Don Draper's

psychological profile

Or Why Thinking Like Don Draper Will Make You More Confident 

Alongside Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Chernobyl, Mad Men is one of the greatest dramas ever seen on TV.  It’s lead man, Don Draper, is a stylish, devilish, and waspish character that makes the show infectious. He’s also a gent, with a supreme sense of self-confidence that gets him what he wants.

If you want to get what you want from life then you could do a lot worse than to think like Don. From knowing you’ll be alright to demanding others believe in you, this is how thinking like Mad Men’s leading man will make you more confident. 

Don knows that he’ll be alright whatever happens 

Confidence comes from within and Mad Men’s dashing Creative Director knows this all too well. If you take only one lesson from Don it’s this – remember that you’ll be alright whatever happens to you. This mindset informs everything that makes Don so confident and self-assured – from the clothes he wears to the way he speaks to people.

Of course, it helps Don that he’s in a position of wealth and power, but this wasn’t always the case – he was born Dick Whitman and became Don Draper due to an opportunity. Part of what made him the man he became in the show was the ability to erase from his mind the times when things weren’t alright. He did this by not being cowed by fears that held him back in those days. Don has a sense of morality (despite evidence to the contrary) If you were to set your moral compass in accordance with Don’s way of life then it would lead you in some questionable directions – philandering, drinking, lying, and more. But despite the evidence to the contrary, Don does have a sense of moral decency. 

Don is willing to help the people he cares about, sure. But it’s not simply that he dishes out his help to his friends and loved ones – Don does what he considers to be the right thing, whether it leads to a good or bad outcome to the person in question. 

There is one great example that shows Don’s moral compass in operation – it involves Pete Campbell Lane Pryce. When the partners are required to pay money from their own pockets to save the company, both Pete and Lane are worried about how they will source the funds. Don pays for Campbell’s share, without telling him and seeking no thanks. Lane forges Don’s signature to get his share and when Don finds out he forces Layne’s resignation.

Both of these actions stem from Don having a strategy for dealing with others – to act in the way that he thinks is right and proper, the one that’s in keeping with his sense of morality. Do the same and it will increase your confidence levels. Why? Because you’ll know that what you’re doing is the right thing to do.

Don demands others believe in him completely (all-or-nothing)

One of Don’s most famous scenes in Mad Men sees him aggressively win a pitch to Kabuki. During the conversation, Don smells opposition to his arguments so he stops the conversation: 

Don: “It’s okay, Ken. I don’t think there’s much else to do here than to call it a day. Gentlemen, thank you for your time.”

Kabuki rep: “Is that all?” 

Don: “You’re a non-believer. Why should we waste time on Kabuki?” 

In just 34 words, Don flips the pitch on his head – he turns Kabuki’s rep from a non-believer to a disciple, and he does so with an all-or-nothing play. 

It’s in keeping with both Don’s nature and how he wants to be perceived – Don’s a gambler, but we almost never see him gamble on sports or card games (he once wagers on a boxing match) and often he only bets on the things he can count on. 

This is because he has years of experience as an ad man of rare insight. Perhaps he also doesn’t believe in the value of betting systems, which is why he only opts to invest his big plays on the one thing he has total belief in: himself. 

Adopting the same strategy is risky and there will be occasions when you feel it more prudent to cede ground – and that’s the thing about strategies, it’s about using the right one at the right time. But the important thing to keep in mind is this – if you know you’re right, then make damn sure everyone else does too.
Don uses his body language to dominate social situations 
Watch Don in pretty much any social situation and one thing becomes apparent – even when he’s at the edge of a situation, he’s always the centre of attention. This means he knows that people will give him the attention he desires. How does he do it? I’ll explain. 

Don gets other people to do the hard work in social situations – he makes himself the object of their affections by teasing them with disinterest, then suckering them in when he wants to make a point. 

Getting his peers to work for his affection is a powerful emotive weapon and it’s one that you can use to your advantage by employing a couple of simple tricks – open your body out, so that you dominate the scenery and use eye contact sparingly.
Don uses style to make himself look important 
Picking John Hamm to portray Don was a masterstroke – his chiseled looks and easy smile help to add a gloss to any outfit you throw over him. But the creators of Mad Men don’t simply ride off Hamm’s looks – they give Don great style, one that oozes confidence.

Whatever the situation Don finds himself in, he’s appropriately attired – to be in control. Whether it’s a supremely cut suit, or classy casual wear, he looks the part and that gives him an allure of importance. 

Learn from Don and pick clothes that let other people know you’re important, a big deal, the most important person in any room. 


Don Draper may be a fictional character, but his confidence is 3D real. So, follow these lessons from TV’s greatest Creative Director and you too will have the self-assurance you deserve.