on confidence

The phrase ‘girls like a guy who’s confident’ is something I’ve been hearing a lot recently. I’m sure most of you guys have heard it at some point in your life, either from your dads or older guys.

My gut reaction whenever I hear that phrase is “I’m confident, I make decisions all the time!” But I’m starting to realise that being confident and assertively putting your foot down are two different things (and those of you who know me would probably chuckle at the thought of me putting my foot down).

On the contrary I think putting your foot down, being assertive, going into a situation guns blazing, making tough calls – all these things don’t necessarily come from confidence. They may even stem from lack of confidence. Who here hasn’t gone through trying to BS their way out of a sticky situation and lying louder and louder as things get messier and messier?

I think confidence comes from foreknowledge. Being informed gives you confidence, knowing what you’re up against gives you confidence. Say there’s a man who’s lost and needs to find his way, who would be the more confident man – the one who bluffs his way there, or the one who sits down and finds out the way and then confidently goes?

Now whether or not foreknowledge translates to sound action is another story. It’s entirely possible to be confronted with a difficult decision, to inform yourself on all possible choices and outcomes, and then become paralysed with the knowledge! I guess in that case it becomes less about being confident and more about being prudent and judicious.

But anyway confidence, I’m increasingly thinking, is less a matter of shoot-first-ask-questions-later, chest-thumping assertiveness, and more about finding things out so you can confidently make choices based on that knowledge.

Being informed and being confident go hand-in-hand!

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