• Antti Vanhanen

The Two Types of Confidence

As far as I can tell, there are two types of confidence:


CONVENTIONAL CONFIDENCE


Geoff is a what most people would call a confident go-getter.


Geoff has great faith in his skills and abilities to master most situations and get the result he wants.


He is intelligent, articulate, and driven.


Geoff usually takes things head on rather than seeking to avoid them, because his belief in himself is so strong.


Occasionally, however, he does stress and get angry when things don’t go his way.


He’s so used to seeing his side prevail that when it doesn’t, it tends to get to him.


In those instances, what usually happens is that he tends to become self critical and as a result, he tries even harder.


But the harder he tries, the more forced his behavior becomes, and he sometimes struggles to improve his performance.


Every now and then, Geoff gets down on himself. He wonders what he should have done differently and whether he is starting to slip in his abilities.


He feels insecure. He wants a break.


Eventually, however, he almost always rebounds back to his usual confident and ambitious ways.


TRUE CONFIDENCE


Kevin is a naturally confident person who is almost always at ease.


Although Kevin has his share of problems, he doesn’t spend much time thinking about himself or his problems.


Kevin isn’t obsessed by particular outcomes and feelings, instead allowing things (including his own thoughts, feelings, and actions) to unfold as they do.


Deep down, he knows he is okay and will be okay regardless of what happens.


Kevin sees clearly that his happiness isn’t the result of his circumstances, which frees him from the obsessive need to be the best, fastest, strongest, sexiest or richest.


Because Kevin allows everything to be as it is, he doesn't think about himself very much.


This allows him to react naturally, playfully and spontaneously to whatever shows up.


He doesn’t get down on himself when things don’t go right, because he understands he isn’t in true control of anything, and that no matter what happens, it will be okay.


Kevin is fully present in most situations and shows up with an air of natural confidence and a sense of humor.




These are the two types of confidence.


The first type (Geoff) is about believing in yourself to get the desired outcome.


The second type (Kevin) is about knowing deep down that everything is okay and will be okay no matter what happens.


Whereas Geoff believes that he can rise beyond the requirements of the situation to ensure he gets the result he wants, Kevin is free to do his best and not spend any time or energy worrying about what happens at the end.


For Geoff, there is - deep down - always an element of insecurity underneath his confidence, because if his desired outcome is not achieved, he believes he will feel emotionally unfulfilled and lacking.


Geoff feels pressure to create a particular outcome, which creates tension in his life because he is required to think, scheme, and perform up to whatever the situation demands.


But what if he can’t?


Deep down, Geoff knows he doesn’t master everything, that there are dozens of things he’s not that good or skilled at, things that he doesn’t know.


No one does.


Geoff doesn’t see this inevitable fact as the human condition, but instead makes it personal, a thing to overcome somehow.


It is this tension between what is and what Geoff wants to be that creates Geoff's insecurity.


Kevin, meanwhile, is able to work freely, creatively and without pressure, because there is nothing that must be achieved and no pressure for him to live up to anything.


He is free to simply be as he is.


And when we simply are, we are freed from the need to have an opinion about ourselves (and even if you have one, it won’t be seem particularly important or interesting.)


This type of confidence is impenetrable, because there is no doership required.


You’re already okay.


You are at peace with whatever comes.


WHAT WAS THAT AGAIN?


Although Geoff is confident and a high-achiever, life is a series of battles or contests for him.


His confidence tends to fluctuate depending on his results, because he sees himself as the hero of his story.


Meanwhile, for Kevin life is a dance or a song, something to move along to in whatever way you see fit in the moment.


Life and happiness are seen as an expression rather than as something to be conquered or achieved.


I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend my life dancing to the divine orchestra of thoughts, feelings and circumstances than fight them every step of the way.

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