The Confidence to be Confident

13 Jun 07

I’m quite a shy person. Not so much in an online context, but in real life. Although who’s to say onlineyness is any less real than that which we call real life? But I digress.

I’m shy. And I often get nervous when I am called upon to do something with the slightest aura of officialness and responsibility. Sometimes even to the point of inducing a mild (or occasionally not so mild) panic. I recently read an essay by Jerome K Jerome on the subject of shyness (called, unsurprisingly, “On Shyness”), which suggests conceit as an effective remedy for such. That is, if one is able to feel intellectually and morally superior to all those around one, then how can one feel nervous around what are effectively an inferior species? I can see his point. I have even met with some degree of success from trying this method. But somehow… I just don’t feel right about it.

In the case of myself, I have come to the realisation that much of my own shyness stems from that age-old psychological syndrome… Fear of Failure. A classic! And, it has to be said, something of a cliché, but no less true for that. I fear that, upon being tasked with a… erm, task… of some importance, I will find myself lacking in the necessary inter-personal skills to successfully deal with that task and bring it to the desired conclusion. Of course, this is a Catch-22 situation – or perhaps, more accurately, a Vicious Circle (having read Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22,” I fear that perhaps this is an epithet which is a little over-used in such contexts) – in that, if I had a little more confidence in the first place, then I would be better able to deal with situations which require confidence. But as I don’t have that initial burst of confidence, I fear that my lack of confidence will render me unable to successfully deal with the situation, and it is this fear which reduces my confidence further and leads to the possibility of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you see what I mean.

But that, O readers of my blog, is the crux! It is the heart of my realisation! If only I could somehow inject myself with that initial burst of confidence, which would infuse me with the belief that I won’t fail, or at least that if I do fail it doesn’t matter, then maybe – hopefully! – this initial burst can feed back on itself and imbue me with the confidence to… well, you know… be confident. You see? The question is, though, from what source or psycho-whatever technique do I find this initial burst of confidence, if I do not naturally have the confidence to begin with? How do I light the spark that will ignite the gunpowder in my Flintlock Pistols of Assertion? Any and all suggestions will be considered!



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