Monday, November 14, 2011

Pondering confidence


Confidence is a strange thing, isn't it? What exactly is it? Is it a belief in oneself? Is that belief a general one or is it tied to a specific ability? Does it change from day to day? Does it impact the outcome of any given event? If so, how directly and how much? Is confidence something you're born with, like the range of your voice? Or is it dependent on your upbringing? How is confidence different from arrogance? Are they the same thing except on different places in a continuum?  Or are they different animals altogether? Is confidence  necessary for success? When confidence is not commensurate with ability, does that confidence in fact catapult the person into a higher level of success? Is a person with ability but no confidence doomed to mediocrity? Is this kitty delusional? Or is this what confidence looks like? 








Does a truly confident person ever think much about his confidence level? Does the fact that I ponder and analyze it so much say anything about my confidence?  

Edited to add: And does the fact that I accidentally wrote "commiserate" instead of "commensurate" say anything at all? Sheesh.

13 comments:

Jennifer Hillier said...

I was thinking about this, too. I do think confidence helps with success - I think confidence is the difference between successful people and REALLY successful people.

Don't ask me if I have any, though. ;)

Irene Latham said...

I think the fact that you ponder confidence means you ponder lots of other important things, too, and I love that about you. :) If I had to define confidence using this post, I'd say confidence would be the kitten looking in the mirror and seeing a kitten. I think confidence means being okay with what you see there and proud of who you are, without illusions. Maybe the kitten seeing the lion is more like arrogance? Just a thought.

jbchicoine said...

I do a lot of pondering on this, especially lately...I think analyzing it, breaking it down into all its components--sort of the way you've done here--builds confidence. Even that lion in the mirror started off as a cub/kitten...

"Is a person with ability but no confidence doomed to mediocrity?" If that lack of confidence keeps them from trying, perhaps. If confidence is measured by one's ability to convince others that they have ability or are worthy, then, no! I suppose it has much to do with expectations--are they internal or dependent on others?

Yat-Yee said...

Jennifer: Thanks for dropping by. I, too, suspect that ability alone cannot account for the degree of success of people.

Irene: Aww. Thanks so much. The kitty seeing the lion makes me think more of someone who is either trying to psyche themselves up or some one who sees something deep inside/in the future that is not obvious yet. I like how you put it "being proud of who you are, no illusions." We see our own warts better than anyone else can and if we can be okay, that does take confidence. Or maybe it results in confidence. Hmmm.

Yat-Yee said...

jb: I am very intrigue by how you've stated it. Expectations do play a role, but for me, confidence is essential in how we view ourselves.

Will you clarify something? Do you mean that a person with no confidence, despite ability, will NOT be doomed to mediocrity IF they can convince others they are worthy? Or the other way around? Or am I misunderstanding your whole point?

jbchicoine said...

If a person has an inherent ability, but lacks confidence--say an artist who demonstrates an aptitude at a young age, but may have low self-esteem and is afraid to mess up--she likely won’t progress in her art. She remains in that range of mediocrity, whereas if she had the confidence in her ability to grow, she’ll succeed.

Which brings up the question, How does a person define success? Is it a matter of personal satisfaction, knowing and seeing our own growth, which builds that esteem and confidence? Or is success measured by receiving the accolades of others? Taking it a step farther, How much do the internal and external rewards feed off each other and enhance confidence? I believe it’s a mixed bag.

In your post, you also ask: “How is confidence different from arrogance? Are they the same thing except on different places in a continuum? Or are they different animals altogether?” I suppose I’ve never seen arrogance as a positive trait. Generally, arrogance repels others, where as we are drawn to the positivity that confidence exudes--we sense there’s something we can learn and apply in our own pursuits.

...just my big thoughts...my husband and I discuss this sort of stuff a lot--still trying to figure it out, we are...

Julie Dao said...

I ask myself that all the time. I tend to be on the humble side, but there's also a fine line between humility and low self-esteem. I'm not really sure, but I think confidence in moderation is the key!

Bish Denham said...

Oh tough questions. I have known confident people who were terrible at what they did. I have also known introverts who weren't confident at all, but who were good at what they did and succeeded.

So I'm not sure if there is an answer or even if you "need" to worry yourself with it.

Nandini said...

I think confident people are more willing to take risk, and that leads to opportunity. It's definitely harder to go out on a limb when you lack confidence.

Reminds me to the Sound Of Music song: I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain, I have confidence that spring will come again ... :)

Nandini said...

Oops! Reminds me of ...

Vicki Rocho said...

I thought I had an answer but after reading the whole post I'm now doubting my original response -- which is really ironic since this is all about confidence and I apparently lack it! hahaha.

You signed up for the Well I Never Blogfest today....I'll check back later to see if I'm just making the rounds too early!

Elaine AM Smith said...

Ever kitten thinks it has a much larger beast within.

Tanya Reimer said...

I go back and forth on this. One day, I have all the confidence in the world, and the next, zippo. Why? What's the trigger?

You have some interesting comments here, clearly everyone deals with this.