How should a confident person be like?
Someone who does everything well, believes in his competence, and has pride in his achievements? Or someone who does stupid things occasionally in front of others?
The former description might seem to fit the typical definition of confident people. Innumerable articles and discussions tell us that to be more confident, we need to remind ourselves of what we have achieved whenever we doubt ourselves.
But what if the answer is the other way round? In fact, the ones who are more willing to accept their idiocies are more confident.
Some people are not really that confident.
We are conscious of our competence and achievements because they are probably the only solid things in our lives to prove our abilities and strengths. We say Usain Bolt is an excellent sprinter not just because he is physically strong but because he has the ability to break world records. The recognition and pride that come from within are our sources of confidence.
But in the long term, if we will care too much about our dignity and overestimate our importance, we will easily avoid situations that threaten them.
Let’s say if Bolt were someone who cared much about his dignity, it is very likely that he would refuse when someone invited him to participate in any competition as he would fear that failure would damage his image as a great runner.
Confidence built upon our competence achievements might not be something that we should look for. Accept our stupidity is the way to build true confidence.
Everyone is stupid and deranged by nature.
It might be hard to accept it but let’s face the truth: everyone is stupid in some sense.
You and I certainly have some moments finding ourselves stupid, no exception for the great people. Erasmus, a Dutch Renaissance humanist who wrote In Praise of Folly, suggested that everyone is a fool by nature. He himself was also a fool in his eyes. He was irrationally nervous whenever he met new people and acted stupidly in banquets even he was well-respected for his profound knowledge.
We should not keep reassuring our dignity but recognize the fact that everyone does silly things and makes mistakes from time to time. Sometimes we try to cover our weaknesses as much as possible because of the fear of humiliation. But embracing our foolishness is the first step to truly build our confidence.
Confidence has a much broader meaning than just being proud. When everyone is as silly as we are, there’s nothing wrong to do one more silly thing in life. And we will be more comfortable living with our own skin.
Make fun of yourself!
Allowing yourself to make mistakes and laugh at yourself afterwards is the key to build your confidence. If you are a lost tourist, you can embrace your innocence and kindly ask for direction despite the fact that people might regard you with contempt. But it’s totally fine. You can simply laugh at yourself for not getting well-prepared for your trip.
When you laugh at yourself more often, you will realize that you don’t need to be perfect to be accepted. We can do nothing about our stupidity as it is an inborn quality of the human race. How great it is to know that even the greatest people are as stupid as we are! The true confidence we have will allow us to give things a go and accept whatever happens to us.