25th April 2013

Life is a Confidence Game by Ian Kinnery

In almost any area of human performance confidence is the underlying trait of anyone performing at a high level. We recognise it in sport, when confidence levels are high people and individuals perform at a high level, when we feel confident our resilience is high, our ambition is high and our performance is high.
Conversely when our confidence starts to lower so too will our performance. The golfer who suddenly has a crisis of confidence when about to close out the competition ends up messing up the last few holes and throwing away what looked like a certain victory. We even have a name for it. I believe they call it the yips in golf, choking or drying up are well known concepts in life and in sport. Our confidence is likely to be highest when we are performing at our best, so when we are on a winning streak, that streak is most likely to continue. We say nothing succeeds like success for this very reason.
But confidence is mercurial in that it is here one moment and it has evaporated the next. Sometimes the very act of performing at a high level can be self defeating, we feel that we don’t deserve it, that it can’t last and guess what…. it doesn’t. So given that confidence is so central to performing at a higher level I wonder how many of us trust to luck that we will be able to draw on our resource of confidence when we need to be and how many of us have deliberate strategies to maintain and nurture that most transient and crucial of emotional states. T
he origins of the word confidence simply means “with faith”. We have the faith that we can and will do something at a high level. All faith needs to be nurtured, faith needs to be fed, faith needs some kind of basis otherwise it is even more fragile and faith that is blind is not so reliable. If we could develop some strategies to build confidence, to protect it from the knocks that life generates would that not be a serious advantage?
I wonder what strategies you could use to build and maintain your confidence? Strategies that are either conscious or unconscious but deliberately designed to help maintain and build genuine, well founded, confidence, faith in your abilities.
I am struggling to decide whether to remind you of Henry Ford’s famous words. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” or to give you one of the tennis champion Arthur Ashe’s strategies when he said “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
Perhaps I can do both.
Life is a confidence game, what are you doing to grow your confidence?