Confidence is one of the words we throw around without knowing what the heck we are talking about.
In fact, it probably best approached by the symptoms of what’s there when we are NOT confident.
According to wikipedia, confidence is this
- the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
“we had every confidence in the staff”
synonyms: trust, belief, faith, credence, conviction
“I have little confidence in these figures”
antonyms: skepticism, distrust
- the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
“it is not possible to say with confidence how much of the increase in sea levels is due to melting glaciers”
- a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
“she’s brimming with confidence”
synonyms: self-assurance, self-confidence, self-possession, assertiveness;
The first meaning is a belief, the second is what Osho talks about in the below article, and the third is what I’d like to cause for you. In the movie, Bagdad Cafe, the German woman is confident in the third way, the black woman (sorry, forgot her name) is confident in the first way…
Why not the first and the second? Because both are a sign of no intelligence: you can never be sure of another, or the truth.
The third, on the other hand, is based on evidence and attitude: that you have gone through similar things before and came out alive and maybe even winning, and you knowing yourself that when the going gets tough the tough finds a way to get goind.
I am not confident in the first two ways… in fact, you could call me a negative thinker: my view is so dim about how reliable other people are, and also a quite realistic view of how much we can see from the truth…
But the third way I am extremely confident most of the time.
What is it like to be confident the third way? Does it mean that I don’t have fear, anxiety, trepidation about choices? Does it mean that even after choosing I am sure I have chosen the right thing?
Does it mean that I am sure I can win every game, every battle, every argument? For from it.
Instead it means that
- I know that I can recover from a setback and even start over again, because I have, several times before
- I know that I will keep my eyes open, always monitoring if the path I am on is going to someplace worth going
- I know that if it is to be, it is up to me… and the magic of that statement is, that no one is coming to rescue me, so I have no back doors open
- I know myself and my abilities enough that I can make lemonade of any lemons I get from my choices… no sweat.
This is what you want to aspire for.
What do you need? You need to become flexible.
- You need to abandon “knowledge” and you need to foster and strengthen thinking on your feet, with your own head.
- You need to give up your impossible standards that keep you glued to the spot, so you’ll never find out if you can… because you never move.
- You need to concentrate on becoming, instead of the “goal” whether it is a place, a feeling, a number, a person… focus on becoming and you’ll go through life winning regardless of the circumstances.
Here is Osho’s talk transcribed on Confidence. Osho is answering a question… towards the end of the talk the questioner clarifies his question…
Osho on Confidence
In fact, we don’t need as much confidence as we think we need.
Confidence can either be a great quality or it can be a disquality to some. For example, foolish people are always more confident than intelligent people. Stupidity has a certain confidence to it. Foolish people are more stubborn, and because they are blind, because they can’t see, they rush anywhere – even where angels fear to tread.
A man who is intelligent is bound to have a little hesitancy in him. Intelligence is hesitant. That simply shows that there are millions of opportunities, millions of alternatives, and one has to choose. Every choice is arbitrary so a certain lack of confidence is bound to be there. The more intelligent you are, the more you will feel it.
So not all confidence is good. Ninety-nine percent of confidence is foolish. Only one percent is good, and that one percent is never absolute. That one percent is always hesitant because there are really so many alternatives. You are always standing on the cross-roads, not knowing which road will really be the right one. How can you be confident? Why do you expect to be confident? All roads look almost the same but one has to choose. It is a gambler’s choice. But that’s how life is – and it is good that it is that way. If everything was clean-cut, preplanned, prefabricated, and you were just given instructions – ’Move right and left and do this and that’ – there would be confidence but of what use would it be? The thrill would be lost. There would be no light in life then. It would be a dead routine.
Life is always thrilling because each step brings you to another cross-roads… again so many roads, again you have to choose. You start trembling. Will the choice be right or not? How to be rightly confident then? To h rightly confident is to think about all the alternatives and whatsoever you feel is a little better than the others….
Don’t ask for absolutely good and absolutely wrong. In life there is nothing like that. It is only percentage; one is only a little better than the other, that’s all. Life is not divided like two polarities – good and bad. There are a thousand and one situations between good and bad. So just look around objectively, silently, feelingly, see every possibility, unworried, and whatsoever feels a little bit better than others, move on it. Once you decide to move, forget about other alternatives, because they don’t matter now. Then you move confidently.
