What is Confidence?

A while ago, when normality ruled. I went to see a comedy gig with a good friend of mine.  We got talking afterwards about the comedian on show.

‘I couldn’t do that.’ Remarked my friend.

Why?

Because I’m not confident enough.

Something immediately struck me about this comment; it was said with an absolute assuredness.

And yet- what is confidence? Is it how we present ourselves externally, or something deeper?

We often mistake apparent confidence for insecurity. Do you know somebody who loves to talk about where they have been, what they do for living, or how much money they have? What’s important to remember here is, who are they telling?  This is not confidence, this is ego talking borne out of insecurity.

So . . Something deeper then.  

Confidence is about trust- not the intangible and wavering feeling but in one’s own resources.

Clients will often say to me, In some ways I’m really confident and in other ways I’m shy. The key thing to acknowledge here is the self realisation that the feeling of ‘confidence’ does exist; otherwise how do they recognise it?

I put this thought to my friend.

‘Yeah, but getting up in front of people is totally different to what I do’

Well . . yes. . of course it is. However how do any us gain confidence in what we do? We learn, we make mistakes, we hone, we make more mistakes, and after a while a process starts to emerge and a trust starts to develop in our given skill and with it our confidence increases.

But that only happens once we have committed to something new, once we are prepared to get outside of our comfort zone and grow. So how do we take that first step?

We must use resources within ourselves that reinforce the feeling of trust and in turn confidence. Like driving your car. You don’t think about it consciously – you just trust you can drive the car.  If we choose to place our focus on the negative resources of our fears and doubts – like failing at an exam – we then sit inside our own mind, unable to see our strengths. 

This mindset is hardened and calcified in difficult times or when we’re watching comedians thinking  ‘I couldn’t possibly do that.’

Well, how did you get in the car for the first time?

Our sense of possibility only narrows when we don’t trust ourselves, and our confidence diminishes when we don’t acknowledge our own resources. 

Trusting your own experiences to gain confidence isn’t the preserve of the few, it is in all of us.

Is it there. It always has been, and always will be.

Whether you choose to find it,  is up to you.

If this sounds familiar then please get in touch.

I say tomato, you say tomayto.

We often see things through the narrow prism of our own experience.  Our opinion and view of the world is of course the ‘right’ way to think, and we reinforce this belief by talking to other people with similar views to our own.  The difference we see in others can lead us to thinking our view is superior or others are not as enlightened as us. We see this a lot in politics at the moment, where the word democracy means different things to different people, depending on which side of the fence you sit on.

 So who is right – you or the other person? Leavers or remainers?  Or are we asking the wrong question? It’s very easy in life to frame our thinking and attitude around external things, the paper we read, the news we choose to listen to, the friends we surround ourselves with. How often do you hear people say “I believe in this view because it was how i was brought up”.  These are all examples of a way of thinking which takes away all our responsibility for independent thought. Can we not think for ourselves?  Sometimes It’s easy and more comforting to blame the other person or the other side rather than looking within.  However, we can’t grow and move forward if we don’t have a degree of self awareness and an ability to expand thinking outside of ‘what we know.’ The key here is this – in how many areas of our life do we limit ourselves and our opportunities because we quickly decide ‘they’re not like me’ before even putting ourselves in a position to find out?

The more we listen the more we learn, and maybe if we accept our differences and enhance our similarities our lives would be more fulfilled.

If this sounds familiar, drop me an email. I’d love to help