What is Confidence?
What is confidence? There is confidence that comes from true inner strength, and a false type of confidence—actually a shell formed to cover up an underlying insecurity. We are familiar with the person with false confidence: they have to win every game they play in; they have to ‘win’ every conversation they take part in; they don’t make room for other people; they rarely feel sorry.
Sometimes though we encounter true confidence, based on inner strength. This is when someone has found a balance between self-affirmation and making space for others. They can state their own thoughts articulately, and also put their own thoughts aside to focus entirely on what the other person is saying. They don’t rush to assert themselves, but nor do they quickly bend to other people out of a fear of upsetting others. They can say ‘that’s an interesting idea, I’d like to consider that.’
To find true inner strength we have to value two things. On the one hand, we have to value ourselves and our own feelings and ideas. On the other hand, we have to value putting ourselves aside for the sake of others. By holding in our minds the tension of these two opposites, we will slowly forge in ourselves a new, strong metal made up of both ingredients.
Image: Kiev, 2020, Iryna Marmeladse
Jack is a depth therapist and the founder of Archive. He has a doctorate in theology from Oxford University and a degree in neuroscience from Melbourne University. He is the co-author of The Imagination Machine (Harvard Business Press, 2022)