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The Myth of Confidence

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Postby YoucancallmeAl » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:02 pm

globetrotter wrote:"So here’s the truth about confidence: You can only have confidence when other people give it to you. "

You do not get confidence via someone else giving it to you. That is totally wrong.

Confidence is the belief in yourself that you can do something that you have never done before, and that you can do it well.

Windsurf, rock climb, f**k that hot chick, run a 10k, be a DJ with no training, whatever.

It's a mixture of emotion and spirit and you need to find within yourself what you believe you can do without practice first. That is likely the problem. You don't have any FAITH or BELIEF in yourself, in your ability to just go out and begin doing something with little or no practice, and that you can do said thing well. You think that you need TO LEARN and read and study something first.

No. Wrong.

This state of affairs is common among the very intelligent who live in their heads and write lengthy, well-written posts.

Stop thinking.
Stop writing.
Stop analyzing.

Do or Do Not.
There is no 'Try'.

When I was 22 I knew that I was the best Alternative DJ in my city. I knew that I had the talent and the knowledge and that I was at the right place at the right time.

And I was.

People still remember my music sets and clubs, 25 years later.

How did 'I know'? 'I just knew'. This is a knowing that is far far beyond rational thinking. You cannot get there with analysis and prose and writing about it. It either 'is' or it 'is not'.

Go out and do something, and keep chaging that something until you find what it is that you are very good at. You seem to have no awareness of this within yourself, thus the best solution is trial and error.

Try everything, and YES I do mean EVERYTHING.

That's something you can do until age 35 or so. Work at every job you can think of. Try every single hobby out there.

"Suddenly, all the women on the dating shows and in the advice columns are telling us how much they’re attracted to this mysterious new quality called confidence. And conversely, how the lack of confidence is a big turn-off. "

You are incorrect in your assessment. Women have always been attracted to confidence. It is not mysterious and it's not new. Not in 2005 and not in 2010.

Confidence is just the air about you that speaks silently 'I know what I am doing in XXX situation'. You can most definitely have it without success, and that is NOT false confidence. It is confidence before the success reveals itself. I was like this when I was a DJ. Some called me arrogant and there was some truth to that. However, if you knew that you had the skills to get everyone to dance AT WILL, that you could pick a couple out of the crowd and make them hookup and go home together with your music AT WILL, that you could play through the alphabet backwards and forwards AT WILL and still pack the floor; if you knew you could clear them out to get them to all rush the bar and spend money and then 6 minutes later pack them all in again, and you knew this when it was the first week and you had 8 customers and not 800, THAT'S confidence...and you WOULD be arrogant.


Globe, you're confusing two different kinds of confidence. Your talking about confidence in one's mechanical skills, I'm talking about social confidence, the belief that others will accept and respond well to you. And THIS is what 99.9% of people mean when they talk about "being confident". I thought I was making that obvious, but you missed it. (deliberately?)

Other forms of confidence are irrelevant to this issue. For example, if you’ve mastered the Klingon language or are an expert in stamp collecting, you may be very confident in your ability. But that confidence CAN NOT translate into social confidence unless others respect, admire, and reward you for your abilities. The average Klingon expert is more likely to be shunned, particularly by the opposite sex, rather than admired.

But even in your example, you are wrong. So you had confidence in your DJ abilities and you turned out to be right. The fallacy in your logic is that your confidence had anything to do with it. It didn't. Haven't you ever met someone who thought they were a good DJ and yet they sucked? Lots of people have had confidence in their abilities and turned out to be wrong. I'm one of them. When I was young I used to believe I was a really good songwriter. So I spent thousands of dollars recording demos and even self-released an EP. I sent it to local papers to get reviewed. And they savaged it. They mercilessly pointed out all the flaws and weaknesses in my writing, singing, and playing. I was shocked. I expected high praise and I got slammed instead. I had confidence. But my confidence was proven to be delusional.

How could I have known? After all, my friends and family told me my songs were good. In retrospect, it's obvious they only told me what they thought I wanted to hear instead of being honest with me, which would have been much more useful. And there are millions who are just as falsely confident as I was. Haven't you ever watched the American Idol audition shows? It's as funny as it is heartbreaking. Here are all these supremely confident "singers" who have believed all their lives that they have a great vocal talent only to end up making complete asses of themselves. How'd all that confidence work out for them, Globetrotter??? Huh? Tell me. How useful was their confidence???

>'Do or Do Not.
There is no 'Try'.


That nonsense is only true in the fantasy world of Star Wars. Here in reality, we don't have "the force" to fall back on.

>Women have always been attracted to confidence. It is not mysterious and it's not new.

