Memory training expert, memory keynote Ron White, would like to share with you this very important lesson I learned about self-esteem from former U.S. Navy Seal, T.C. Cummings.

You may think ‘What Shirt Are You Wearing’ is a strange beginning to an article on self-confidence. Are we learning how to ‘Think Like A Navy SEAL’ or fashion? What roles does fashion play in boosting confidence?

I was having a particularly bad day a couple weeks ago and when I told my friend and mentor, former Navy SEAL T.C. Cummings this he asked, “What shirt were you wearing?” I was taken aback for a minute and then asked, “What do you mean?” He replied, “What you had on reflected how you felt that day, and that is what the people you were speaking to took away. What did your t-shirt say?” “I actually couldn’t remember, but it definitely gave me something to think about.

Do you look at the clothes you wear and actually think of the impression others will get from the clothes you wear?  Like it or not, people judge you on the way you look. If your clothes are wrinkled or dirty they see you as unmotivated and uncaring. If your shirt has a negative message, or profanity, people see you as a rebel. If a woman wears her skirt too tight or too short, is she trying to attract men or use her sexuality because she is unsure of her ability?

Good or bad first impressions are immediately made about you based solely on the clothes you wear and your personal grooming habits. You convey important clues about your personality and attitude about yourself through how you appear. Your appearance shows the importance you place on yourself; the people you are meeting; your work or employment; your education level; your income or social status; and your morals.

Most importantly, for this lesson, is to understand that your personal feelings about yourself are tied in to your personal grooming and clothing habits, and they play a HUGE role in boosting our confidence. When we look good we feel good about ourselves, which results in more confidence. You carry yourself differently, and you interact with people differently. When you know you look good you can sell anything!

People trust those who have a positive self-image. What are you saying about yourself? What do you want to say? Do you want people to see you as competent and knowledgeable, or haphazard and depressed? What you wear brings value to who you are.

Take a step back and remove yourself from your comfort zone. It’s fine to wear sloppy t-shirts when you are relaxing at home, but when you are trying to make a sale or teach a lesson you want people to think you are competent, knowledgeable and someone to be trusted? Ask a trusted friend or loved one to help you if you are unsure about what looks good or bad on you. Tell them to be brutally honest, because it is helping you to become a more confident person. If necessary, do a makeover of yourself or go to a professional (Who won’t be afraid to be brutally honest!)

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” He was a bit of a ‘dandy’ in his day, but he did realize that the clothes make the man, or woman. He knew that what we wear transmits powerful signals and that you always want to assess what your message is before you go out in public.

I don’t profess to be an expert on fashion. I like a T-shirt with a message. Just make sure the message is what you want people to take away after meeting you. Your clothing and grooming teaches people how to treat you! “Is what you wear who you are?” While it may be true that what you wear doesn’t define you as a person, what you wear is a reflection of who you are, so choose wisely.

When T.C. asked me “What shirt were you wearing?” I never considered how powerful that statement was. I now make a conscious effort to portray the message I am trying to put out in the clothes I choose to wear. It’s amazing how important, and often neglected, this point, actually is!

You will find lessons in building confidence in the training CDs “Mind of a Navy SEAL,” and in our training “Think Like A U.S. Navy SEAL” workshops.




“Mind of a U.S. Navy SEAL” workshop

Wikkipedia – Confidence:

MSN Lifestyle – What Your Clothes Say About You:

Tell It Like It Is – What Your Clothes Say About You: