Confidence in your genes? I’m not so certain

I read this week that Professor Robert Plomin of King’s College, London suggested that psychiatric tests show that whether we have self confidence or not is in our genes. You either have confidence or you don’t.

My issue with this suggestion is that confidence, in fact, does not exist. That’s right; I said there’s no such thing as confidence! At least not in the way we usually talk about it.

We tend to describe someone as either “having” confidence or not. As if you could go over to someone who doesn’t “have” confidence and give them a carrier bag full of confidence so that they now have some.

So if confidence doesn’t exist, why is it that we tend to feel bad when we’re lacking in it?

It’s all about whether or not we “feel” confident. The feelings of confidence are what give us a positive state of mind. We will feel confident in some situations and not in others.

So armed with that knowledge how can we feel more confident today?

Certainty

One of the things that gives us that feeling of confidence is certainty. We can feel at our least confident when we are uncertain about an outcome.

For example, think back to your “courting” days – as my Nan used to say. You may be in the middle of them now. The reason people don’t feel confident to just go and ask someone out on a date is their “uncertainty” of the response. Imagine if three of your friends had told you that this person was always talking about you, really liked you and was dying for you to ask them out as they were too shy to do it themselves. How much more confident would you feel having that greater level of “certainty”?

It’s the same with giving a presentation. We can lack feelings of confidence if we’re not sure who will be in the room, what they want to hear, if we don’t know our subject matter etc. All items of uncertainty. Do your research and increase your certainty, however, and you will feel far more confident.

Think about something now that you don’t feel confident about. What are the elements of uncertainty to do with the situation? How can you gain more certainty to increase your feelings of confidence? Now go and do it!

Have fun experimenting and feeling more confident than ever.

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