Maybe so. But only in recent years has the "just be confident" mantra been so popular. And only in recent years have women mentioned confidence as an attractive feature. Weren't you there 15 or 20 years ago? Do you remember anyone talking about confidence then? I don't.

And again: It's not really confidence that they're attracted to. They are attracted to the qualities (looks, money, social skills, fashion sense, etc) that produce confidence. When women say they are attracted to confidence, they are either lying to themselves or they are just trying to appear less shallow than they really are. After all, if they were honest and said they were attracted to looks and money, people would think (know) they were just shallow and/or goldiggers. So saying they like "confidence" is a convenient way to hide their shallowness.
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Postby YoucancallmeAl » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:22 pm

Repatriate wrote:
YoucancallmeAl wrote:In the case of the boxers, in far more than 9 times out of 10 if they have near identical success rates then their confidence levels will be near identical as well. And in some cases, the extra confidence could be a hindrance. The boxer who feels surest of victory might let his guard down or not try as hard, giving his less confident opponent an advantage.

They have sports psychologists that actually diagnose sub optimal performance based on some mental block. It's a very real thing. A very confident individual who is a professional still isn't going to make those mistakes. What you're talking about is cockiness and arrogance. Arrogance is not confidence and vice versa.


I'm glad you brought that up. So how do you tell the difference?
Boxer A looks at his opponent and thinks "I'm a better fighter than this guy. I can beat him."
Is he confident or arrogant? And where do you draw the line?
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Postby MrPeabody » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:15 pm

The boxer who wins, is the one who has trained harder. Typically, both boxers are evenly matched physically, and they fight to a draw until the later rounds. The one who gets tired first drops his guard long enough for the less exhausted boxer to connect with a punch. This is good for the sport of boxing since you usually have a long drawn out fight. I doubt “confidenceâ€￾ has much to do with it, since to get to that level, both fighters have to be confident of their abilities. It is the long hours of training that determines the fight. Again, airy fairy pop psychology misses the point.
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Postby ssjparris » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:41 pm

yes yes confidence definitely is attractive to women. on the other hand it really does not work to attract them. they want you to have it when your together with them but its just not enough for them to get dates with you. secondly, i totally agree to what you are saying about confidence that can be gained by social approval. it is all a state of mind to create confidence yourself. it just you need a barrier to block out all the attacks coming towards your mind especially from american people. they love to make you feel stupid and the society is just uncomfortable to live in too.
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Postby globetrotter » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:22 am

djfourmoney wrote:I didn't like the electronica movement enough to get deeply involved which would have taken my club career further.


If I ever make my way to the LA Basin again, we should have drinks and share stories.

One of the things that ends many a DJ career is what you posted - you get tired of having to re-tool and learn ANOTHER new genre and style. I called it a day when rave came and went and then techno and then.... I quit one month before the first mp3's were posted to USENET back in 1998.

...and you get old.

I worked with Knuckles in 1994. Terminator X also. Unreal. So smooth. Effortless. But Frankie was getting old and he looked it. Moby has the skin of an old man - that paper thin, rice wafer quality. Too many nights of X, smoke machines and Intellabeams.
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Postby globetrotter » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:37 am

YoucancallmeAl wrote:
globetrotter wrote:"So here’s the truth about confidence: You can only have confidence when other people give it to you. "
How'd all that confidence work out for them, Globetrotter??? Huh? Tell me. How useful was their confidence???

>'Do or Do Not.
There is no 'Try'.


That nonsense is only true in the fantasy world of Star Wars. Here in reality, we don't have "the force" to fall back on.


As I wrote, you are one of those intelligent guys who has no faith or belief in himself unless someone tells you that you are good. I cannot fix this, no one can.

If you lack the age, wisdom and life experience to realize that 'Do or Do Not, There is no Try' is actually thousands of years old and not from Star Wars, then you are going to be blind to my wisdom. This concept is not glib, it's not pop psych bs, it has nothing to do with The Force or George Lucas. It's eastern philosophy and it is about 3,000 years old.

It has to do with intent of effort.
If you 'try' you are guaranteeing failure.
If your intent is to succeed and learn from any mistakes then you are on the right path.

Do this exercise:

1) Try to pick up your wallet off the table.
2) You cannot.
3) You can either pick it up, or
4) not pick it up.

Once you understand this, you will understand the rest of what I am writing.
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Postby globetrotter » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:46 am

YoucancallmeAl wrote:I'm glad you brought that up. So how do you tell the difference?
Boxer A looks at his opponent and thinks "I'm a better fighter than this guy. I can beat him."
Is he confident or arrogant? And where do you draw the line?


