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Is Confidence Inherited?


Confidence is a characteristic many people wish to possess and hold to high regard. We associate it with success and often consider it attractive in future friends, partners and colleagues. It also remains a quality hard to describe and ascribe to ourselves, or others. There’s no quick route to confidence. It seems so difficult to acquire, that people often wonder if it’s simply something you’re simply born with, we examine how true this may be.

Nature vs Nurture

The genetics behind confidence can be broken down to particular genes and the hormones they trigger the release of. Depending on certain levels of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, your propensity for confidence can be determined. Too high levels can make you over-relaxed and uncaring for how you come across, too low will make you anxious and, in extreme cases, hostile. Genetic blueprints can provide good information towards conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders, and can generally be remedied with appropriate medication. However, confidence as an attribute is not reliant on your chemical make up. You can be confident and not be so hormonally affected by certain situations. How your parents or environment encourages you to develop has as much an effect as the genes given to you.

Self-confidence and IQ

Research has suggested that your levels of intelligence are interlinked with your levels of self-confidence. When thought through logically, the more intelligent you are, the more self-aware you are likely to be. [How self awareness can improve your relationships] Whilst being intelligent is often seen as an attribute to be proud of, it can result in being overly self conscious and lead to low self-esteem. It is commonly the case that depression and nihilistic beliefs are found in people of above-average IQs. However, it remains that levels of nature rely on nurture to create the outcome. IQs after all can change with increased education and interaction with different learning tools and methods and the brain is ‘plastic’ whereby imprints upon it can alter its chemistry so it is not entirely fixed. Biology is a foundation, not a destiny.

How confidence can change

Regardless of the heredity of self-confidence, it remains adaptive dependent on social environment. [Grow your self confidence] You can, essentially, construct a confident self despite what genetics says. As well as being made to feel less confident by others, you can take responsibility to be more confident than others in your life. Self-affirmation and self-monitoring can help you to improve your confidence in varying situations, from public speaking to performance at work. By keeping track of progress, repeating new habits and taking the time to assess yourself, you can be motivated to move forwards. Video Moods (available to our premium members) provides a series of bite sized clips to help build your confidence empowering you regularly and privately whenever you need it.

Try not to view confidence as the unattainable. Confidence is not a talent, nor is it passed down in the genetic lottery. Nature can only dictate dispositions to confidence. It doesn’t decide for definite whether you can be confident or not. If you feel a lack of confidence is holding you back, don’t be afraid to seek medical help. Speak to one of our CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) coaches, this approach is often used to address thought processes which contribute to low self-esteem. Confidence is there for anyone to claim if they try.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.