Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Illusion Of Confidence


The audience’s deafening applause made Joe’s palms sweat. He hadn’t been that nervous since the time he had to tell his girl friend’s (and now wife) father that she was pregnant, or since he had to kick the game winning field goal in his high school game. He knew this because it was the last time his abdomen twitched simultaneously with his right eyelid. Slowly, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and went out to tell deliver his first line. That night at the “improv”, in front of the largest audience yet, Joe gave the best performance he knew how. At one time Joe would have been considered the timid fellow scared of his own shadow. However, this was before he mastered the Illusion of Confidence.

Interestingly enough, we rarely consider ourselves “confidence” in a given situation. Mostly, we measure some level of un-confidence. When we are participating in activities in which one might explain us as confidence, everything seems to FLOW very naturally and our confidence is, indeed, – effortless.

If you are by yourself, you can neither be confident or un-confident. Your level of so-called “confidence” is completely neutral. Therefore, we may deduce that confidence, in reality, is based upon other people’s perception.

The example of Joe shows us that many different situations in life will be faced and all will greet us with a certain amount of uncertainty. Our level of confidence that others perceive in us, however, does not have to vary. Even in a situation in which we may feel very unsure of ourselves, rest assured the confidence we display is not a reflection of how unsure you feel, but of how unsure you are perceived. The outcome is fairly negligible. Most others do not care if you win, lose, make a fool of yourself, or look great as long as it doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable.

Take this with you. Confidence is an illusion. Try even faking your confidence if you feel any fear or uncertainty in a given situation. You will find, soon your “faking” will turn into your effortless reality. With many holiday gatherings and possible encounters with odd family members you can have a great time practicing your skills of illusion!

Happy Holidays to all and thank you for reading Living Infinitely.

27 comments:

Swubird said...

Very good post and, as always, loaded with good advice. In my experience the best remedy for the lack of confidence is familiarity.

Merry Christmas, and remember...

My the Force be with you.

Sherer said...

Ah the force is strong with me! Thank you SWUbird merry christmas to you as well.

Jesse

miruspeg said...

What an interesting post Jesse.
I often feel unconfident when addressing a group of people, but you are right when I am just being myself my confidence is neutral.

Excellent analogy about what other people think. I would never have thought of confidence as an illusion.

The mime artist creates an illusion. When my confidence lapses I will think of the mime artist which will then bring this post back to mind.

Happy holidays to you too Jesse.
Peggy

Healingstones said...

Interesting post. I consider myself fairly confident - but there have been many times when I have just lost it. It has evaporated into thin air - and yet nothing has changed - only my perception of me. Perhaps the key is detachment. When we focus too much on outcomes our confidence may falter. When we let go and just be - confidence is our natural state.

Sherer said...

Ah, a very nice sign post to help your memory! Often we tend to be much better at recalling images then we are of remembering things we simply read. Thank you fo ryou comments they are very helpful to the overall point of the post.

Jesse

Sherer said...

Healingstones,

Excellent point you make! Detachment seems to be one of those funny paradox(i) (i am not sure on the plurality of that word).

Seems to me that when we view things out of the context of our own ego ridden self obsessed mind, the world becomes much clearer.

Thank you for the insightful comment.

Jesse

Caroline said...

Confidence, like fear is an illusion. You give it the power (or lack of power). Great post and good material to think about (as usual). Have a wonderful holiday!

Sherer said...

Caroline,

A great point you make! Fear too is simply an illusion created by some selfish place inside us i imagine.

Happy Holidays Carol (caroline for short I feel we are friends)

Jesse

Bob Johnson said...

Wise words,again coming from somebody who has lived them. I made similar conclusions through playing music on stage, used to shake in my boots finally I just decided to do my best and not to trouble myself with how I felt others were perceiving me.

Sherer said...

Bob,

Playing music on stage can be a frightful thing. What if I mess up - freeze in panic - or play the wrong notes. Well someone might remember it for a week and you may regret it for the rest of your life! Thanks for the comment my good man.

Jesse

Caroline said...

