Advertising
Advertising

Why do we Need Confidence?

Why do we Need Confidence?

Confidence is a fragile thing, but why do we even need it? What is it about this confidence things that makes us perform well or badly? Oliver Emberton explains in detail how crude confidence is and how it affects us in Quora

Think of confidence as a crude instinct for guessing when you’re going to succeed or fail. It’s exceedingly stupid and makes decisions based entirely on whatever comes to mind first. I call mine Paris Hilton:

    Paris exists for good reason. Humans evolved in dark and dangerous times. An argument with your tribal leader could get you killed. Being rejected by an influential guy / girl could make you unmateable. Unchecked, your actions could end you.

    Advertising

    Playing life too safe wasn’t much better. A man who wouldn’t hunt, or farm, or build, or bring any value to his peers was unlikely to survive. As we’re all blessed with uniquely uneven skills, it makes sense to act upon our strengths and shun our weaknesses.

    We evolved confidence to focus our efforts on what we’re best at

    There’s just one minor problem: life has changed a lot since 100,000 BC, and Paris is still wearing animal hide and dragging a club behind her.

    Advertising

      In the modern western world, the survival cost of failure is zero. You can jump out of a plane, argue with the biggest beefcake in the bar and ask Mila Kunis to take you to the ball. Not only are you almost certain to live through it, Mila might even say yes.

      The rewards for those who are confident today are staggering. Confidence is attractive. It breeds opportunity. It makes us stand our ground and assert our worth. Confidence in yourself is infectious – it inspires others to believe in you – and can be self fulfilling.

      Yet most of us have constant crises of confidence. We fret over something as banal as disagreeing with our superiors, or talking to a stranger. Many men would rather mud-wrestle a bear than ask their dream girl out; swimming with sharks is considered less scary than public speaking. There’s a reason people drink in social situations: alcohol makes Paris a lot – ahem – easier.

      Advertising

      The simple truth is this:

        It’s millennia behind the times. What evolved primarily to keep us safe in an age of sabre-toothed tigers is now holding you back. The trick is to know this, and to teach Paris to overcome her ancient programming. She’s not particularly bright, so this may take a while:

        • Paris is a socialite. Nothing feels better or stings harder than feedback from others. This means your successes must be witnessed. Start in private, by all means, but know that the greatest leaps in self-worth will come from victories like public speaking, dancing in a crowd, or kissing the girl. You can’t do that staying at home or in your head.
        • Effort trumps all. The wonderful thing about trying hard is it almost always succeeds, eventually. I’m not a natural runner, but if I try hard enough, I will accomplish something through sheer force of will, and that breeds self-worth. In the absence of confidence, work your ass off.
        • Resilience. The most important thing is how you handle knocks. They are inevitable. They will make you feel like crap. But the more longer you linger on them, the further your confidence will tumble. Counter swiftly: try again, try something else, but never dwell.

        The greatest confidence in life is won, not given. You can’t see it, but everyone has a capricious Paris inside them, dishing out doubt and courage on a whim. You just have to start taking responsibility for yours.

        Advertising

        Ultimately, having confidence is the difference between doing what you want, and doing what you’re told. Without confidence, we condemn ourselves to a life in servitude of those who have it.

        More by this author

        30 Inspirational Songs that Keeps You Motivated for Life How to Use the S.M.A.R.T. Approach to Achieve Your Resolutions Vitamins Cheat Sheet: What They Do and Good Food Sources [Infographic] Nutrition: Minerals Cheat Sheet & Food Sources [Infographic] The Best Body Hacks You Should Know About

        Trending in Communication

        1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

        Advertising

        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

        Advertising

        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

        Advertising

        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Advertising

        Read Next