On Confidence (or – Don’t Be Scurred!)


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States.

If you're an American, you've heard this quote before. Probably most people in English-speaking countries have heard it as well. Have you ever really thought about it, though? I mean really took the time to analyze the message, dig some deeper meaning, find the truth in it? Probably not. This quote is absolutely 100% fact. There is nothing to fear.

Fear is a paralyzer to action. Fear is the ultimate demotivator. Fear really is the only thing to be afraid of, because fear is the only thing that keeps us from doing the things we want to do.

You want to go hiking in the mountains, but you're afraid of heights. You want to walk through the woods, but you're afraid of snakes, or spiders. You want to travel the world, but you're afraid to fly. You want to live out your dreams, but you're afraid of going broke (even though you already are). You want to hit on that girl or guy, but you're afraid of rejection. Don't be.

The feeling of achieving the pinnacle of that mountaintop far outweighs the fear you feel when you look down over the world. Nature is more scared of you than you are of it. Planes are statistically safer than cars. Money isn't real. Most people aren't scary. But you're letting your fears outweigh your confidence. Hopefully, once you've finished reading this article, that won't happen any more.

Have you ever watched an illusionist (magician who uses tricks of the eye to perform "magic") perform? Most of us are very inspired, and shocked, by the acts they perform, because what we believe we see them doing is perceived by us to be dangerous and scary. So then why don't the magicians ever appear to be scared? Because they've no reason to be. The things they do could be done by any human being on earth, "magician" or not. Their acts look scary, but in fact have very little danger involved at all. And most things tend to follow this pattern.

The way you perceive the world has more impact on how you live your life than any actual circumstances or situations you find yourself in. If you're getting mugged, with a gun stuck in your face and a hand out waiting for your wallet, what do you do? If you're fearful, you fumble around for your wallet, produce it, and as soon as the mugger turns around, you run your ass off in the other direction.

If the guy really wanted to shoot you, though, wouldn't he have just pulled the trigger and robbed your corpse? Doesn't that seem a little easier? Do you think he WANTS you to put up a fight? No. He wants your money; he just doesn't know how to ask properly. So he threatens you for it. And if you're intimidated, he gets what he wants and learns nothing. But if you ask him, "hey, how come you didn't just shoot me and rob my dead body? What do you need the money for?" you'll probably get an answer. People are nicer than you give them credit for. Even most muggers.

The problem with them is they just never learned what it means to connect with people. They know that killing is wrong, which is why they didn't just shoot you right off the bat, but they don't know how to approach or interact with people without being threatening.

So what do you do with these misguided souls? You talk to them. Find out why they need your money. Are they hungry? Would they like to go get a bite to eat instead of robbing you? Are they homeless? Would they like some help finding a warm bed, instead? Would they like to go to the bar and get a drink? Most people who are criminals aren't crazy (though of course there are some who are); they're just scared. They're scared of starving, scared of freezing to death, scared of alcohol withdrawal. The money in your pocket isn't going to help them, and they know that, but I really think that in most cases, they're not looking for your money. They're looking for someone who will give them a chance, let them prove themselves, help them connect with people and guide them to being a person worth befriending. People have an innate need to be liked and loved. It's been proven time and time again that almost no one WANTS to be hated. "Love and Belonging" is the third of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, right after eating and breathing, and then security. It is a NECESSARY aspect of life for a human being to achieve their true potential, and if you look at that chart, self-confidence comes AFTER love and belonging.

So show these people some love. Take them out to the bar; find out their story. Befriend them. Introduce them to your friends and family; take them under your wing. If you put some faith in them and show your own confidence when you're around them, it will rub off. But if you fear them, they'll fear you, and the rest of humanity as well. Nature is funny that way.

Are you scared of dogs? If so, then you've probably noticed that dogs act funny around you. They're either shy, with their tail between their legs, hiding behind their masters, or they're mean and vicious toward you; it depends on how the owner treats them. How did I know that? Well, I've owned a lot of dogs, and believe it or not, they're a lot more like people than you'd think. Have you ever heard that animals can smell fear? Well, it's partially true, as fear in people can release certain hormones, and most dogs' noses are good enough to smell it. But the real reason it seems that animals "smell" fear is that it's a natural reaction for an animal, or a person, to reciprocate whatever feeling another being is putting off.

