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Thread: Confidence?

  1. #1
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Mar 2012

    Default Confidence?

    Now I am the first to admit I am often lacking in that most evasive of soul-filling creatures: confidence.

    But how does one attain confidence? And whats more, how does one maintain confidence?

    Is part of it acting? Or does it need a sincere drive behind it?

    I just wanted to see others take on this. For myself I acknowledge that confidence comes in part through fear, or rather the confrontation of fear. In a metaphysical sense the combating of a fear increases the opening of new avenues of action and potential. A lack of confidence closes them off and narrows the perspective.

    In some cases it seems confidence is best when an individual is thinking less in-depth in a specific context. Although usually that context is of an immediate physical one. Not to mention the trap between adequate confidence and becoming over-confident, missing necessary risk assessment.

    At other times however preparation and planning brings security and confidence to a person. When contingencies are created a person can happily accept the defeat of one aspect of operation, because they know there is that safety net to fall back on. Although I am curious as to how far people dig into their contingencies and once they are all defeated, how they cope.

    As much as any other aspect of humanity, confidence as a concept appears to rely greatly upon the personalised definition and method of achievement relative to the person whom that confidence concerns.

    This being said; are there really any sets of genuine advice that have a more general application for confidence, outside of the one who gave it?
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  2. #2
    Driving to Wewelsburg Typh0n's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    359 sp/sx


    The question applies to all forms of advice concerning anything else, as well: advice(outside of advice concerning practical things) is always subjective and cannot truly go beyond the person giving it, I think. So no, advice concerning confidence is pretty much the experience of the person giving that advice.
    And now there came out of this building a form - human - was it human? ... It reminded me of symbolical images of Genius or Demon that are seen on Etruscan vases or limned on the walls of Eastern sepulchres - images that borrow the outlines of man, and are yet of another race.

    -Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton, The Coming Race

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    5w6 sx/so


    I experience much less confidence in my conclusions than in my methods.

    What I mean is that I have faith in my abilities, but I'm also not afraid to look for possible refinements.

    This is the way of hope I believe, that we can always shoot for something higher.

  4. #4


    Martial arts teaches one to dig when you dig, to eat when you eat, to strike when you strike.

    Confidence is the end result of skill and intent.

    Get yourself afraid
    Get yourself alone
    Get yourself contained
    Get yourself control

    Alive in the Superunknown


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    8w7 sx/sp


    Confidence is knowing that you can handle most things in life that are within reason. It also includes the knowledge of personal resiliency, for anything you can't or didn't handle.

  6. #6
    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    8w9 sp/sx


    Knowledge and acceptance of yourself, combined with skills and experience = Confidence.
    I N V I C T U S

  7. #7


    Here's a cross-post from another thread. It provides some basic types of confidence-building exercises.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    Self-confidence takes work. I can describe easily enough how to get it, but you still have to do incredible amounts of work to actually achieve true confidence.


    Most Olympic athletes are children; they are in their late teens or early 20s. To be the best in the world at something, they have to have confidence in themselves. What do they do to gain that confidence before a tough competition? Take the example of a downhill skier. When he arrives at a competition, he is generally allowed some time to familiarize himself with the course, i.e., walk the course, examine it closely, and then do a practice run or two on it. But that’s it. He's often not given any more access to the course until it’s time for him to hit the starting gate and run the race, and that interim period may be a couple days. But in the couple days between the first familiarization with the course and his race, he’ll run through that course hundreds or even thousands of times in his mind. He’ll play out every inch of that course in his mind in slow-motion at first, and then faster and faster, over and over, until every neuron in his mind and cell in his body is prepared for that course.

    Okay, so a couple exercises:

    Role-playing for predictable experiences

    With some predictable experiences, say like a job interview, you can look up how such things work and find sample questions on the Internet, come up with some rote answers, and then practice your posture, demeanor, and lines hundreds of times. It’s even recommended to film yourself practicing, so that you can see yourself from the outside. In this case, it’s like the Olympic athlete running the course over and over in his head: It’s all very rote, and it works best for a standardized experience (like a job interview).

    Walk-throughs for unpredictable experiences

    With novel or unpredictable experiences, find someone knowledgeable and ask them to give you a walk-through. The idea here is that you are so unfamiliar with the situation that you don’t even know where to start; the entire experience seems like a monolithic obstacle. So you want to get someone (a coach, a mentor, a counselor, a specialist) to break it down for you and walk you through it. Knowledge is power.

    An acquaintance of mine was worried about a legal procedure; it turned out that she was terrified of being cross-examined in deposition. So I gave her a walk-through of some generic deposition questions and showed her how to handle those questions. With that info, she could start generating her own questions and answers relevant to her situation and feel fore-armed. (In the end, it turned out that she wasn’t deposed; but gaining that confidence that she could handle the procedure if needed allowed her to move forward with the legal procedure to a successful conclusion.)

