You’ve heard it a million times before. “If you have confidence you will set yourself up in the right frame of mind to succeed.” Many people have taken this mantra to heart and proceeded to square peg round hole and bash their heads into the wall until they can’t see straight because of it. I used to believe that my successes were due to my confidence, but recently realized that the statement was a cop out.
The only way to achieve confidence is to succeed. There is no other way around it. You simply can’t fake confidence. I have confidence because my hit to miss ratio has been high enough. However, like anyone who aims high, I have had my own streaks of frustrations. Streaks where my confidence has been “compromised”. But more often than not I still am able to achieve my goals.
What is this missing ingredient?
It is passion. Passion is persistence on steroids. Even when I am faced with extreme obstacles I am best able to overcome them when I love what I am doing. Having passion for something focuses your mind on asking the right questions. This is the advantage to confidence as well. But if you don’t have confidence having passion can get you the same effect.
When you truly love something you enjoy it so much that you don’t get frustrated as often or tripped up over the little things. You don’t constantly think about what can go wrong. You put your mind in the right emotional frame. Passion gives you the benefits of confidence even when logically you feel like confidence would be faking it.
It’s a well known fact that stress and negative emotions impede problem solving. One study that comes to mind is detailed here. Confidence often brings a positive frame of mind that make problem solving most effective. I would certainly advocate any reasonable methods to promote confidence.
At the end of the day, there are some things you just don’t know. And when you don’t have the confidence trying to delude yourself with false confidence both feels and is wrong. But passion makes up for the gap. Being in the moment and having a true love for what you are doing and avoiding the stress that comes with the surprising twists and turns is the key that keeps me going.
After all, the way you respond to things emotionally is in a large part based on perspective. One man’s setback is another’s valuable learning experience. Loving what you do will both make doing it more enjoyable and increase your chances of success. As Steve Jobs once said, “The Journey is the Reward”. It’s important to keep that in mind at all times.
The process of achievement is when you are in the flow, in the now. Once you have succeeded you will look for that next problem to solve in short order. That is, if you’re doing it right.