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The Confidence Code

The Science and Art of Self-Assurance: What Women Should Know

By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
15-minute read
Audio available
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance: What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

The Confidence Code explains how, in comparison with men, women lack confidence. It also explores the impact such lack of confidence has on women in various spheres of life, especially the business world, and offers advice on how women can increase their confidence.

  • Women who want to increase their confidence
  • Parents of young girls who want to nurture confidence in them
  • Women who want to go far in business

Katherine Kay is a journalist and anchor for BBC World News America in Washington, DC. Claire Shipman also is a journalist and correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America. In addition to The Confidence Code, together they also co-authored Womenomics.

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The Confidence Code

The Science and Art of Self-Assurance: What Women Should Know

By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance: What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Synopsis

The Confidence Code explains how, in comparison with men, women lack confidence. It also explores the impact such lack of confidence has on women in various spheres of life, especially the business world, and offers advice on how women can increase their confidence.

Key idea 1 of 9

Confidence is the bridge between thoughts and actions.

How often have you looked back on conversations or opportunities in your life and thought “I wish I had said/done that”? Perhaps it wasn’t even a big deal, but something small that was within your power to achieve, yet you didn’t feel confident enough to try it.

Most of us have felt this way a number of times throughout our lives.

Unfortunately, if we lack confidence, we prefer to stay inactive, and, sadly, this seems to be particularly pronounced for women.

Confidence means having enough belief in our own abilities that we become active. Lack of confidence, therefore, means being uncertain of whether our efforts will be successful – an  uncertainty that makes us scared to even try.

A clear example of this can be seen in an experiment by professor Zach Estes, who had students solve complicated puzzle tests. At first, it appeared to Estes that the male students had performed better than the female students. But, on closer inspection, Estes saw that many of the women had left a lot of the questions unanswered.

So, Estes asked the students to retake the test and, this time, to make sure they answer every single question. The result? The women performed just as well as the men.

But why did the women choose to not even attempt an answer to many of the questions? The central problem was the women’s lack of confidence: they preferred to leave a blank space rather than risk giving the wrong answer.

In this situation, having confidence would have made them take the leap and try.

But what if optimism played a role, rather than confidence?

Well, optimism – the attitude that everything is going to be okay – is different to confidence, which refers to taking action. Being optimistic does help, though, as it can lead to action which improves confidence.

We know then, that confidence in our abilities is crucial towards becoming doers. Now we will explore how our confidence levels often differ, depending on our gender.

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