If you show fear, people will panic with you. If you show anger, people get angry. If you're depressed, you depress whomever you're hanging out with. If you show kindness and compassion, people show it back. If you show confidence, you can inspire people to be confident.

Obviously, there are those times when people are inconsolable, can't be reasoned with; their emotions have a deathgrip on their mind and they can't be set free. But these times usually last no more than a few hours, maybe a few days at most. Most of the time, your feelings and your personality, depending on its traits, will rub off on the people you socialize with, as theirs will rub off on you. But one trait that never rubs off is lack of confidence.

A lack of confidence is like being a ghost. You can occasionally show people that you exist by flicking a light, or making a barely-audible noise, but for the most part you go unseen and unnoticed. And your problem is NOT that other people think you're unattractive, or think you're boring, or think you're worthless; it's that YOU think those things. Other people are just naturally reciprocating YOUR feelings. Which makes you feel more insecure, which makes them find you more unattractive, which makes you feel more insecure, which makes you more unattractive, and so on and so forth.

I had a rather large girl (not my type, but pretty enough, all the same) hit on me at the bar last night. She asked me to come sit and talk with her, and I agreed; I'll talk to anyone about anything. But once I got over there, she lost all confidence. She stared at her cell phone for 15, 20 minutes at a time, not saying a word. When I would bring up something to talk about, she'd listen, and respond appropriately, but she never brought up any conversation topics of her own. So I talked about my interests; the Fed, how I want to start a revolution, about my ex-fiancee, about judgement, and greed, and zombies. Then I asked what she was passionate about.

She said horses. I asked if she owned one, and she said no, because she didn't have enough land for it. I asked if she had ever worked on a horse farm, and again she said no. And when I asked why, she told me "because who would want ME to work on their horses?" Wow. We live in an area where there are TONS of farms, most with horses, but NOBODY would want to hire this girl? No way. This girl's problem was not that she wouldn't bust her butt to take care of someone's horses, but that she was too afraid to go ask someone if she could. She's so afraid of rejection that she doesn't even want to TRY to follow what she's passionate about. People do this far too often, and it makes me very sad.

Do you love your job? Does it make you happy to walk into the doors of your office every day? A few people are answering yes; but for most of you, the answer is a big, resounding HELL NO. Why? Shouldn't you love what you do for a living? How can you be really good at something you don't like doing? You can force yourself to complete your daily tasks, of course, but then you waste so much energy doing what you DON'T want to do that when you get home you're too tired to focus any energy toward your real interests. Hence, part of the reason the divorce rate is so high now. This is also part of the reason more and more kids are little assholes these days; with a big mouth full of cuss-words, and a serious sense of self-importance.

People are too drained from forcing themselves to slave away for money at a job they don't like to actually do any parenting, or love-making. So why keep doing it? For God's sake, go do something you like so when you get home you can tell your wife and kids all about your day without sounding like a damn half-asleep robot. Do what you're PASSIONATE about. Fear, like money and the federal government, only has as much power over you as you allow it to. If you don't live your life with confidence, then you'll never truly live your life. If you allow the fears of being broke, or being injured, or being rejected to control you, then they will. And if you don't, they won't.

When you get scared of doing something, always ask yourself "what's the worst that could happen?" You can come up with all kinds of wild-ass theories and hypotheticals, but 99% of the time, none of these things will happen. And 99% of the time, you're overanalyzing, letting your fear be your security blanket, so you don't have to deal with any potential consequences. But you won't fall off the mountaintop; you won't get a deadly spider bite; your plane won't crash; you won't starve or freeze from being broke; and you won't get utterly shut-down by that cute girl/guy at the bar. Because people are better than that. YOU are better than that, smarter than that.

If you really analyze your actions, you will see that fear is always what keeps you from acting. I can't do this because I'm afraid of _______. But there's nothing to fear. "The worst that could happen" almost never comes to pass. And if you're passionate about something, you'll encounter hardships and strife, but when all is said and done, you'll still be doing something you love, and you'll be driven to figure out how to do it again without the hardships. That's the beauty of the human mind.

We can always fix any problems we have, but not if we're too scared to find or face the problems in the first place. Be fearless. Do what you want to do instead of what you're told you should be doing. You can always find 10,000 reasons that something can't work, but it only takes one solution. Be fearless.

Author: Jeremy Blackbird http://forthegreatergoodblog.com