This is really intelligent confidence. It does not destroy hesitation completely. It uses hesitation. It does not destroy alternatives. Alternatives are there. It consciously broods and contemplates over all the alternatives as silently as humanly possible. Intelligence never demands anything inhuman. These are the paths. Many are moving to the right; they think it is better. You still feel that to move to the left is better, so of course there is going to be hesitation because you know that many intelligent people are moving in the opposite direction. How can you be confident? You are not alone here. Many intelligent people are going that way and still you feel that this is right for you.
Stand on the cross-road, think, meditate, but once you decide then forget all other alternatives – move. Once you decide to move, your whole energy is needed there. Don’t be split and don’t let half of your mind think about alternatives. This is how one has to use hesitation.
And there is no certainty that you are bound to be right. That I am not saying. There is no way to be certain. You may be wrong, but there is no way to know it unless you goon the road to the very end, all the way.
But my understanding is that one should think rightly. The very thinking gives you growth. You move on the road – right or wrong is irrelevant. The very movement gives you growth. To me it is not a question of where you go. To me the most important thing is that you are not stuck, but going. Even if this road comes to a dead end and it leads nowhere and you have to come back, nothing to worry about. It is good that you went. The very movement has given you much experience. You have known a wrong road. You are acquainted with wrong now more than before. Now you know what is false; it will help you to find out the truth.
To know the false as false is a great experience because that is the only way that one comes by and by to know what truth is. To know truth as true, the path moves from the experience of knowing false as false. And one has to move on many wrong roads before one comes to the right one.
So to me, even if you are going towards hell, I bless you, because there is no other way to know hell. And if you don’t know hell you will never be able to know what heaven is. Go into the dark because that is the way to know light. Go into death because that is the way to know life.
The only thing that is important is not to be stuck somewhere. Don’t just stand on the cross-road, hesitating, not going anywhere. Don’t make hesitation your habit. Use it – it is a good device. Think about all the alternatives. I’m not saying don’t think, don’t hesitate at all, move like a stupid man and run with closed eyes, blindfolded, so there is no problem and you don’t know that other roads exist. That’s why stupid people are more confident, but they have done much harm in the world. The world would be better if there were less confident people.
Look at the Adolf Hitlers – they are very confident. They think God has given them great work to change the whole world. They are stupid people but very confident. Even Buddha is not as confident as Adolf Hitler, because Buddha is not stupid. He understands the complexity of life. It is not so simple as Hitler thinks, but he just rushes and people follow him.
Why do so many people follow such stupid leaders? Why do so many people go on following politicians? What happens? Rarely it happens that a politician is intelligent – because if he is intelligent he will not be a politician. Intelligence never chooses such a stupid thing. But why do so many people follow them?
The reason is that people are not very confident. They don’t know where to go, so they are just waiting for some messiah, somebody to tell them that this is the right path and to tell them with such certainty, with such obsessive certainty, that their fears are dissipated. So they say, ’Yes, here is the leader. Now we will follow him. Here comes the right man – so confident!’
That confidence of the leader – which is because of stupidity – helps him to gather a great following, because people are lacking in courage, in confidence. They are stuck. They are afraid to move. They are almost paralysed because of their hesitations. They need somebody who can become a torch and who is so confident that their own fear and unconfidence does not trouble them. Now they can move with this man. They can say, ’Yes, we are not confident, you are. Your confidence becomes a substitute for- us.’
So confidence is not always a virtue. Intelligence is always a virtue. So insist on intelligence. Sometimes it will make you very hesitant, nervous. It has to be so… it is natural. Life is so complex and one is moving in the unknown continuously. How can one be confident? The very demand is absurd.
So make intelligence your goal and then hesitation, nervousness, everything, can be used in a creative way.
[The sannyasin answers: I was making results my goal.]
No, try to become more intelligent, because the results may never happen. Intelligence is herenow. Results may frustrate you. Intelligence never frustrates. Even if you do wrong, you become more intelligent. So make such a goal which is never frustrated, mm ? Good !