COURAGE VS CONFIDENCE by Chuck Kelley
From my childhood until recently, I have struggled with self confidence issues; shame ruled all of my decisions. I found that I was seldom willing to attempt anything that might be witnessed by others until I had basically mastered whatever it was that I didn’t want witnessed. My life experiences had programmed my mind to detest outside judgment. The fear of public or even private humiliation caused my path to become a narrow one. Because of this, my self esteem was pretty much non-existent, my insecurities were vast and powerful, and I became an expert at hiding in plain sight.
Trying to muster enough self confidence to actually be seen was a farce and a failed attempt at mind over matter and faking it till you make it. I didn’t fully appreciate that confidence is a byproduct of doing the same or very similar things repetitively, nor that, with each attempt; I could gain a higher level of success which would eventually produce self confidence. My belief was that I was defective; there was something wrong with me because of my insufficiencies. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the ill effects resulting from lack of confidence. I was stuck in limbo.
Confidence is certainty or very near certainty and without experience, certainty is a Catch 22 (a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions). I was certain that I’d die before I figured my way around this…which I did, (more on that later), and soon after my return from the other side, the solution came.
We are born with courage, it is our ability to do what is most important to us at the moment and damn the “what ifs”. Courage is in our DNA. Courage is hard wired into our very brains. We, as a species, would never have survived if our early ancestors had sat around waiting for their self confidence to materialize. It was courage that enabled our first step, our first solo ride on a bicycle, our first kiss, first date…most of our firsts. Courage also accompanies many of our seconds and so forth until our self confidence grows strong enough to carry us. In many things, even when our self confidence is robust, if the stakes are high enough, courage will still have to lead the way. Together they are often miraculous.
I have found if I lead with courage and toss out any need or dependency on self confidence, the entire structure of challenge changes. Many situations and such that would have paralyzed me before seem so simple now. I wonder why I never realized this, why no one ever told me. If you have struggled with this and no one has ever told you either; just lead with courage…it’s the natural way, it’s in our DNA, it’s easy and it’s FUN. Try this and then send me your stories of glory!