    Another acquaintance of mine was a married mother with three very young children. She felt that she needed to separate or divorce from her husband, but she had no clue where to even start or whether she would spend the rest of her life in poverty, lose the kids, or what. So I told her what a divorce lawyer would want to know about her in the very first interview, then gave her a breakdown of a typical financial settlement with kids. It gave her confidence to go down and talk to a lawyer and start the separation process. (Ultimately they didn’t divorce; armed with info from the lawyer, she was able to confront her husband and push through enough changes that they could remain together.)

    Visualization and affirmation exercises for building upon past experiences that have gone poorly

    Visualization and affirmation (V&A) exercises are about getting a handle on a situation that has gone poorly by generating alternative scenarios and building useful rules from them.

    For example: Relax alone in a relaxed setting, remember back to an emotional incident during the day, and run a bunch of scenarios to visualize how you might handle the incident differently. In other words, replay the incident in your mind and feel the emotions that you felt at the time of the actual incident. Then use the V&A exercise to rewrite the script of what happened: practice assertiveness skills, determine where to establish personal boundaries, or whatever. Stephen Covey talks about V&A exercises in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (from Habit 2), and I have used his label for them.

    To sum up: These are just a few examples of mental exercises that one can use to build confidence. If you want more, then hit the self-help section of a good bookstore. Personally, I got a lot out of the book I mentioned in the last section: Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

    As in much of life, success depends on how much work you want to put into these things. Any top athlete will tell you: More practice = more confidence = more success.

  8. #8
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    6w7 so/sx
    EII Ne


    Confidence has been hard for me. I was a confident child but lost my confidence with adolescence. I harbored a lot of body image anxiety for a long time - still have some. And of course as a 6 I struggle with doubt and indecision.

    For me, relearning confidence is two-pronged: one part is in blindly trusting that things will be okay. It's like closing my eyes in water and believing that I'll float. It's actually pleasing, but it's difficult. I have to keep shushing the voices in my head that tell me I need to check and make sure I'm not sinking. The other part is in acknowledgement that me having self-confidence is healthy for me and it's positive for others, too. I'm afraid of confidence in some ways - I don't want to be the idiot who messes everything up because I'm convinced I'm right even when I'm not. But there's a difference between confidence and arrogance, and it's important to be self-confident. Being afraid all the time is even less helpful than being confident but wrong.

    So I guess in response to whether it's acting or sincere, I think it's both. I think you should be sincerely confident in your self-worth. I try (and struggle) to afford myself the same degree of compassion and empowerment that I would automatically give to anyone else. But when I talked about closing my eyes and trusting before, that's acting. It's like suspension of disbelief. You just have to pretend like everything's going to be okay... and then usually... it is. And if it's not, hey, at least I'm a 6, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Affirmitive Anxiety
    At other times however preparation and planning brings security and confidence to a person. When contingencies are created a person can happily accept the defeat of one aspect of operation, because they know there is that safety net to fall back on. Although I am curious as to how far people dig into their contingencies and once they are all defeated, how they cope.
    I'm a hyper-planner and definitely construct contingency plans... in some ways I'm glad to be a 6, because I'm good at this kind of thing and it takes little energy on my part. That said, I have the bad tendency of getting really caught up in planning out one really important "layer", and then being upset and feeling bewildered when that goes wrong, and then I need time to reacclimate and replan. I usually get upset when the main goals of the scenario go awry - especially the things I've built up NF-idealistically and really been looking forward to - but at some point down the line of failure it just starts to get funny to me. I would say a fair amount of the time, when EVERYTHING falls through, I'm the one putting my nose to the grindstone and figuring out a way to reclaim the day. I guess it's sort of that idea that once everything's lost, there's nothing to worry about anymore. I'm way more stressed when a few things go wrong than when everything goes wrong. Once everything's gone wrong, I'm the one who's rolling in laughter.

    As for application of confidence... health, really. Yours and others' and the world's. A dose of humility is always good, but with confidence you can enjoy the world and the world can enjoy you.

    I've also discovered that my natural, apparently latent confidence comes out when I'm working hard on something I really care about. All of a sudden I become a delegator... an instructor... a leader... a decision-maker. It's when I care so much about what I'm doing that I stop being anxious about myself at all. It's like flow state.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post

    At other times however preparation and planning brings security and confidence to a person. When contingencies are created a person can happily accept the defeat of one aspect of operation, because they know there is that safety net to fall back on. Although I am curious as to how far people dig into their contingencies and once they are all defeated, how they cope.
    This is never acceptable, even when something is outside the sphere of my control because the whole point is that I want to control the situation. I love contingency planning but it doesn't cause confidence. Being able to create those contingency plans is because of confidence that already exists. I'm able to take into account the likelihood of events, predictable behavior, situations and anticipate. Oh I will dig as far as I possibly can because I'm not being defeated but if I was, I would find a way to make it right for myself.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  10. #10
    MyPeeSmellsLikeCoffee247 five sounds's Avatar
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    I think it's important to do things that are well suited for you whenever possible. Be in your element. Do what you enjoy and what you're good at. Surround yourself with people who understand you and support you. You can strive to be better in that environment and it will be fruitful and positive without being stagnate or discouraging.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

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