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Monday, February 08, 2016


This is a post about confidence.

We all know what confidence is.  It's the belief in your abilities and strengths that allow you to perform well.  I'll even go one up and say that confidence and courage come hand in hand with each other, and that you can't have one without the other.

I mean, just pulling up an example from pop culture past, I remember long ago watching an episode of "Good Times".  You know, the show about a family surviving in the Chicago projects that aired between 1974 and 1979 and introduced us to the acting abilities of Janet Jackson?  There was an episode in which Florida Evans (yep, she was named after a state) was given a chance to star in a television commercial for a new product called Vitabrite, but she was nervous about doing a commercial that would air in millions of households. 

Luckily, her family helped her through it all, and by the time it came time for her to read the script, she was more than ready to knock it out of the park.

Unfortunately, the product was a health serum that contained no less that eighteen per cent alcohol content, and when Florida's youngest child, Michael, guzzled the stuff down...well...let's just say that it involved a lot of dancing and a lot of singing Tony Orlando and Dawn lyrics off-key.

Oh, how I wish I had a video clip of this to show you, but if you want the gist of it, the episode is called "The TV Commercial", and it can be found on the first season DVD set of "Good Times". 

Anyway, once Florida discovered that she was essentially being a spokesperson for booze, and how she was essentially forced to lie to the camera, she turned the commercial down.  Sure, the commercial could have helped her family out financially, but she felt so strongly in her ethics that she showed enough courage and confidence to walk away.  That's understandable.

Now, the fact of the matter is that most of us probably won't find ourselves in a situation where we win a role on a television commercial.  But we all have our moments in which we have to show confidence.  And sometimes we can have a difficult time in figuring out just how much confidence to show.

Let's talk about people who have overconfidence issues.  People who are so confident in their abilities that they feel that everyone else is unable to match them.  People like, oh, Kanye West or Donald Trump for example.  They are people who are very confident in their abilities and for what it's worth, I understand how both examples have a right to exude confidence in themselves.  But they exude so much confidence that it can be mistaken for arrogance. 

I'm not a fan of arrogance at all.  I don't feel it's right for people to use their confidence to demean or belittle other people.  It's completely unnecessary, and I don't understand how people can allow themselves to become so cocky.

And it's usually because I fall in line with the other extreme of confidence.

Having low self-confidence is just as bad as having too much self-confidence.  People who have low self-confidence often find themselves agreeing with people just to avoid confrontation.  They are afraid to put forth their best efforts because of fear of being judged, or feeling like they will fail, or feeling as though nobody understands them.

And I know this because I've had a lot of issues with confidence.  There have been times in which I have openly remarked that I am not good enough in a variety of different situations, and it almost felt like my self-doubt has become a prison that I was trapped it.  It was like I had given myself a life sentence of solitary confinement and I didn't really understand what crime I committed to justify the punishment.

It took me a long time to realize that there was no justifying it because there was no reason that I would willingly do that to myself.  If people were rude and crude towards me, that was their problem.  And if people didn't want to hang out with me, that was their loss.  And if people manipulated me into giving them something they wanted, only to have them throw me under the bus the next minute - well, that's more of a social commentary on them.

Even now, I struggle with the issue of confidence.  I've been at my newest job for a month, and I know I've been doing very well, but I still find myself wanting to know if I really am doing that well in the first place.  There always seems to be that nagging doubt in my head that prevents me from believing that what I am doing is the right thing, and as much as I want to beat that nagging doubt out of my head, I fear I'd end up with a concussion or brain damage if I tried.

But you know...I feel that by admitting my lack of self-confidence in public, I'm showing courage about it, and therefore, I'm improving my confidence by speaking out about it. 

So.  Maybe there's hope after all.

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