How to Be Bold

by Henrik Edberg

How to Be Bold
Image by Lisa Andres and WikiHow (license).

Note: This is a guest post provided by wikiHow.

“Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.”
Horace

If you’re shy, hesitant, or passive, you run the risk of leading a boring life marked by routine and unfulfilled goals. Most progress has been led by people who were bold–scientists, political servants, artists, and others who didn’t wait for opportunities; they created opportunities. So if you want to be bold and unstoppable, here are some ways to kick start your momentum.

1. Pretend you’re already bold.

If you were to switch places with somebody who is as bold as bold can be, what would they do in your shoes? If you already know someone who’s bold, imagine how they’d act. If you don’t know anyone like that, think of a character from a movie or book who’s daring and brave. Spend one hour a day or one day a week pretending to be them.

When you do this, go somewhere that people don’t know you and won’t act surprised when you do things that are out of character. Go through the motions and see what happens — you might discover that amazing things happen when you’re bold, and you might be convinced to carry this bold behavior into your everyday life.

2. Make the first move.

Whenever you’re feeling hesitant–especially in your interactions with others–swallow your pride and make the first move. Ask your acquaintance if they’d like to go to the bar down the street for drinks after work. Tell the person you fancy that you’ve got two tickets to a concert and you’d like them to come with you. Give your significant other a big hug and apologize for that time you overreacted a few months ago. Smile and wink at the attractive cashier.

3. Do something unpredictable.

What could you do that would completely surprise the people who know you? Wear high heels? Skydive? Take a dance class? Bold people aren’t afraid of trying new things, and one of the reasons they’re so exciting to be around is that they keep you guessing.

You can start small, perhaps by wearing a color or style of clothing that you don’t normally wear, or visiting a place you normally wouldn’t visit. Eventually, you may get to the point where you entertain ideas that make other people’s eyes widen when you mention them (“Are you serious? White water rafting?” or “You’re kidding me. You want to buy that restaurant on 3rd Street?”).

4. Ask for what you want.

Rather than wait to be recognized for your efforts, or expect someone to consider your needs, step right up to the plate and ask.

Some people feel that asking for things is greedy, selfish, and rude — and it is, if you’re asking for something you don’t deserve. But if someone is withholding something that you’ve rightfully earned, they’re the ones being greedy, selfish, and rude.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? They say no. Life goes on.

  • Ask for that promotion or pay raise you’ve been waiting (and working) for.
  • Ask for a discount. A little haggling can go a long way. The phrase “What can you do for me?” is an easy and powerful way to save money.
  • Ask to have your credit card’s annual fee waived.
  • Ask a relative, friend, or even a complete stranger for help or advice.
  • Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what is expected of you.

5. Take risks.

There’s a difference between being reckless and accepting risks. Reckless people don’t accept risks… they don’t even think about them. A bold person, on the other hand, is well aware of the risks, and has decided to go through with the decision anyway, ready and willing to accept the consequences if things don’t work out.

Think of an athlete who takes risks every day. Are they reckless? No. It’s a measured risk. You might make a mistake; we all do. But inaction can be a mistake as well, one that leads to emptiness and regret. For many people, having taken risks and fallen flat on their faces was far more fulfilling than having done nothing at all.

Likewise, don’t confuse being bold with being aggressive. Aggressiveness often involves imposing your viewpoints or actions on others. Boldness has nothing to do with the people around you; it’s about overcoming your fears and taking action.

Remember that while there’s power in taking on something new, there’s also a greater chance of failure because of your lack of experience. Embrace the failure; it’s not the opposite of success, it’s a necessary component. The opposite of success is sitting still.

6. Rediscover who you are.

Ultimately, boldness has to do with coming from your center, what you believe. It is not about what you do, it is about who you are. If you do not know who you are, you can never be truly bold.

Start really appreciating your uniqueness. Discover what makes you different and then parade it around for all to see. Put flags on it, call attention to it and love yourself for it no matter what others think. That is the heart of boldness.

This guest post was provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Be Bold.  All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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{ 12 comments }

Eric Twitty - The School of Success November 24, 2008 at 10:08 pm

“Embrace the failure; it’s not the opposite of success, it’s a necessary component. The opposite of success is sitting still.”

Too many people are afraid to try something different and take action because of their fear of failure.

Great article.

Alice Stewart November 24, 2008 at 11:40 pm

I have lived like this for the last 15 years and it’s worked GREAT for me. I am normally a shy person, fearful, and I don’t get out much. I never liked those things about myself so way back when I decided to do one thing that I was afraid of each week. I did one thing a day to embarrass myself to get over stage fright. If I have a valid reason to be fearful, then I let it go, but if I don’t then I do it. I have been all over the world now, working in jobs I never thought I could possibly do 20 years ago. I’ve become the person I’ve wanted to be. Which isn’t to say I don’t have a lot of work to do. Perish the thought! And it isn’t to say that I’ve succeeded each time. I haven’t! Failed miserably. But I tried and now it makes a good story. Failure stories are so much better than success ones when you’re hanging out with people. Really!

Matt Caldwell - 15 Minutes to Riches November 25, 2008 at 1:14 am

Great find! This is something that used to hold me back… but now, I realize just how important it is to get over shyness or whatever it is that may be impeding your progress. Thanks for this reminder.

Mike King November 25, 2008 at 5:13 am

Nice points and article Henrik! I like the last step of discovery. I think a lot of people look to be bold in ways that they just are not. However, if you look deeper and find the things you are passionate about, there are always ways to be bold with that. It’s far easier than trying to bold at something you don’t really value. That to me is an important part of stepping outside that comfort zone and looking for new ways to branch out. Start somewhere you want to!

Chris Edgar November 25, 2008 at 8:19 am

Thanks for this post. I especially like Point #6, which I read as saying that your ability to be bold, confident or whatever we want to call it really stems from your relationship with yourself. If you’re willing to accept yourself regardless of the setbacks and difficulties you face in the outside world, you’ll be more able to take worthwhile risks. — Best, Chris

Michael | Go Success Now November 25, 2008 at 11:43 am

Being bold is always the answer if you want to achieve something in your life.Being bold. That is where it all starts.
To win the game, you first must be bold enough to play it.

LifeMadeGreat - Juliet November 25, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Hi

Yes, you’ll never improve your life if you don’t do something different. And with human beings, fear often accompanies change.

Sometimes it’s good to look at why it is so difficult for you to be bold and then work on those areas that are limiting you. It could be a specific fear or a belief that is no longer useful.

Juliet

sunlite November 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Really great blog.
I recently worked up the courage to ask for a deserved raise,after6months of deliberation.
I do not know if i will get it, though I know I desrve it.
But i feel much better judt for having popped the question, so to speak.

Been thinking of dance classes for past year and a half, but still not got aound it!
Well as they say -step by step

thanks again for the blog

bluerose December 10, 2008 at 2:49 pm

great post.very inspirational.i especially like the part on doing something unperdicatble.

sree July 24, 2009 at 8:07 am

Wounderful article ,
I’m really going to follow ur advice.

Kemutologist January 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I used this article to compete in inter-school public speaking competition here in malaysia and you know what, I won that competition. Thanks to the author for this great article.

hermes handbags July 8, 2010 at 5:05 am

Really great blog.
I recently worked up the courage to ask for a deserved raise,after6months of deliberation.
I do not know if i will get it, though I know I desrve it.
But i feel much better judt for having popped the question, so to speak.

Been thinking of dance classes for past year and a half, but still not got aound it!
Well as they say -step by step

thanks again for the blog

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