On Confidence

I think confidence is a good thing.

I don’t think I mean that the way most people do, or the way most people would take it.  I do not think it is good to be confident for confidence’s sake.  I think confidence in the self can often result in the greatest folly.  To me, confidence in the self is the opposite of humility, which is usually a useful thing, I think.   Confidence in one’s achievements, knowledge, gained skills and experience make a lot more sense.

There is currently, and for some time, a trend in this country towards “acting confident.”  I really don’t think one can “act confident.”  One can be confident, based on preparation.  I think “acting confident” is invariably false and inevitably disastrous—see jumbo mortgages, see Lehmann Brothers, see entire financial industry.  A lot of people had a lot of “confidence” at one time and as a result a lot of folks are out a lot of money.  I think a genuinely confident individual doesn’t mind opening up the files, answering questions, letting others kick the tires.  The opposite is what you get from “acting confident”—Trust me, it’s taken care of, of course I’m familiar with it, I know.  Right.

If confidence is rooted in experience and preparation, it is also rooted in mistakes recognized, reconciled and remediated.  Failures from which one learns, not just to prevent next time, but to respond to and repair, as much as possible, next time.  Preventing someone from making mistakes, suffering the consequences, and righting the situation is not helping them.  It is simply making the next time and the inevitable worse.    It is interfering with the learning process.  Perhaps the mistake, fall out and amends hurt, make the person “feel bad.”  Losing the opportunity to learn = feeling worse later.

I guess it is hard to explain.  The difference between “I know I can do it and if I can’t I know what to do next” and “I believe I can do it because I believe I can do anything.”  I think the first gets you where you are going and the second gets you in trouble.

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About missbodie

The Dragon Lady is a life long tea drinker. Her first coffee shops were Big Boy and the Oriental Diner in downtown Milwaukee. She lives in our Nation's Capital with three bicycles and an energetic tabby cat.
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