“Just be confident.”
“You must be confident.”
“Confidence is everything.”
“Just act as if.”
“Believe in yourself!”
And about six-hundred more variations, right? There are countless (I mean millions) books written about how to develop and project confidence. Amazon has an entire distribution wing devoted to them. You’ve got to agree – everyone assumes confidence is a perfectly desirable trait. THE state of all emotional states. Confidence is happiness. Being okay with who you are in the moment. We all want confidence!
I’m calling bullshit on confidence.
I’m attracted to commonly accepted advice like this..to develop confidence and pursue confidence.. I’m pulled towards it, because I want to rip it to shreds. I wanna take it out back like the printer in Office Space. Say “you must project confidence” one more f*cking time.
It’s probably the rebel in me, sure. But really it’s because focusing on the attainment and development of confidence is damaging. It left me spinning my wheels, feeling worthy of things I didn’t deserve. It screwed up my thought processes. And it may be screwing you up, too.
How the hell could confidence be dangerous?
First remember – I’m only a recovering, self-loathing asshole reporting observations. But here’s what I discovered in my own self-analysis and study. Much of this comes from my favorite Indian philosopher, Krishnamurti. If I were to worship a guru, he’d be my one. (But if you read K you’ll find that he would’ve refused.)
“confidence” is living in the past, or living in the future. It is not Living in the now. it is False Identity.
Confidence is based on thoughts of past, or on illusions of the future. Confidence is a false identity created in the present. Confidence says “you should feel this way.” Confidence says “I feel worthy because I have done this, and that!” Confidence also says “they don’t know who they’re messing with, you are a badass!”
Instead of “confidence” we should only be thinking “here I am.” If we live in the moment we can only be humble, calm and attentive. We can access 100% of our talent, skills and power in that moment. And that is all we have. We can only be present, exactly as we are. Exactly as we’ve come. We only bring with us the preparation and work we’ve done.
Living in the moment, we do not feel pride in past accomplishments. We do not feel arrogance rooted in daydreams of our future. False feelings of entitlement or worthiness. Why would what you’ve done in the past matter anyway? You only are who you are, at this very moment.
What’s wrong with the person you are right now? If there is something wrong.. and you need to be living out of the present moment.. that’s a problem. My point is: Confidence is often used to substitute for feelings of inadequacy, or in response to unpreparedness.
Do you feel “confidence” is Just all some people have? For no good reason?
Have you witnessed that? Sure you have. Many people try skate by on confidence.. ‘Confidence’ has been used by people hoping to weasel into jobs they don’t deserve. By unworthy men trying to convince women that they’re an awesome catch. By billionaires bullying their way into Presidential nominations, you name it. These people didn’t earn the right to be confident, we say.
What’s the difference between someone who should be confident and someone who should not? Nothing on the surface… But someday it will become evident that the person who should not be confident has nothing to stand on. They live on a flimsy foundation. They will fall. Or they will tear themselves down eventually, crumbling under the weight of their own false ego. So my question is:
if we prepare, if we do the work, if we are truly valuable… why do we need “confidence?”
The answer is we don’t. You see, I’m not railing on confidence as much as I’m preaching preparedness, humility and being realistic.
I’ll never forget a certain wrestling tournament. I was in high school, member of the wrestling squad. But being all I could be in wrestling was at the bottom of my priorities list that year. Instead, I partied, drank, smoke, stayed out till 1:00/2:00am and chased girls. At least 3-4 nights a week. This was during the on-season by the way. I’m a real shithead, I tried to tell you.
Anyway there’s a big tournament at school. Home-mat tournament, real flashy one. I started preparing a few nights before, going to bed at midnight instead of 2am and laying off the beer, mostly. I’m wrestling the 189lbs class. My natural fighting weight was 160lbs tops. I may as well have been wrestling with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in one hand.
The night before the big tournament I make a mix of MP3’s to put on my iPod. The music is key, I think. The music will motivate me. (motivation without work and a foundation is garbage) My confidence in my natural badassery coupled with “Eye of the Tiger” was an undefeatable combination. It’s all mental, right? I would be epic.
I would be pinned in every match. 5 in a row. End of tournament. 🙂
I try to live without confidence.
I don’t want it. I don’t want to depend on it. You don’t need confidence, you don’t need to believe you can do something. You only need to be capable. You either are, or not. If I arrive unprepared or in inferior condition, I don’t deserve victory. And I am okay with that. Sure I will give my best effort, but that is all I can do.
If you have a large presentation approaching, all that you should consider is the preparation you must do. Place 100% of your focus into that preparation. When the time for your performance arrives, you go out and do it. Simple as that. Why do you need confidence? What is confidence but a dreamland? Confidence is an escape from the absolute present. Are you trying to feel confidence because you are already feeling a painful emotion? Why do you feel that emotion? You’re putting confidence in place of IMPORTANT FEELINGS – maybe it’s lack? Do you feel like you’re inferior? Those are the feelings you should focus on. Analyze them, accept them, and ask how you can best remedy them. Then.. You do the work.
I don’t have belief in my self, I have knowledge of my self. I know what I am capable of and what I am not. That sounds boring I’m sure. It is sometimes, but you know what else it is? Grounded. Intelligent. Realistic. Stable.
Unchecked confidence can lead to false bravado, destructive actions, mania and just plain stupidity. This is in my past experience as a crazy, pain-avoiding, shameful prick with massive core insecurity issues. So please remember this. If you’re a “normie,” one of the normal people out there (at least more normal than I) then your confidence may be different than mine.
In my past, “confidence” was a way to skip the work. A paper thin veneer. “Confidence” was a way to get ahead without having to really be a talented, disciplined or valuable person! “Fake it ’til ya make it,” right?!
Don’t depend on confidence, don’t use confidence. Only use your intelligence, your intuition. You harness intelligence and intuition by simply being yourself in the moment. If you’re extremely talented at something because of preparation, hard work and practice, then be that talented person and kick some ass. Reap the rewards. If you are not talented enough, go back to work. You’re better than confident, you’re prepared, you’re ready, you’re purposeful and determined.
Confidence and arrogance are one in the same – they are lack of presence. The last thing a pain-o-phobic like us needs is to be living in the past or future. We must rid ourselves of confidence and instead replace it with a philosophy of “Being here now,” as we are. All we can control is the work we do in this moment, Tomorrow belongs to those who live their best Right Now.
Disclaimer: Never forget, I write this blog for myself first. Next I write for 1,000 other passionate tribe members who want to live more grounded lives based on acceptance, forgiveness and progress. If you don’t agree with me, post it below or email me and I’ll be happy to talk with you.