Lord Parasurama (sixth Avatar of Vishnu) asking Lord Varuna (Hindu god of water and the celestial ocean) to recede to make more land for himself – aka Kerala, India – my birthplace.
Now, that is confidence!
“Confidence is a magnet that attracts people and makes your and their lives a lot happier” – the current most powerful man on the planet. I am not sure about the latter part but the first half is pretty obvious.
Confidence is essential for us as we make our way in the world, without it, all of our other skills are lost. Our academic experience is generally focused on getting us the technical skills that we need to start our career.
Too often we write-off either our having or lacking confidence as an innate skill, not the acquired talent that it really is. We are often told by our parents, teachers or others whose opinion we take as the source of truth, that the confidence we might admire in someone is attributed to their personality. But is it? Some personality types do tend to be more confident, but the real question is, can it be learned?
Self-compassion & self-care: Too often we speak to ourselves in a way that we would never speak to our friends and we would never allow our friends to speak to themselves. Why not speak to ourselves with the kindness and gentleness of a wise and skillful guide who has our best interests in mind? Our self-flagellation leads to nothing but self-sabotage. Also, if to make mistakes is part of human nature, why should we get upset when we make mistakes? At the point of discovering a mistake, we should focus on fixing what we have done. And all the while, keeping in mind that the greatest thing we have to fear is not making a mistake but not making the effort to give something a try. Confidence is not doing everything correctly the first time we try it, confidence is the courage to push through the initial mistakes we have made in our attempts to master something new while, whispering to ourselves that we are gaining mastery and we can find a solution. British inventor Sir James Dyson spent 15 years creating 5,126 versions that did not meet his expectations before he made the one that worked – Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner. The payoff was a multi-billion dollar company known for its creativity and forward-thinking designs. We need to appreciate the role of self-care in a good, ambitious and fruitful life.
“I laugh at myself.
I don’t take myself completely seriously.
I think that’s another quality that people have to hold on to… you have to laugh, especially at yourself.” ― Madonna – undeniably the genius who reinvented and marketed herself for so many decades and continue to do so.
Acceptance? Once we learn to see ourselves as already by nature foolish, it doesn’t matter so much if we do one more thing that might look stupid. Failure won’t be news to us; it will only confirm what we have already gracefully accepted in our hearts: that we, like every other person on the planet, are nitwits!
Unworthiness? We should also stop thinking that we don’t deserve success: the universe does not distribute its gifts and its horrors with divinely accurate knowledge of the good and bad within each of us. Most of what we win is not quite deserved – and most of what we suffer isn’t either.
The Art of Living: Epictetus’ classic manual on virtue, happiness and effectiveness – a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell:
“Don’t defend your reputation or intentions.
Don’t be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can’t control the impressions others form about us, and the effort to do so only debases our character.
So, if anyone should tell you that a particular person has spoken critically of you, don’t bother with excuses or defenses. Just smile and reply, “I guess that person doesn’t know about all my other faults. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have mentioned only these.”