As a kid, I was particularly shy. I didn’t really have any friends – unless my mother counts – up until I was about 9 years old. A lone ranger, I was; fighting crime, taking down super villains during lunchtime, and staring at leaves fallen from nearby trees for hours on end, in the corner, with my lunch box, and a chubby tummy.
If you looked up the word “confident” in the dictionary, I’d be sitting there under the antonyms, my face representing perfectly the antithesis of confidence.
As I’ve grown with age, I’ve also grown into my skin, figuratively as well as literally. The quirks that once caused people to pick on me, to laugh at me, to bully me and to isolate me, are now, at least in my own mind, likable. While I still loathe my own existence, I’m quite fond of the person living out this nightmare. And though that last sentence may not make much sense, it does to me, and so goes the story of my life.
Anyway, and having said this through fingers – that is, my being fond of the person that I now sorta am – I still wouldn’t consider myself a confident weirdo. And, frankly, I know that I never will.
I’ve always been sceptical of confident people. Growing up, it struck me that the most “confident” kids in school – the loudest, the proudest, and the ones most likely to kick me in the shin – were also the dumbest, by my own, ever so mature estimate. Of course, this was not and could not be substantiated by anything other than my own mental discourse; however, it was an opinion that I’ve since done my best to unfold, as did the years, which shaped a path that I would eventually unite with.
And on this path, a question that recurrently perplexed me, was: Why are people, generally, so easily beguiled by confidently cadent prose, regardless of its actual substance?
Because, as the years passed and as my age unfolded accordingly, this path of thought never much fettered from its original understanding; confident people were, and very much are, in my mind, correspondingly vague, and, also, correspondingly revered.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the political arena. The leaders of our world are actually trained to sound as though they are confident in what they are saying. They have coaches telling them how to walk, how to talk, how to stand, how to be grand, and how to keep their faces plastered in an unmoving, mechanical, eerie smile; unless, that is, they are addressing a more sullen issue, which calls for a more tepid stare. And all this happens despite the assumed fact that they, as is most likely the case, have absolutely no idea what they are saying, or, in the alternate, don’t naturally believe their own words.
And the reason for this: How can one expect to win the confidence of their nation if they don’t seem to believe in their own selves?
I mean, if you really think about it, the reason that, typically at least, smarter people – whatever that means – aren’t ever so confident in the words they utter, is because naturally, intelligence, in one sense, assumes an ability to see flaws, cracks, and fallacies with much greater perspicuity, and with less of an effort. This means that, if, again using the example of a politician, was either a) genuinely intelligent, and b) genuinely sincere, they would never be able to speak with such authority, on any matter, without paying at least some attention to the foreseeable issues of their propositioning.
For instance, a scientist – well, a good scientist – will never state that something; a concept, a finding, or an observation, is flawlessly absolute. A scientist, a good scientist, knows that any current piece of understanding is fallible, and subject to the corrosive forces that the instruments of an unknown future will bring.
But no, in the political arena, where the stakes of winning people’s confidence are high, this attitude of humble uncertainty is dismissed, as it is not secure, nor does it provide a reason to gain someone’s respect.
As a species, we like certainty … and, apparently, blanketing, general statements (as I’ve just demonstrated). We are naturally inclined to gravitate toward people who represent, not something that is vacillating and unsure, but rather, something that is firm, steady and possessive of qualities that create for us a wall that provides a place to lean our person upon.
So then: Does a confident disposition necessarily equate to a lack of intelligence, or, a lack of sincerity?
And the answer, is no. Well, not necessarily.
While I would assume that a highly confident demeanour is, in most cases, a sign of insincerity or riddled mental astuteness, it is not, however, a prerequisite.
Once you aware that what you’re saying is, in and of itself, not absolute in every way, then, it is perfectly plausible that one can conduct him or herself in a confident manner, while knowing that they are, in a sense, and to phrase it with the utmost eloquence, full of shit. And more than that, it is not true that someone who does conduct him or herself in this way is necessarily insincere, either; as sincerity is, in my mind, a measure, not of what one actually says, but rather, the extent to which one believes what one says. And so, if one is aware of ones own fallibility, and willing to admit so upon questioning, then it cannot be said that the said one is necessarily insincere merely because their presentation is lined with confidence.
Wow. That was a mouthful, but there you go.
IN CONCLUSION (that was meant to be read like I was making a formal speech), if you’re lacking in self-confidence, there’s no need to fret. All it means is that a) you’re perhaps a smart little, industrious cookie, who’s not satisfied with the surface level answers that our human interaction entails, or, b) you’re not able to mask your insecurity with a phony-baloney mask purely to fool others into befriending your false self.
OR, alternatively, for something else that I’ve not discussed (like that this is only one single definition of the word ‘confidence’); either consciously, or out of ignorance. Meh.
Either way, if you are lacking in self-confidence, as confidence it is so commonly perceived, no need to give a shit. Because ultimately, considering that the self is such an ephemeral entity, constantly in a state of flux, change, growth, and decline, belief in oneself is a sham; an attachment to a past point in time that has since then ceased to be.
“It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you” – Russell Brand
Humans-are-naturally-drawn-to-confidence. And, like a mosquito is drawn to a flame, it is often the price of their misfortune.