Be cool, come on be cool.
Have you ever found yourself saying that in your head? Maybe in an interview? Maybe at a party where you don’t know much people? A first date?
You have confidence when you feel that you have things under control. You are confident when you know that you’ll be able to handle anything that life throws at you. People love and admire the confident, of course, as they provide contagious security and ease everyone craves.
Let’s imagine that you are going to throw on a parachute from an airplane for the first time in your life. You and your friends hire a skydiving company near your town, hop on the car and off you go for some adventure.
It’s time, you get on the plane with your friends and the instructors, you feel a thousand butterflies in your stomach. Once you get high enough and the pilot opens the plane gates, you can see that Jerry, the imaginary instructor you are going to throw yourself with, is visibly nervous and shaking. What’s wrong Jerry? You ask him. Is everything is OK? He answers with a broken y ee ss.
Why the hell is he nervous? Is he just a novice at this? You start to freak out. You jump, either way, nothing happens, you land safely, but, the horror with jumping down with “no confidence” Jerry, was not good at all. A matter of confidence. Confidence is contagious. If Jerry’d look cool and in control, you would’ve felt way, way better.
So, confidence is a good thing, obviously, how can you get more of it? Is it possible to master it?
Confidence can be faked, I’ve done it, I’m sure you’ve done it as well, but it’s highly unlikely that a faked confidence can hold for long or get you through life, confidence is about control remember? Faked confidence will not get you an A if you didn’t study.
Real confidence is earned.
Whenever you have to tell yourself: “be cool”, “calm down”, it’s because confidence is obviously lacking, you don’t feel under control. And this last bit is the key, being under control.
You gain confidence when you feel or know that you can handle stuff. What if I’d ask you to tie your shoelaces, as in challenging you to do it, would you get nervous? I supposed not, you’ve done it so many times that by now you are quite sure of your capacity to do it. You are confident of your abilities, you are in control.
We all hate feeling not being under control. We all would like to feel confident all the time, that’s just natural. But we confuse what we need for what we want. What you need, is having good reasons for feeling under control, actually being capable. To master your abilities, being able to handle what needs to be handled.
But we crave the feeling of security, we crave to feel like James Bond under gunshots, cool as can be. The problem with focusing on the feeling of confidence itself is that you are concentrating your attention on something that you don’t have yet, something that you haven’t earned.
Social interaction is a perfect example of this. When you don’t know people, or when you are at a party where you don’t know anyone, it feels like your confidence drains away. When at a party if you focus just on yourself (me, me, me, me) How do I look? How are others seeing me? Why can’t I act more confident? I think you know what I mean, the never-ending twister of overthinking.
If you fall into this trap, you will not be able to focus on actually starting conversations and showing interest in other people, social interaction can be mastered as well. But, see? Correct focus is in directing attention to the things that are happening, not on your head and why you are not confident at the moment. When you tie your shoelaces, you are not thinking about how do you look while doing so, you just do it. It’s the same for everything else.
This leads me to say, stop trying to be confident, let confidence emerge by itself.
Confidence is earned once you feel that you are in control, just like tying your shoelaces, you don’t even have to think about it, you focus on doing it, once you master something, confidence will come, rest assured. Therefore, focus not on the feeling of confidence itself, but rather in dealing with reality accordingly.
Isn’t it liberating? Stop trying to be confident. Stop. Focus on doing stuff right instead and confidence will come.
Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.- Theodore Roosevelt
a great complement to this read: The Pathway To Psychological Freedom
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