” — Russian proverb
  • “It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.” – Epicurus
  • “It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” — Sally Kempton
  • “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence." — Joseph Wood Krutch
  • “No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” — Ansel Adams
  • “The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.” — James Madison
  • “We are like the little branch that quivers during a storm, doubting our strength and forgetting we are the tree – deeply rooted to withstand all of life’s upheavals.” – Dodinsky
  • “We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self-interest.” — Lester B. Pearson
  • “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.” — Joe Paterno
  • "Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning." — Hubert Green

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11 Comments on "Confidence Quotes"

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  1. “Don’t let critics limit you” is difficult to do, but very important. There are always critics around – whether well-meaning or not. Ignoring naysayers is something I’ve been getting better at over the years.

  2. alik levin says:

    JD,
    Don’t get me wrong – love the list here… but the pic is THE winner for me for this one. For me, tango is DA confidence at its best ;)

  3. Galen Pearl says:

    I’m with alik–the photo is amazing! This is the second post I’ve read today that reminds me of this passage in A Course in Miracles. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Inspiring quotes–I feel more confident already!

  4. Excellent quotes J.D.

    I know these types of posts take an incredible amount of time and effort to make. So thanks for doing all the hard work of finding these amazing quotes.

    Thanks,

    Bryce

  5. Dia says:

    Hi JD,

    Thanks for sharing these quotes on confidence. Quotes are designed to motivate and lift us up, this is why many love reading quotes.

  6. JD says:

    @ Vered — Dealing with critics does get easier.

    I very much appreciate a great critic, if they can offer some useful perspective or insight. Some critics truly are skilled and add a ton of valueable perspective.

    You can usually tell a great critic from a lesser one, by asking them what their solution would be. Their depth of answer can reveal the source and intent of their criticism. Lesser critics get stuck on the problem side.

    @ Alik — I really wanted to find a picture that lived and breathed the confident way. The way they Tango looks like confidence in action.

    @ Galen — That’s the beauty of confidence. It’s a feeling we can take on. Way to be.

    @ Bryce — Thank you.

    The strange thing was when I started this, I didn’t know if I could finish it. I knew I wanted to have confidence quotes organized by simple buckets to make it more useful. I couldn’t figure out useful buckets until I slept on it. Finding the buckets helped me gain a deeper lens on confidence itself. The story unfolded.

    @ Dia — I think quotes are sometimes as close as we get to a Vulcan mind meld.

  7. Evelyn Lim says:

    I rather like the picture that you have featured to go along with this post. It certainly denotes boldness and great confidence. Oh yes, true confidence is not arrogance. It comes from a place of inner strength. Thanks for including an awesome list of confidence quotes!!

  8. JD says:

    @ Evelyn — Thank you. Confidence does indeed come from a place of inner strength, and I like how the image shows boldness and confidence, in a life-loving way.

  9. Confidence is indeed one that comes from within the person, that ability to accept one’s self despite one’s flaws and weaknesses, knowing that each person matters and has something to offer to the world. Thanks for sharing these inspiring quotes!

  10. Roy Sharples says:

    Thoughtfull, well-researched and captured, JD! “Ridicule is Nothing to be Scared of!” Stuart Leslie Goddard

  11. JD says:

    @ Roy — Thank you. Great add!

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