Anyone that has done weight training and experienced heavy squats knows that, when you are at the bottom of the squat and you can feel the load on your shoulders, its hell. It sucks, but you have no choice but to keep driving and get that weight up.
Despite this, by finding yourself in the depths of muscular discomfort you get an appreciation for what you can endure and still power through.
You become comfortable being uncomfortable.
If you always stayed in a place of comfort when doing weights, only lifting a weight you KNOW you can comfortably lift, you’ll never find yourself in the momentary dark place, but also will never experience the post lift joy of being in that dark place and coming out the other side.
Confidence is the same. There is wisdom on both ends of the spectrum. So many people want to be a confident person but when I ask what value they can gain from a lack of confidence, they are stumped!
However there is great value in knowing what it is like to lack confidence, because identity is not fixed. An individual who lacks confidence is not permanently that way as opposed to someone who has blue eyes is fixed and always going to have blue eyes.
Someone who lacks confidence can be someone who USED to lack confidence and has taken on the lessons learnt from being that way.
The Value From Lack of Confidence
So what value can be gained from experiencing a lack of confidence? I have found that it can provide at least 3 values:
It Creates a Comparative
I was reading a story on Huffington Post the other day about someone who had posted his disgust at how terrible his KFC meal looked. How did he know it looked terrible? Because he was comparing it to how the meal looked in the advertising and it DEFINITELY looked different!
How do you know you are confident? Because you can look at the results you are getting now and compare it to how you once were. Our brain is constantly seeking to make your reality as consistent as possible.
This allows the brain to easily distinguish when something in the environment is different. When it registers something as different, it is a cue to see if the difference is a threat. This is one of the reasons why change can be difficult if the right conditions are not set.
As a result, the brain is always seeking to compare with what is happening now with what has happened before. What better way to KNOW you are confident by having a working knowledge of what is has been like to lack confidence!
It Diminishes Delusion
One of the biggest complaints about highly confident people is the level of delusion that they can display that borders on arrogance at times. This is a double edged sword because the delusion can lead them to take risks that have high potential for failure and at times comes off in their favour.
On the sharp end of that sword is them attempting something and failing spectacularly. This was evidenced over the last decade in the financial crisis where the main criticism was the over confidence in the investment bankers who’s common philosophy was “if you don’t understand [this insanely complicated formula] it means you’re not intelligent enough”
Real confidence isn’t about thinking you can do anything, it is about acknowledging your capacity to go for anything you want AND being ok with whatever the outcome may be. For example, I know I couldn’t fly a plane, yet I am confident, given a good amount of training I could fly a plane in the future.
Experiencing a lack of confidence, makes this realisation a whole lot more likely that someone who thinks they were ‘born confident’!
It Makes You Appreciate When You Experience Confidence
Why do a large amount of kids of hollywood stars and rich parents end up in rehab with a host of self worth and drug issues? Because they have grown up and lived a life where everything has been provided for them.
Can you remember when you got your first pay packet from your very first job. I can, I was a pot washer in the kitchen of my local restaurant where I grew up.
When I got my first pay packet, I went out and bought my first ever designer t-shirt, Ralph Lauren! I loved it and made sure whenever I wore it, everyone knew it was Ralph Lauren! What would have happened it, I was just handed designer clothes all my life? I wouldn’t have appreciated it!
The same is when you recognise you are confident, but you used to lack confidence. You appreciate it more because you realise, both the progress you’ve made in your life and you remember that life wasn’t always this good.
You felt daily insecurities, you shied away from providing your opinion, you feared going for what you wanted. Now, this isn’t a problem and you appreciate the experience more.
A lack of confidence can affect your career, it can affect relationships and can create a storm inside your mind. Yet, there is value nested inside every experience and a lack of confidence is no different. Recognise that value and know that you can increase your confidence anytime you choose.