In order to grow our confidence, we first must seek to understand what it is. It can be a hard thing to measure and it can be tough to tell sometimes whether we are making real improvements in this area of our life. Due to this, we must have a solid understanding of confidence and where it comes from. This will in tern, allow you to cultivate the habit of continual growth in this area of your life.
What is confidence?
Confidence can be summed up as as sense of reassurance in yourself. A lot of people when they think of confidence, are focusing on the externals (body language, how your voice sounds, how good your handshake is, etc.) and these things are important but they are just external factors and aren't really going to make you feel that different. What will make you feel different, is a sense of reassurance in yourself to perform a given task. This feeling of reassurance gives us a complete sense of calmness in the moment and allows us to be ourselves, which is the essence of confidence.
Why you shouldn't focus on the external:
Focusing on the external means focusing on tactics, not on cultivating confidence itself. Which will most likely lead to less confidence in a given situation than before. If we take a social situation for example, where you have just met someone new. If you choose to focus on external tactics your mind will be filled with things like "How does my voice sound?" "Is my body language good enough?" Leading to anxiety and not gaining anything positive from the interaction.
Take that same situation but this time you enter it with an overwhelming sense of reassurance in yourself. By doing this, you will find you are much more immersed and engaged in what the other person is saying. Your mind will also be more open and free to share information to whom you are talking to. Your external tactics such as your voice and body language will also be better by not focusing on them. They will be free flowing and welcoming instead of awkward and forced.
So how do we gain true confidence?
True confidence comes from experience and does not happen overnight. Everyday your life should consist of things that make you uncomfortable. This could be working out, talking to someone new, studying/working for hours etc. We all have different things that make us uncomfortable but by doing these things regularly you gain confidence in them. There is no better feeling than doing something you didn't want to do but did it anyway and felt great for doing so.