Imagine there is a party or a gathering of some sort. One person is sat in the corner quietly talking with everyone, greeting people and asking them how they are. Into the scene steps a second person. They come through door dressed flamboyantly, their greeting loud and they automatically demand and get everyone’s attention. Which of these two people is the most confident?
Now. In most cases we might assume that the confident person is loud and flamboyant and yet in most cases the one who needs and/or demands attention is usually the one with the least confidence. They are looking to other people to validate them and tell them that they are ok. The person who sits quietly connecting with people in a none demanding way is the one with the confidence. They do not need other people to reinforce their value or worth because they know themselves quite well.
Often the world is the opposite way to what it seems. People that make the most noise and seek recognition are usually those with the least confidence, while those that do not need the validation of others are usually the most confident. Actors, musicians, and politicians all stand in front of thousand of people needing their approval.
A good example is Donald Trump who lacks the confidence to accept negative feedback or criticism though he can appear to demonstrate confidence with the tweets that he pours out. Yet, his behaviour is that of someone who has little confidence and little self esteem. He can bully and shout and get angry, none of which are qualities of confidence, they are all qualities of emotional and personal weakness.
When this weak position of Trump is set against an equally unconfident leader in North Korea who seems to believe that the game of ‘my rocket is bigger than yours’ is a serious form of communication, we are right back in the school yard with a couple of unconfident kids trying to get attention. Scary stuff.
As I write this the latest news flash is that North Korea has just suffered a terrible nuclear incident. It would appear that at least two hundred people are dead and that a cloud of nuclear fallout, similar to that which followed the Chernobyl accident, is about to be dropped on the world. While it might become true that had the North Koreans not been playing chicken with their nuclear weapons this would never have happened, the confident response would be one of concern, help and compassion. The unconfident response will be to act like they are all getting what they deserve. I am watching for Donald Trumps response to the accident with interest.
In my own world of psychology and self development, through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and so on, I have seen many, many teachers lose their self confidence to simply be a teacher and become a guru. Again, those that take on the mantle of Guru are those with the least confidence. The confident teachers, and thankfully there are many thousands of them, do not need fame or fortune to support, help and enable others. They simply just do it.
When I walk into a room I don’t want to be ignored but I don’t want to be flattered. I am happy to just be me.
Where are you? Are you happy and confident with who you are or do you need other people to reassure and tell you that you are okay? Do you seek the approval of others or do you have the confidence that goes with self esteem and self worth?
Plato said ‘Know they self’ and these words appeared above the temple to the God Apollo in Delphi. Aristotle said that to know yourself was the first stage of wisdom. Mindfulness is the best way that I know that you can follow to get to know yourself. Strangely in the process of getting to know yourself you also get to know others.
Be mindful, be happy and have the confidence to go to the bathroom mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say ‘who loves you baby’. To do that just for you, with no audience is a huge confidence boost.