So what is confidence, you might ask? Well, confidence is getting hired. Confidence is jumping from an airplane. Confidence is performing in front of thousands of people. Confidence is talking to that girl you think is hot. Confidence is taking risks. Confidence is confronting people you have an issue with. Confidence is being comfortable with who you are. Confidence is tearing up your note cards while giving a speech. Confidence can get you further in the world because no one wants to hire or be around someone who is uncertain of his capabilities. No one wants to hire a guy who is afraid to talk to customers. No one wants to date a guy who apologizes for being himself. Confident people stand out. Confident people aren’t shy and they aren’t ashamed of who they are and what they have to offer (Kanter).
Anyone can be confident, too. There are no excuses. As some anonymous person once said, “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.” If Christopher Walken or Willem Dafoe (the Green Goblin from Spider-Man) can become famous with faces like that, then you surely can get through whatever you’re trying to accomplish in life. How about Danny Davito? How about Michael Moore? Drew Carry? Rick Moranis? John Heder from Napoleon Dynamite? Steven Tyler of Aerosmith? If someone as nerdy as Bill Gates can be…Bill Gates, then you have no excuse. Confidence is not who you are, it’s how you envision who you are and how you use your credentials.
On a side note, confidence can also make you seem funny. One method to this, as commonly used by comedian Dane Cook, is to yell everything you say. He simply goes on stage and yells about every day happenings. An example might be, “This morning I put on A BUTTON-UP SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS WITH THE HOLES IN THE KNEES! You know what I like about holes in the knees? I like to think about the POOR LITTLE ASIAN KIDS WHO ARE SITTING IN THE FACTORIES PUTTING HOLES INTO JEANS! AHHHH!!! And then I HAD SOME BREAKFAST!”
This is truly the trickiest part of the art of confidence. First, you need to analyze yourself. What are you good at? What are your good qualities? What are your bad qualities? What do you look like? How much money do you have? Not that any of those things matter when you have confidence, but you need to analyze them before you can properly use it. You do not want to show any vulnerability but instead, you want to work with your bad qualities and make them be in your favor. If you’re 5’9 and weigh 350 pounds and you are joking about being a short guy, it’s not going to cut it. It’s a deflection of insecurity about your weight and everyone can see right through it. If you, instead, joke about how you camp out at the bakery, everyone is laughing with you and you’ve just built up your confidence. Maybe you can even get some tattoos of ice cream cones and popcorn to show everyone that you’re okay with who you are.
But I realize not everyone is a 5’9 350 lb man, and there are other situations to be addressed. One way people work on their confidence is through practice and experience. If you have a fear of something, work through it. If you’re afraid of crowds, expose yourself to them more often and your fear will eventually pass. Keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you make yourself look stupid and try again. Confidence comes much more naturally to some people than others, but once again, claiming a handicap is not excusable. Work with what you have, emphasize your strong points, play along with your weak points, and don’t fall victim to irrational fear.
Now that you have your confidence, you need to learn where and how to use it. As singer/songwriter for the Lawrence Arms, Brendan Kelly, pointed out in his blog, confidence is the driving force behind every advancement made in human history. It’s risk-taking. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in a jet plane because of confidence. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery because of confidence. The US Constitution wouldn’t have been written if it were not for confidence. Music would have never evolved if people weren’t confident enough to try something new. Shaun White would have never gotten his snowboard off the ground without confidence. No one would ever get laid if they weren’t confident enough to approach the person they want to sleep with and say, “Hey! I’d love to have sex with you!” And without that, none of us would even exist (Kelly) (Raduga).
Indiana Jones would not have gotten across that invisible bridge in the Last Crusade and gotten the Holy Grail if it wasn’t for confidence! In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith’s character, Chris, went to an interview with a shirt covered in paint on and with his confidence, he got the job. The interviewer asked him, “What would you say if a guy walked into an interview without a shirt on and I hired him?” To that, Will Smith replied, “He must’ve had on some really nice pants.” That is confidence at work.
Another thing that Brendan Kelly frequently preaches is that the only thing women find attractive in men is confidence. One might argue that women are attracted to money. No, women are attracted to the confidence that comes with having money. One might argue that women are into guys with good looks. Wrong again. Women are attracted to the confidence that comes with having good looks. Take Nick George as an example as to why good looks isn’t the only important factor. Confidence is missing. So in order to get that girl you want, you must have confidence in yourself. Do not point out when you feel awkward. Don’t bring up things from the past. Don’t ask if you’re doing alright. Instead, know that you’re doing alright. Know that you can get with this girl and make her happy. And really, same thing goes with girls trying to get with guys (though confidence isn’t all guys look for, to be honest) (Kelly).
All of these things boil down to risk-taking. Take risks. Do things that no one has done before. Do things that you have never done before. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and only one thing in each person’s life will kill them but chances are, taking one risk to move up in the world isn’t going to be that one thing. Be spontaneous. Be reckless if that’s what the situation calls for. If your boss is telling you to work overtime, shoot out his headlights. When he asks if you did it, look him right in the eye and say, “Yes, sir. And if you don’t quit giving me hours after 10, I’m taking a crowbar to your windows.” Chances are you won’t be getting any more late night shifts from that guy.