Confidence is a strange thing. Too much of it, it becomes hubris. Too little, it shrivels beneath the clouds of perpetual self-doubt.
Thus, the first truth highly confident people never forget is: Balance in all things.
1. The Balancing Act
Being confident means knowing who you are, what you’re capable of accomplishing, and placing the two over the triangular fulcrum of a particular desire. As long as the two ends remain balanced by integrity and honorable intentions, the desired goal is generally achieved.
2. Always Be Prepared
If you’re constantly wondering why things never go the way you’d like, odds are your prep work could use some adjustment.
Highly confident people know that preparation is 90 percent of the work. The final 10 percent is getting to the task at hand.
A simple analogy would be a master baker. A master baker is going to be quite confident that her pastry is going to turn out exquisitely. She’s sifted, allowed eggs and butter to come to room temperature, pre-heated the oven, and has plastic wrap on hand to wrap the dough when made, allowing it to rest.
By the time she actually adds all her ingredients and flavorings together to pop the pan into the oven, the pastry is all but made.
When it exits the oven: perfect cinnamon rolls. The only thing left to do is glaze.
Know what you’re doing, know how to do it, allow time for it, and never be afraid to research.
3. It’s OK To Be Wrong
No matter how confident, no matter how prepared, mistakes happen. Our baker might have sneezed when adding a key ingredient, causing more of that component to be added than called for, perhaps to the extent that the recipe is ruined.
This doesn’t shake her confidence, for she isn’t any less a baker… she’s human. Humans make mistakes. Humans think they’re right when they’re wrong. Humans forget things.
Our highly confident baker knows she can always bake another batch if attempt one, two, or three fails.
4. Believe In Yourself
She knows she’s gone to culinary school. She knows more about food chemistry than most know about where babies come from.
Confidence is largely knowledge. High confidence includes a fair measure of self-knowledge.
If the goal is to make the best cinnamon rolls ever, then know that you can make the best cinnamon rolls ever. There is nothing outside your capabilities if you engage time, work, and a willingness to fail.
Our baker knows her way around her kitchen so well she could probably bake the rolls with her eyes closed. Doubting this isn’t even a question.
5. You’re In Competition With No One
One of the quickest ways to sabotage a feeling of confidence is to compare oneself to someone else. For humans – being utter wonks at times – the usual inclination is to compare ourselves to someone we think is above us. This is self-burial.
Desiree (our baker) enjoys baking. It gives her peace to knead dough to the perfect consistency. When she’s in her kitchen, she’s in the zone.
Not a single thought of Bobby Flay, Julia Child, or Martha Stewart ever crosses her mind.
Desiree is happy in, of, and by herself.
6. Be Grateful In Success, Humble In Losing
Let’s say Desiree actually enters a baking contest (a different sort of competition), one that she’s quite confident that she can win.
However, she doesn’t win. Unlike the theatrics of televised cooking competitions, she doesn’t break out in tears of ruination.
If anything, she hopes to get a taste of the winning entry, perhaps glean an ingredient she hasn’t used before. She will not ask for the winner’s recipe, but she will congratulate the winner with due sincerity.
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7. Be Respectful
If there’s a single adult on the entire planet who doesn’t know the Aretha Franklin song “Respect,” there’s the proof of naturally-occurring suspended animation scientists need. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to me.”
Highly confident people (Desiree the Baker included) know that respecting the abilities and individuality of others reflects the light of others back many times over.
Confidence minus ego means you won’t think of yourself as better than everyone else. Confidence with ego upsets one’s balance and brings the fulcrum of desires crashing down.
8. Listening Is Power
If someone walks into a room and immediately feels compelled to tell you of their pedigree and accomplishments, that person is woefully compensating. Highly confident people don’t feel a need to brag.
Rather, they know that listening opens entire worlds to them. They’d much rather hear about your accomplishments, your thoughts on things, and your creative solutions.
9. Don’t Follow The Crowd
The highly confident person is not interested in “being” someone else. More than just being content in their own skin, they’re fascinated by who they are, not for narcissistic reasons, but because they’re genuinely having fun experiencing life.
Fad = Foolish And Distracting. Desiree would never add kale to her cinnamon rolls, no matter how trendy it might be.
Such a highly confident person would rather innovate or attempt to perfect, knowing that by the time the crowd gets bored of going in circles, it will want the purity of a well-made treat.
10. There Are No Guarantees
Sometimes you can do everything right, prepare as much as humanly possible, and still “lose.” Desiree might not win a competition. You might not receive that raise you confidently lobbied to get.
Confidence has never guaranteed an outcome; it only puts odds in your favor, but even at 99-to-1 in favor of us, at some point that “one” turns due in all of our lives.
Rather than allow this to shake their confidence, the highly confident person makes uncertainty a bedrock of their confidence: they live to “fight” another day.
11. Goals Are Better Than Dreams
If Desiree had nothing but wants and desires (want to go to culinary school, desire to be seen as a master baker) she’d be very unhappy. She wouldn’t be confident.
Confidence comes from working toward something and reaching it, then working toward something else and reaching that, until one’s inner mechanisms know the routine of moving your desires from point A to endpoint B.
To reach a goal, one must move. Not so with dreams. Dreams can be experienced lying on one’s back without a single loss of enjoyment.
Highly confident people bake movement into their daily lives, be it physical for health, fitness and/or vanity, mental for brain growth, or mindful for the total package.
They know what they can do, what they’re willing to do, and what they might need to change, which are three precepts none of us should ever forget.