In this post, you’ll get a few ideas on when to feel confident and when not to.
We live in a time in which the inner workings of any one’s mind has come from irrelevant to almost as if not even more important than one’s health. There is definitely some seed of truth on this concern about one’s mindset since just like with gossip that is unable to survive when only based on lies. Some truth is vital. So kids are raised with more and more attention being paid to the self-esteem, and self-confidence of the ones being raised by the now worried and concerned parents of the latest new future.
Among the biggest concerns of the parents of today, the problem of confidence in their kids is one of the biggest. So much so that more and more parents go overboard to the point of never criticizing their children. Which instead of correcting the problem, it overcorrects. Overcorrections like overdoes of medicine might solve our initial problem, but often bring with them side effects.
The overcorrection here is that instead of new adults not sure of themselves, what we now have are new adults who are overconfident about themselves with no reason whatsoever to back it up. When on the first the problem we have leaders not energetic enough to bring to life new and great ideas resulting in a universe of back to back innovations, on the second the problem we face is that of recklessness which might be driven enough to build, but that can be just as energetically reckless to destroy. If on the near past the silver bullet was to build up a person by beefing them up with positive and confidence promoting compliments, now a more careful approach might be what’s needed. Now the question is: when is it ok to be/feel confident?
When to feel confident
The time we live in is that of new rules. Behave confidently at the wrong time and you risk being called arrogant. Be caught being humble at the wrong time, and people start to put to question your intelligence and skills. Do the above at the right time and don’t be surprised if you build a following over time. The answer to this question is difficult for the simple fact that it’s based on context. Meaning, the context of the moment of confidence demonstration. Below are a few tips that might shed some light on when exactly to demonstrate that sense of confidence we’re all familiar with and want for ourselves, as well as when to put your head down.
When you have attained mastery in a field
The thing about feelings or demonstration confidence is that it’s often difficult to really know when you earned them. Just because a person close to us tells/told us we deserve it doesn’t mean we do; in fact, chances are that they will try to make us feel as if we do especially when we have all the reasons not to feel like we do.
The reason why objective subjects such as science and computer programming can be addictive once you get the hang of it is that there is no subjectivity in results when they do come. You either did write a computer program that works or didn’t. This is one of the many points made clear on the book Coders by Clive Thompson, that I definitely recommend if you’re curious about the mysterious art computer programming.
If certainty is a requirement to be confident, mastery in a subject can be one of the closest things to this sense of certainty you need. When you master a subject there is no ambiguity on whether you should feel confident about the subject. This mastery gives it to you, and even when you still doubt your skills and abilities, the world will give you the permission to feel good about yourself because they can feel the impact of your mastery on their lives.
This is why if you want true confidence on anything the way to go about it is by as taught in the book Relentless by Tim Grover, learning all there is to learn about the subject, and: “knowing without a doubt that all the hours of work have created an unstoppable internal resource that you can draw on in any situation”, and to master every single bit of it regardless of how small. Actually, the book The obstacle by Ryan Holiday talks about how this was one of Steve Job’s principles by the fact that he demanded perfection even in the interior of the product, even though this would rarely be looked at by the customer.
The master is not subject to popular opinion because the evidence is so powerful that the only way to doubt it is to doubt your senses, and for that, you’d also have to doubt your sanity.
When you master a subject you don’t even have to try to make yourself feel confident. There is no need for any morning ritual designed for positive thinking brain surgery. You don’t have to because the world will do that for you.
After a while, your source of confidence begins to come not from the words you tell yourself to make you feel good, but from the outside world, from people who have no need to make you feel good. They do it because they feel like they need to. They feel as if they are the possessors of some truth(the truth of how good you are), and they have to make this truth available to someone, even if that someone is you, the person they feel awed about.
When your work gets positive reviews
The stranger has no business in making you feel good about yourself. Your parents, friends and family members do, so much so that they’d rather see you looking ridiculous and make you think you don’t than to put you through the pain of letting you know that are not as perfect as you think.
The stranger, especially when protected by the anonymity of an unspellable username, on the other hand, is freed from the constraints imposed on us by social norms/rules. They are free to say what they want and really feel because even if you get angry, the most you can do is spill out some insults back to them. Even here they have the choice of not seeing your response since all they have to do is to not go back to that page where they released all the evil they’ve been carrying and accumulating for which they were not allowed to release in the real world.
So, it follows that when the stranger gives you a compliment it means double. It might be the case that the stranger is one of these good-hearted people who can’t help themselves but uplift anyone who crosses their path, but chances are that they are not that kind of people because if most people were like that the world would certainly be a better place. When positive their opinion carries more weight because there are no social consequences for rudeness when we are anonymous, in the same way, that the negative feedback of a loved one carries more weight because there is only something to lose for making you feel bad about your work.
When the opposite can hinder your results
One time to feel confident even with nothing backing it is when confidence is the one thing that will bring upon you resilience and strength to get over an obstacle. The problem is that people use this form of artificially generated confidence like vitamins instead of painkillers. Vitamins you take every day, while painkillers you take occasionally and only when really necessary.
An occasion to use confidence as a tool is when it matters. When not using it will be detrimental for your results. What I mean is for the extreme life moments in which you need to believe you’re a God to have access to that extra energy that comes from confidence to keep going. Like when you’re running a marathon, and all your body is telling you is how much you’re not fit for what you’re doing, and that you will fail no matter how hard you try. That everybody else is better than you, and that loss is inevitable. Here being realistic is the last of the useful things you can do. It can be in fact counter-productive, to the point that it becomes a source of empiric evidence for why you should quit.
Just like honesty, with this, there are moments in which a lie is the best thing anyone can/has to do because the opposite will result in destruction as opposed to construction. Be overconfident when you’re selling yourself or your business idea to someone and when any drop of doubt will be enough to prevent you from accomplishing your dream. I’m not talking about telling a lie regardless of whether that lie will cause pain to someone, what I’m talking about is telling a lie to yourself because it will make your life and the world better in the future. When the extra bit of confidence is what will allow you to secure that so needed investment for your business, or when it is the one thing that will allow you to get the person of your dreams. It can be tempting to use the confidence tool indiscriminately and mask it as necessary, but the power of it is enhanced when you apply it correctly and at the right time.
When not to?
To put it simply, when you want to feel good about yourself for the sake of feeling good. Sadly, this is the reason why many people use self-inflicted confidence. They use it as a strategy to not feel bad when they fail. They use it as a strategy to feeling good being the way they are, even when the way they are is far from a source of proudness. They use it so they can feel proud of things any average human being can accomplish/do. They use it as a way to lower their standards, and at the same time shut down the cognitive dissonance that occurs when reality tries to tell them how much they need to change.
At the end of the day true and deserving confidence has to be earned not wished. The act of earning your confidence should be taken as depth and resilience-building experience. Here the depth and the resilience would be with respect to your so claimed sense of confidence, and the resilience would be for the moments in which the nature/source of your confidence comes into question in the minds and hearts of others. When your confidence is based on something concrete, there are no words that can tear it down. Even in moments of low self-esteem/self-worth, there is no need for a motivational speaker or a motivational tape. What brings us back are the memories of our past conquests, and obstacles overcome.
The quickest way to get to that earned sense of confidence is by continuously working on oneself. To continue even if when there is only a 1% improvement a day since even those 1%s with their little impact of theirs eventually string together with other small 1%s compounding their effect overtime for long enough to make a true impact as a whole.
1)Coders by Clive Thompson
2)Relentless by Tim Grover
3)The Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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