What is Confidence?

Joe Namath once said, “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun.  And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”  Here, we see a particular viewpoint on what confidence does and how it plays a role in our lives.  There are many viewpoints, and many famous people have given us famous quotations on the matter.  So, let’s take a look at a few of these, relating them to success–in business and beyond.

1. “Kindness in words creates confidence.”—Chinese philosophy Lao Tzu.

A lot of good definitions of confidence eliminate such by-products as bragging, egotism, or arrogance.  That distills confidence to things that are true and pure, not putting on airs.  Could it be, then, that the traits it takes to be kind to others also build self-confidence?

2. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear.  Action breeds confidence and courage.”—Dale Carnegie.

Courage, then, comes from not necessarily winning battles, but fighting them.  That’s kind of nice in the sense that you can control whether or not you go into battles.  If you can build up just the tiniest bit of courage to get started in the first place, you’ll grow in confidence from getting out there and mixing it up with the world.

3. “Confidence comes from hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” Roger Staubach

This is an important thing to realize, and it should make you feel better instantly.  All too often, people act as though confidence is supposed to come from nowhere.  It can be intimidating to be told to have more confidence, with the implication that if you don’t will yourself to do so, any ensuing failures are your fault.

It’s important to do your best to accentuate anything in your life that will add to your confidence, but it’s not logical or healthy to have unfounded confidence.  It should grow with victories and with demonstrations of your skill.

4. “You can’t fake confidence or empowerment.” Author Ami Jo Martin

Any time someone tries to sell you some shortcut to confidence, you’re in the presence of nonsense.  Confidence is something that comes from deep within.  It rejects a lot of cheap and shallow imitators, defeats them, and shines through.

5. “He who closes his ears to the views of others shows little confidence in the integrity of his own views.” William Congreve

Confidence is the trait that allows leaders to listen to the people under them.  Or to customers.  People without enough confidence fail to take plenty of good suggestions that come their way.  Thinking you’re always right is insecurity—the opposite of confidence.

Hopefully, this post gives you some good insight into how complex and rich true confidence really is.  It is subtle and has to be cultivating through time and effort.  But the good news is it replicates itself and grows like a perennial flower.  It’s not a cure-all or some magic spell.  It’s not the only trait to have.   It’s just one very important one!

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