Lesson 7

Overstating the Obvious


Confidence is everything to a performer, business person, athlete, parent, friend, and high achiever.  To say that it is important to one’s success is overstating the obvious!  But make no mistake, perhaps no other word in the dictionary has been used more frequently in business meetings, athletic pep talks, personal and social interaction, and in promoting products the world over than the word confidence.  You hear it everywhere.  Play with confidence…….speak with confidence………sell your home with confidence….. Buy with confidence.  You need to walk, talk and act with confidence!  Someone, somewhere, is touting the benefits of what they have done and they owe it all to their high level of unbelievable confidence!  What a great quality to possess and it seems that everyone wants more of it!

In discussing how marketing and sales people use confidence in their advertising, I remember years ago a popular television commercial touting the benefits of using a particular toothpaste that would bring you instant and enormous popularity if you brushed twice a day with their product!  The idea was that if you brushed with their toothpaste, you would flash a winning smile brimming with confidence!  While that may be true to some extent because a bright smile is always reflecting of a confident persona; their message was underscoring a more vital component: when you use our toothpaste…you change your life!  The by-product of their product (the toothpaste) was superior confidence!  Using their toothpaste meant that not only would you have a dazzling white smile and clean breath, but that you would probably never be alone for a date or companion!   In a sense, they were using their toothpaste marketing as a subliminal message for one who oozes with confidence and sex appeal!

But it isn’t just in commercials selling products that reinforce the benefits of having superior levels of confidence.  It is predominate in almost every realm of human existence. Specifically, in the sports world, we often hear of a star athlete who goes on a tear and afterwards during the press interview, the words “I am playing with a lot of confidence right now” are used. As if the confidence mysteriously showed up sometime during the actual performance execution!  Even after a baseball or football team wins a conference championship, they often talk about how much confidence they are feeling. But that really isn’t the question. The basic question that I ask is this: How do you not feel confident after you are having success and winning?!?   That’s the easy part to feel confident after the fact of the performance. It begs the question: “which comes first….the confidence or the win?”

Much akin to the chicken or the egg conundrum, confidence isn’t the main predictor of achievement and success as much as competence, dedication and the aspiration to feel confident during the performance execution itself!  When we have success, it begets more success and the residue from all of the feelings we have with aspiring, competing and winning is what we call confidence.  Thus, we have to take a look at many of the “abilities” that go along with feeling competent, composed and trusting that allow us to feel this wonderful feeling of confidence!

But first I want to introduce a story that is a wonderful example of what it means to truly believe.  After all, that is what this book is all about….believing in yourself when all others may be opposed to you or your belief or that they have lost hope in you. It is a story of a young man who was influenced by my philosophies on growing in confidence and positive thinking one summer at one of my NIKE Golf Schools in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  At the end of the story, there are a number of questions for your review.  Enjoy the read.

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