Ahhhhhhhhh...not Carol!! You can call me Carrie.

Have a wonderful Xmas and New Year!

Sherer said...

Ahh!!! I am so sorry.... my apologies.

Anne Vis said...

Interesting blog! I think you need an actual memory of feeling confident in order to be able to reproduce it and have the "fake it until you make it" mechanism work properly ...

Sherer said...

Anne,


Ah! a very good point you make there. How could one feel confident if they didnt know what it means to feel confident?!! However, if one took a situation in which one felt confident and really remembered what it was like then perhaps those feelings could be duplicated and replace the general lack of confident feelings. I like that.

Thank you for the insightful comment.

Jesse

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

This really hits a spot with me as I tend to be insecure and lack confidence even when there is no reason for it. Illusion-I am going to remember this and fake it! Another brilliant post but I must say I will always love you playing the piano.

Sherer said...

healthnut, you are right its pretty hard to top some smooth piano playing! it should have been my last post.... go out with a bang!!! haha naw... time to raise the bar! thanks heidi

Sherer said...

healthnut, you are right its pretty hard to top some smooth piano playing! it should have been my last post.... go out with a bang!!! haha naw... time to raise the bar! thanks heidi

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

This is a great post. I never really thought much of reality and illusion when it cones to confidence, but in the grand scheme of things, what is truly real anyway?

We all live in our own made up worlds, it is how people, as you seem to indicate, perceive us to be, and yet, it does not mean that their perception is anymore real than what what we have offered them.

T

Sherer said...

T,


Thank you very much for you kind words. Your insight is most useful. I understand exactly what you mean when you say what really is real anyway. It seems even our idea of reality can be somewhat relative. or can it..... Thanks for stopping by.

Jesse

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

Just wanted to stop by and say hello! Where are you? Miss your posts!

Betty said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Betty


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Sherer said...

Heidi,

I know I am totally dropping the ball. Work is CRAZY!!!!!! but fun. Thanks for stopping by.

Jesse

Sherer said...

Betty,


I thank you very much for leaving a comment. I really like readers to be a part of the discussion as it adds much.

Jesse

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

So glad to see you back and stopping by my blog. I need the beat the blues foods too right now. I think it is this dreary winter. I am going to go watch you play the piano for some inspiration. I hope you are doing well and I am waiting for some inspiration from you as I am running a little low.

J Sherer said...

A good analogy that works with your assessment (which is excellent) is the "Confidence Game" or the "con." In essence, you "con" people into believing something. You give them confidence in you, even if you're a dirty rotten liar.

The only other area where confidence is actually something we face ourselves rather than off-put onto others is through something that may threaten our well-being.

Case in point: I'm completely unconfident in my ability to walk along the edge of a steep cliff. The same case could be made of a time of war and our ability to survive it.

At that point, though, our confidence is misplaced, because it is in ourselves. True confidence comes from something greater, I think.

Great post, brother.

Sherer said...

An interesting point here. When our "reality" becomes distorted, the only thing we can rely is the confidence which comes from the source, from the infinite. It must be this way, because I believe we can determine that everything must come from this sigularity.

Jesse

adam schindler said...

I have recently come upon a maintainable confidence. Mine came after 10-15 years spent fixating on suffering. I did not abandon my negative outlook no matter how miserable, hopeless, and suicide ridden it got. Now i can see the solution, I improve situations everywhere i go, rythmicly constant in an auto piloted mentality.

The problem with true confidence, is that people of the modern age have gone fucking sideways. If you are sure of yourself, and things appear to work out for you through this, there are others who have come to define themselves disadvantaged. It is in such a self conception that will benefit their social role to sabatauge whatever envirnmental structure approapriates mental consistancy. Somehow things have shaped into confidence summing to the defeat of others rather than a relief to others. Natural human being is dead, we mature feeding on three thousand years of intellectual and moral traditions that can only be tangably measured by the dead rotten bodies of our ancestors, who built a system where its more beneficial to respond to preconceptions and general assumption than it is to openly explore the physically animate state of perspecting our existance can will constant and whole creation from