Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Two Types of Confidence


Source: wrestling18.com

I
n the martial arts, I’ve come across 2 types of confidence.



The first type has many faces. It’s often blustery. Every muscle is swollen to twice its size, either by ego or by a desperate need to be noticed. It feeds on aggression. It forces its way into spaces, into other people’s lives. It tries to solve problems either by threats or by violence. And when this type of confidence wins, it’s always hungry for more. 




The relaxed power of master Ku Yu Cheong

Source: shaolinmita.com



I don’t trust this first type of confidence, either in the martial arts or in the wider world. I don’t trust its origins. This type of confidence often stems from a lack of confidence.

Usually, the person has something to prove. He comes from broken things, broken situations. He’s been neglected. He has to prove himself to the father who left, to the childhood he never had. He has to shout so loud that any whisper of doubt inside of him is drowned out.

I find that this first type of confidence comes from sadness.



Tai Chi master Chen Zhao Kui pushing hands

Source: munndialarts.com



I much prefer a second type of confidence, one which has nothing to prove. This type of confidence quietly takes up its space. It doesn’t demand to be noticed; in fact this type of confidence is so confident that it doesn’t care whether it’s noticed. This type of confidence has nothing to prove. It doesn’t exist at the expense of other people.

I’ve seen this type of confidence on the faces of older, wiser martial arts masters. Their confidence always wears a smile. They have nothing to prove. They are in command of their skills. They – and their martial art – have become one. There is no need for them to shout: when they speak, a thousand years of martial arts speaks through them.




Training with weapons requires a relaxed confidence

Source: ucd.ie



I’ve seen both types of confidence in the workplace as well – the enlarged, aggressive ego that pushes people up against the wall and dominates all discussion versus the quiet, confident manager who genuinely listens to others and makes the workplace environment a joy to be in.

The first type of confidence has a big tank that requires a lot of fuel. If ego is muscle and muscle ego, that type of self-affirmation has to be constantly fed, either by fuel from within or by the energy of other people.




A relaxed confidence at the centre of a full life

Source: waytofenshui.com

That type of mind/body mix lasts until the body has spent its fuel, until the health gives way. The relaxed type of confidence paces itself. It never has to draw on its reserves. This type of confidence is so natural it allows the organs to breathe. And this type of confidence balances itself with other people and the environment so it doesn’t spend fuel needlessly on fear, anxiety, doubt and anger.

My suggestion – relax. In anything you do, develop skills that are unforced. Practise and learn. Listen to others. Don`t let your ego get in the way. Develop a confidence that is deep, natural and happy!


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