You can tell the difference by attitude, vibe, body language, facial expression, verbal tone, mannerisms and a million other subtle clues.

The very very confident are very quiet, very smooth in mannerism, and it shows.
I saw the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers play in October of 2008 in L.A. The instant the Cubs hit the field I knew that they were going to lose based upon their body language alone.

How do you learn this?

You live a long time.
You spend a lot of time around people. Bars. Clubs. Social Events. Restaurants.
You play poker face to face. Nothing hones the B.S. Meter better than playing poker.
You gather business experience.

Needless to say spending all day online is NOT how to learn this.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:37 pm

I think the OP is basically saying that confidence is a result and not a cause. I also think those who claim to disagree are actually misunderstanding what the OP was saying, and then siting examples that agree with him.

LIke the boxing or MMA match. Sure the guy with more confidence may win, but both fighters probably have whatever confidence they have because they already had fights and won. I doubt any great fighter had such confidence in his first fight, real or in practice. Training builds confidence too.

I am sure Arnold had a lot more confidence in his 6th Mr. Olympia win that in his first.

I think Ladislav's awesome post really says it all. There is a false confidence, which is an act. That of the braggart. And wherever we find a boastful person, we find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid. That's not real confidence.

So I agree that confidence is a result and not a cause.

Also I would add, as far as "there is no try", if you study language as much as I, you will notice many old languages don't even have a word for "try". You either do something or you don't.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:04 pm

Globetrotter, you are not understanding the main point.

Confidence isn't like a light switch you flip on and off. If it were, everyone would have it flipped on. Do you disagree with that?

The OP is making a valid point. Confidence in pop American psychology is just a fad.

You can't just spring confidence from nothing. It has to be BASED ON SOMETHING, even if it's something small, it has to be something.

Globetrotter, if you play a sport that you suck at, are you going to be confident, if you know you're going to lose and are way outmatched? No of course not. You're going to lose and you know it.

But if you're really good at a sport, like Pete Sampras is in tennis, then you will have confidence for a good reason.

You can't just be confident for no reason.

There are different types of confidence of course. There is also self-esteem and self-love too, which are deeper issues that are not dictated by success.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:14 pm

Globetrotter,
Question: If you were to play Michael Jordan one on one in basketball, would you feel "confident" about winning?

Why or why not?

If not, could I blame you for not feeling confident about winning?
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Postby ladislav » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:01 am

Insisting that others be/look/act confident all the time may also lead to them "getting confidence" fast by humiliating others and putting others down. This is probably one of the main causes of all kinds of harassment and discrimination
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Postby MrPeabody » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:16 am

Also, the word “confidenceâ€￾ is used in America as an escape for conmen. If I sell you an expensive $5000 PUA course, and it doesn’t work, then I can just tell you that it’s your fault for not applying the principles and getting confidence. I fulfilled my end of the contract by providing the material. The fact that it is bullshit and doesn’t work is your problem. The word “confidenceâ€￾ implies that you have all the control, whereas I only have the $5000. Notice that people in poverty in Catholic third world countries actually have some ability to be happy, because they believe in fate, and that they have no control over what happens to them, but discover that they actually can still be happy in the moment. Americans need to control everything and assume that they can control everything – and feel like miserable failures if they don’t. Maybe confidence has some better meaning in another culture like the Philippines, but then you don’t even have to use the word there.
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Postby globetrotter » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:08 am

Winston wrote:Globetrotter, you are not understanding the main point.

Confidence isn't like a light switch you flip on and off. If it were, everyone would have it flipped on. Do you disagree with that?


You and he are unable to understand what I am writing.

You can't just spring confidence from nothing. It has to be BASED ON SOMETHING, even if it's something small, it has to be something.


You either did not read what I wrote or you have ignored it. I had complete confidence that I would be able to move to China, get a job, and be happy here. I had this attitude before I moved to China. I had never moved to China before. Your reasoning is flawed, I am sorry to say. My previous experiences in life gave me the confidence to do something new - something that I had never tried before.

When I first began as a DJ, as I wrote, I just knew I was good. Before I ever did it, before I ever practiced. I had the confidence that I was good at it, before I actually did it. And I was correct. This confidence was not based upon anything but my belief in myself. Pure belief in my self. That was all.

That is what confidence is, the belief in ones self to be able to do something that you have not done before.

Like the OP, you are an intelligent guy who has zero confidence. You think (wrongly) that confidence must be based upon something. You get in an infinite intellectual loop and think, talk and debate yourself to death. To you, you must do something well first. But you think you cannot do something well if you lack confidence, and you think that you cannot get confidence unless you can do something well, thus you think you are doomed and f***ed and will lack confidence forever as you have convinced yourself that it is impossible.

