How Confident are You?
The ability to achieve something or not is, in part, because, of one trait in our character. It’s a part of our attitude, towards the world we see and towards ourselves, that separates a winner from a loser, success and perceived failure. That trait is what we call confidence.
Personally, I wasn’t always confident. Not in my decisions or my own ability. I questioned everything to the point that I would end up doing nothing.
Procrastination set-in and I went nowhere. But, I was confident in some parts of my life and I started to question why. I wanted to understand what the difference was, why I was confident in this but not that. There were times I felt I could achieve anything and other times when nothing seemed possible.
Confidence, for me, was like a flickering flame on a candle, dependant on the circumstances and the environment. A confidence that went in troughs and peaks, like the waves in the sea.
This got me asking questions. Why was there a change in my confidence? What was changing? What were the differences? As always, questions brought answers that brought more questions.
Then I started to see a pattern.
One type of confidence is that which we get when we have a specific skill and we have become competent in it.
For example, an apprentice carpenter will begin by learning the basics. With time, more skills are taught and learned, and the apprentice becomes more accomplished, gaining confidence in their ability and their skill.
In other words, this type of confidence is based on knowledge and ability in a specific subject matter.
If I gave you a two-pin-plug iron and asked you to change the plug for a three-pin-plug, would you know how to do it? How’s your confidence level?
What about baking a soufflé?
You can look all of these up on the internet and learn how to do them. That’s the knowledge. But, you won’t gain true knowledge until you do it.
Action is the key to understanding and learning. The key to gaining confidence. Failure is just another word for, “I’ll do it better next time”.
A lack of confidence to do something, not willing to do something, is a result of fears. Fear of criticism and fear of failure being at the top of the list. These fears are backed up by a series of emotions which hold us back, including shame, embarrassment and anxiety.
This confidence relies on a skillset, so when that changes, when the circumstances change and you have to do something you’ve never done before, your confidence waivers. In the worst case our confidence disappears all together.
Confidence in another’s belief – Dependance
“Trust me. I know what I’m doing!” Recall this saying? It applies here.
For us to learn anything, we have to place our trust in someone else, in their knowledge, understanding and ability. We do this either person to person or through books or through audio.
We rely and place our trust in another persons knowledge, understanding and ability. Relying on them to take us from knowing nothing to knowing and understanding better.
Just like teachers and lecturers in formal education. They have a curriculum, a syllabus, they have to follow, with objectives they have to meet, so that pupils and students can pass their exams.
It’s like what I do in this blog and the articles. My aim, my objective, is to give you the necessary information to help you understand yourself, your mind and the universal laws, with the aim that if you want to change your life then you have what you need to do so. Action and effort are still needed to make anything happen.
A tennis coach, a football coach, a driving instructor, a military instructor – we put our trust in others to get us to where we want to get to.
In the same way it’s the kind of trust that can help us achieve something we hadn’t personally believed we could.
To experience anything we have to do it, act on it, commit to action. We don’t always have faith and belief in ourselves that we can actually do something. The belief that someone else has in us, however, can be a driver to action for and by us.
These are situations when we get confidence, because, of the belief that someone else has in our ability to do something. It’s an external influence that we take on and act on.
When we have the emotional, verbal and psychological support of another person, who believes in us, when we don’t believe in ourselves, we can accomplish more then we thought we could.
But we must have a trusting relationship with that person, a connection, where their belief in us, in our ability, is all we need to get something done.
We are confident in their belief in us, when we lack confidence in ourselves. We trust that person or persons to do something for us or with us, even when that support is simply to give us encouragement.
This is like working as a team. We have to trust each team member, that they will do their part and in their ability.
We borrow and share the confidence we get, and are given, by the other person or persons.
This confidence can fail us when that dependancy is not with us. When that person is no longer a part of our life or not present when we need that confidence.
This is what true confidence is. It’s the ability to believe and have faith in ourselves, regardless of environment or circumstance.
It is the belief that we can do whatever is asked of us or brought before us, regardless of the skill or knowledge that will be required to complete the task at hand.
Gaining complete self-confidence is truly a matter of mindset.
What is the key to this?
Belief. One word – Belief. Belief in our ability to do anything, within reason, that is brought before us.
We can never know everything. This means that we are always learning and the chances of getting something wrong is always possible. Failure does not mean that something isn’t for you – it means that you didn’t get it right that time, so we learn from the mistake and do it better next time.
Fear and belief, faith in ourselves and our abilities, are opposites. You cannot fear something if you can believe that you can achieve it.
When we come to accept that nothing will ever be perfect, that we can overcome our fears with belief, we have a choice – do or not do.
Self-confidence depends on the acceptance that we could get it wrong, in accepting our fears, and moving to belief and optimism.
Self-confidence is a “Can do” mentality rather than a “Can’t do” mentality.
We build our confidence by doing small actions. Rather than letting our fears guide us and the worst possible outcome we can imagine, we take on an optimistic approach and act on the possibilities – what’s the best that could happen. With every act that we carry out we get more courage and more belief in our ability to do it.
Just like the first time we got on a bike or learned to drive a car. At the start we were unsure, didn’t know what anything did. With time and practice (that’s the action) we learned until we could ride or drive on our own. And although other things in life may seem different from this, the basic method is the same – action moves us through fear.
A word of warning:
We need to know what we are capable of, what our limitations are. I’m not talking about allowing your fears to beat you.
I mean, for example, you can’t expect yourself to win a tennis championship when you’ve never played tennis. You can’t expect to pass your examinations when you’ve never paid attention in class, read your books or done your assignments.
As my dad used to say, “Use common sense”.
Humility in everything allows us to keep our minds open. There’s always another way of looking at something, a different perspective, more to learn and understand – we don’t know everything and we need to keep this in mind. We can learn from anyone, at anytime.
Going back to the example with the plugs – you cant expect yourself to be able to do it if you don’t know hoe. To change it you can gain the knowledge and understanding in how to do it (circumstantial) or do it under guidance (dependancy).
Whether you go ahead to do it depends on the last confidence – self-confidence. It’s believing in yourself that you can do it, that you can learn, that you can follow directions, rather than choosing and deciding that you’re not going to try and do it.
By the way, there is no such thing as trying. You either do or you don’t. If you fail, it’s just that, a failure. Next time you’ll know better. So you’ve learned how not to do it.
And no choice is still a choice. The person who decides to sit of the fence has still decided and chosen to sit on the fence.
It’s about being the person that chooses to say “Yes” to taking on the new project, even though you don’t have all the skills and knowledge needed, because you know that you will learn what you need to know to succeed along the way.
Confidence isn’t about knowing that you can do something.
It’s about not knowing what the outcome is going to be and knowing that you can deal with any outcome.
It’s Courage. It’s the “can do” rather than the “can’t do” attitude.
Your mind will take on the character of your most frequent thoughts: souls are dyed by thoughts.
Mind is the master power that moulds and makes, and man is mind.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
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