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I was fortunate enough to be back in a high school again today speaking to the new 4th year pupils (14/15yr old) about confidence. I was telling them how I believe that, for many of us, what masquerades as confidence is actually our default fight or flight response when faced by fear. Let me explain; 

Fight – when our ‘confidence’ level is driven by a fight response to fear we can end up jumpy, fidgety, aggressive, loud and over the top. It can occasionally appear like control but actually people just don’t want to argue with you! At its extreme this is bully behaviour.

Flight – When we run from the things that scare us we end up submissive, withdrawn, quiet and find ourselves accepting our fate. It appears like a lack of control, as if the world just happens to us and we can do bugger all to stop it. At its extreme this is shyness and even social anxiety.

But neither of these is actually confidence. They are responses to fear. 

Confidence is a state that comes from having no fear of the thing you are facing at that time. It is still, calm and powerful. You’ll know you have it when your head goes quiet and you find yourself in a place of effortless ease. It isn’t fidgety, it’s deliberate. It dances with fear.

Which do you do? As I said to the kids today, confidence is not a commodity. It’s not something you have. It’s something you do. Now go do more of it.

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