I can't change this. Arguing about it, talking about it, words, debate, intelligence - all of that is meaningless, Winston.

You lack confidence because you don't believe in yourself. That is all it is.

You will gain confidence once you believe in youself, and this is not conditional upon you being, doing or having any one thing or accomplishment.

You don't believe in yourself. I get that. I am not surprised considering the tenor of your posts and stories.

Globetrotter, if you play a sport that you suck at, are you going to be confident, if you know you're going to lose and are way outmatched? No of course not. You're going to lose and you know it.


You don't understand confidence. You just described COMPETENCE and ABILITY. Different.

You can't just be confident for no reason.


Yes you can. It is called self-belief in yourself, which is different than self-esteem.

I have the confidence that I can move anywhere on this planet, live, work and get a job; be happy, get a girl. This is based upon my internal belief in myself - nothing else. I certainly don't speak 20 languages or have $2 million to play with. I have not lived everywhere. Until last year I had only lived in the USA. By your reasoning it is impossible to do something before you do it. More analysis paralysis, again - from the very smart guys with no confidence.

I cannot help you. No one can. You must learn this on your own.

Debating, writing intelligently, being right, arguing with me - it is all pointless, Winston.

Do or Do Not. There is not Try.

The only person who can give you confidence is YOURSELF. No one else can. No external event can. Your confidence is not based upon EXTERNAL events or factors.
Last edited by globetrotter on Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby globetrotter » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:26 am

Winston wrote:Globetrotter,
Question: If you were to play Michael Jordan one on one in basketball, would you feel "confident" about winning?

Why or why not?

If not, could I blame you for not feeling confident about winning?


Would I feel confident? Yes.

Is it realistic to think that I would win? That is not probable.

Also, you need to know that I am 6'3" and weigh about 235. I could keep up, a little, with a Michael Jordan. 8 years ago I could leg press 1080 pounds for 17 reps. Not now, tho. I could not, however, jump 48 inches. Never had much vertical jump.

Also there are guys who play pick up who ARE just as good as Jordan, but they lack the focus to play in the NBA, or they don't care, or they have other interests, or whatever. Video abounds of guys beating professionals in one-on-one pickup games for 15 points or so.

You are describing being intimidated by someone else's ability and reputation. Again, that's not confidence.

Winston, you are too smart to understand this.

Confidence is not related to your intelligence and you cannot think your way to confidence. This is your error. Stop thinking and analyzing and finding examples.

Confidence is not related to whether you win or not. It USUALLY increases if you win over and over, but you can be very confident and lose, or unconfident and win.

Because you lack the wisdom and experience, anything I say will be interpreted by your intelligence as pop psych b.s.

So if I tell you:

Confidence comes from within.

You will recall all the pop gurus who have said the same thing.

What you fail to grasp is that the concept 'Confidence comes from within' is thousands of years old. Kongzi knew it. Plato did. All the great philosophers did. Jesus, too.

Again, you are currently incapable of understanding this at this stage in your life.

Only time, growth and wisdom will (maybe) allow you to understand what I am posting.

This is an unfortunate side-effect of all great wisdom.

When it is retold to those who don't yet understand, it appears to them (to you and the OP) as nonsense, bullshit, or Pop Psychobabble.

It is so simple that the very intelligent (again, you and the OP) over think it and drive it into the ground with meaningless analysis.

You think it cannot be so because it is not a complex idea that your intellect enjoys thinking about, writing about, debating about.

"Do or Do Not. There is No Try."

Not much there to think about, is there? Not complex at all.

You and the OP are not yet ready.

When you are, both of you will understand (Get It), and both of you will have confidence.

I hope that you both do.
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Postby Repatriate » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:00 am

Bravo, I think Globetrotter summed it up.

One of the fundamental problems I see here is that people keep making the chicken or the egg argument. People are saying that someone can't (or shouldn't) be confident if they don't have any achievement or talent to back it up with and that it's "false" confidence. In a way people in this thread are implying that only talented and successful people have genuine confidence? It makes no sense.

This isn't a world populated by only talented people who go on to become successful. You can't persevere or motivate yourself without confidence. If you believe everything you do is limited then you will never go beyond a certain point. Like I said the mental block is a real thing.

The "pros" are filled with people who aren't innately athletically gifted but possess a good ethic and confident determination that improved their skill set to compete at a certain level. Some started young which is why they had a long period to cultivate that confidence. That's called self development and progression. Without any confidence it's an uphill battle.

One thing that I admire about Japanese culture is that in the past they did believe in this dogged perseverance. This inner confidence. Go look up Yamato Damashi.
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