Issue 24

What is Confidence ?

Being confident means feeling positive about what you can do, and not worrying about what you can't do, but having the will to learn. Self-confidence is the oil that smoothly turns the wheels of the relationship between you, your capability – that is your natural talents, skill and potential – and your ability to make good that capability.

Outer or "Enforced" Confidence

There is a preconception that confident people are loud, bold, extrovert types who can handle any personal and professional situation that they face with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of certainty. The truth, however, is that those people who are the greatest self promoters about who they are and what they do are often wearing a "mask" of confidence. This is the outer expression of the persons behaviour, which may hide an inner fear or uncertainty from which they are trying to escape. This is not real confidence. It is "enforced" confidence, and they are "confidence enforcers". They wear the mask of confidence to ensure that they remain in control of situations, and this is born out of the fear of not being in control. They have discovered that the more control they have over others the greater respect they are afforded. A confidence enforcer"s need for control over people and situations arises from the fact that they were at one time or another made to feel small inside by other people. They realize that the feeling of being small will not get them very far in the world, so they have developed an over-inflated self view, so that they can feel big and make others feel small.

Why is such Behaviour perceived as confidence?

The answer is simply because confidence enforcers don"t give off a hint of self doubt. They seem so sure of themselves. "How could I possibly be wrong?" they seem to suggest. They don't want to be seen to be wrong or not in control. People with low amounts of confidence can often be intimidated by a confidence enforcer, since the enforcer seems hard to stand up to because of the amount of power and control they seem to have at their disposal. They haven't got enough inner strength at their disposal to handle the confidence enforcer. The enforcer feeds off this fear, because it is a way for them to get some recognition and find a place and role in the world. School bullies and tyrannical bosses are good examples of this.

Inner or "True" Confidence

True confidence is different; it is a "quiet"state and begins on the inside. In this context, "quiet" means that there is no interference upon the natural state of affairs. No background noise, no doubts, no comparison with others, no fear of failure, no worry about what others are thinking – this is the inner state of confidence. There is the "Golden Triangle" between the person, their capability and the moment.

Have you ever observed a leading professional – perhaps a dancer, musician, athlete or surgeon - at work? You will notice that, when they are performing or operating at their peak, they exude a sense of quietness and authority. What we are witnessing is the state of no interference between the person and their capability; this allows them to perform at the peak of their ability, because there is nothing preventing them from doing so.

Find Confidence in everyday life...

A very simple way to begin to gain confidence is to think about examples of where confidence exists in everyday life. The purpose of this is that you become a confidence "researcher", and thereby start to think in a more positive way than maybe you have been used to.

The Confidence Magnet

To attract confidence you must have confidence. If you don't have confidence, you must go and "collect" some, thus becoming a confidence "magnet".

Exercise: Collect examples of confidence

Collect some examples from everyday life of where you can see confidence in action. Either write the examples down in a notebook or collect examples in picture form and create a collage, place a picture of yourself to associate yourself with confidence. The purpose of this exercise is that by collecting examples, you begin to become attracted to confidence by virtue of the fact that you are looking for it. We get more of what we focus on.

The Life Skills Group run here at the clinic can help you more with confidence and assertiveness. Ask your team for a referral.

Taken from "Confidence boosters" by Martin Perry.

By Simon.L