The confidence conundrum

Most people are not as good at their jobs - or at many other things - as they think they are, and the thriving self-help industry merely encourages their delusions. Here's some pointers to those seeking genuine self-improvement.

by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

The last time I checked, a Google search on confidence produced over 250 million results. Of those that I surveyed, not all were related to self-confidence, but most did focus on some aspect of self-help, such as boosting self-esteem, self-belief or self-love levels - with the underlying assumption that doing so will make us happier, healthier, wealthier, and more attractive.

In line with this, publication of self-help books has more than doubled in the past three decades, and the wider self-help industry (which also includes DVDs, podcasts, and seminars) is now worth an estimated £7bn.

And yet, there is actually very little evidence that one can deliberately boost one's self-confidence, let alone that it is beneficial to do so.

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