Confidence comes from knowing that when we are faced with a situation, we will be able to figure it out. It grows out of humbleness: when we recognize how much we can learn by putting work and effort into mastering a situation, instead of thinking we already know what’s best, we will stay flexible and adjust to all possible scenarios. When we know we can tackle what’s thrown at us, then we will have confidence. Cockiness, on the other hand, is inflexible. It grows from arrogance and entitlement. It blinds us, so we don’t recognize when a situation isn’t working, and leads us to stubbornly continue down the wrong path. To strive for confidence, not cockiness, we need to keep an open mind. Life can be unpredictable, we don’t ever know it all, and others may have different perspectives that can enhance our own knowledge. Confidence means being able to seek out, recognize and adjust to new information, persevere, and believe that we will figure out our best approach as we proceed. That confidence only comes by being open to learning from many sources, and being flexible in all scenarios.
Take action: Think back to a time in your life that was difficult. Did you think everything was going to be great, only to have things crash down on you? What signs were there leading up to the situation that you ignored? In future, pay attention to those signs, adjust your strategy, and figure out a better approach.
Inspired by Tim Grover’s book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable.