How To Be A Confident Researcher

Confidence is never really taught to any of us. It is always assumed that we know how to be confident. Before walking into an interview for a new position or walking into a test venue to write an exam, we’re always told by our peers and mentors “be confident”. Unfortunately, there is no easy way of becoming a more confident person. Confidence is definitely a result of years of morale-affecting circumstances and situations that either make a person more positive about a situation, and therefore more likely to expose these emotions to the people around them, or increasingly negative.

Our definition of confidence is that it is a positive mood development that occurs when someone knows that they are good at something, and their emotions and attitudes are positively affected. This shouldn’t be confused with arrogance, which is the belief that you are better than everyone else around you. Much like any emotion, ‘confidence’ is difficult to define, and each person experiences the emotion differently. However, as researchers, it is important that we identify with the emotion so that we can benefit from it, and recreate such emotions to help us with our work.

So how do we become more confident researchers? Many papers have been released on the study of confidence, and how confidence levels are managed, maintained and developed. Many researchers emphasise the importance of exercise for confidence building. It is crucial that, as researchers, we break away from our work and put our bodies through physical exertion. Being fit helps with circulation, ensures concentration, and builds a positive mood. This, in turn, increases our confidence levels.

Confidence is also reliant on the amount of planning and preparation we put into our work. If we plan properly and set ourselves attainable short-term goals, then we naturally feel that we are ready for the task at hand. This is the best confidence booster. Make sure that you always create daily tasks that you can attain with a bit of hard work. It will push you that much harder, and in turn, boost your confidence levels.

We’re actually lucky that our work involves research because this can become a confidence booster in itself. How? Well, confidence is also derived from how well we know something, or how well we do something. If a soccer player is talented in the sport, it becomes his profession. Because it is his profession, he plays more soccer, gains more experience, and therefore becomes an even better player, boosting his confidence. It is the same case with regards to our research. The more research we do regarding a topic, the more we specialise in the topic, and therefore the more authoritative we become regarding that topic. This authority creates positivity.

So, with that being said, we can only encourage researchers to plan more often, break away from the books and computer screens occasionally for some PT, and continue research within the field that they are passionately interested in.