Courage and Confidence—Self-Worth. Persistence. Inner-Wealth.
If the COVID pandemic of 2020-22 taught us anything, it’s that despite our best intentions nothing in life is secure.
Besides birth and death, security, as it has been dramatically shown to us, is an illusion. Insecurity is the reality.
Our livelihoods, our careers, our homes, our way of life have been turned upside down. Our sense of who we are, what we do, how we do it, is in question. This virus has not only attacked our physical health and threatened our lives, it has also attacked our mental health and undermined our emotional stability.
It has revealed our vulnerabilities on a personal level, relationship level, community level, national level, even global level.
It has revealed our vulnerabilities on a financial level, healthcare level, employment level, even national security level.
In these moments of vulnerability you need courage. You need courage to face down your insecurities and develop strategies to overcome your problems. You need courage to face your fears and continue to live the best way possible.
You especially need a lot of courage during periods of uncertainty when fear and anxiety are just as virulent as COVID-19 itself.
Yet, courage is not out of reach. Courage is something that is inherent in every person; it just needs to be acknowledged as part of who you are and then expressed.
Courage is not just for the brave. It is not just for others. Courage is closer to you than the skin on your body. It is not something far and distant and unobtainable. It is well within your grasp.
As M. Scott Peck wrote in his bestselling book, The Road Less Traveled:
“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear, the moving out against the resistance engendered by fear into the unknown and into the future.”
Thankfully, as a human being, you have an abundance of courage. You have the inner power to move out against your fears into the unknown and into the future. Like humans have always done in every crisis.
We show courage when we go into lockdown for weeks at a time to stop the spread of the virus, not only as individuals but as communities and nations. We show not only courage, but also ingenuity and collaboration, when we galvanise our efforts to hunt down and develop a vaccine for Covid-19, which has now been achieved and is now available to the people of the world, a feat that has been accomplished faster than ever before.
We show courage when we have faith that this too shall pass, that the world will rebuild and renew itself and that the future still holds the promise of joy, hope, love, and even peace and freedom.
So, yes, this pandemic has taught us that nothing in life is secure, that insecurity is the ‘new normal’ (if in fact this is actually ‘new’ at all, or that it’s just more obvious to us now that we’ve been forcibly and rudely shaken awake to what we thought was real and made to see what is not), but it’s also revealed something else, something wonderful and truly marvelous:
Human courage is already there—it’s already inside us, as us. It’s who we are.
So if courage is what you want, you already have what you’re looking for. All you need to do is tap into it.
It all starts with the right mindset. When you begin to strengthen your beliefs in your abilities, outcomes, and efforts, your courage and confidence will naturally develop and grow.
This is important because you will need courage and confidence to take action and do the things you need to do to realise your goals, despite the obstacles, fears, and insecurities that will get in your way.
Without courage and confidence, you probably won’t take the necessary action. Or if you do, it will be half-hearted and likely to run out of steam before anything meaningful is achieved.
So how do you develop more courage and confidence?
Essentially, it’s the same process we discussed in how to develop the first Power Habit of Self-Assuredness & Self-Belief:
- Awakening your Imagination, Intention, and Attitude superpowers.
- Getting clarity on your identity of who you are and want to be—I Am.
- Igniting your motivation—I Will.
- Tapping into your conviction—I Can.
These three components—I Am, I Will, I Can—were used to build the Power Element of Faith, which is the faith in who you want to be and what you want to do.
These same three components will now be used to build the Power Element of Valour through developing Power Habit #2: Courage & Confidence.
I mentioned just a moment ago the need to tap into your courage during these uncertain and insecure times. I also mention how confidence is a game-changer for those seeking to be successful and desiring to grow into the person want to be.
Like self-assuredness, those who are successful tend to have an inner supply of confidence. Those with limited success tend not to have confidence or be able to tap into their inner supply.
Confidence, however, is a word that needs defining because it has so many different meanings to many people. Essentially, psychologists define two types of confidence:
- Epistemic confidence—how certain you are about what’s true.
- Social confidence—how secure you are in yourself (which ties in and overlaps our discussion of Power Habit #1: Self-Assuredness & Self-belief).
When you think or say things like, “I have no doubt this is going to work out,” or, “I can guarantee he’s not telling the whole truth,” then you’re expressing epistemic confidence. This can be thought of as the confidence in what you know—the expression of certainty.
If you think or speak as if you are someone who is worth listening to (and self-worth is something we will elaborate more on later in this discussion on Power Habit #2) and deserves to be heard, then you are expressing social confidence. This can be thought of as the confidence of who you are—the certainty of expression.
Social confidence also doesn’t mean that you need to be a great public speaker or that you need to be the belle of the ball to exude social confidence. It just means that whatever social context you’re in—family, friends, work, parties, sport, clubs, other organisations, and so forth—you genuinely feel and believe that you have something of value to contribute and deserve to be there.
Good leaders tend to have a mix of epistatic and social confidence. That is, they have a sound knowledge base and know what they’re doing (or at least appear to be), and they are confident in deserving that role and confident in who they are as a person.
Think of some of the most well-known business and political leaders of modern time: Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandella, JFK, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, to name a few.
Yet although personal and professional leadership requires both epistatic and social confidence, research has shown that, when it comes to having an impact on others, epistatic confidence trails social confidence by a fair margin. In other words, people are more influenced by who you are than by how much you know.
A study of university students working together and interacting in small groups (Anderson, C., Brion, S., Moore, D. A., & Kennedy, J. A. (2012). A status-enhancement account of overconfidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(4), 718–735. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029395) showed that higher ratings of confidence and capability were given to those students who participated more in conversations and appeared more relaxed. On the other hand, the student’s surety on what they were asked about, their epistatic confidence, mattered very little.
Your social cues, such as eye contact, body language, and use of voice, are given more weight in how others judge your confidence than on your knowledge base.
As the saying goes:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
People are social animals and so prefer, and judge you on, not your expressions of certainty, but the certainty of your expressions.
Which is why, in our discussions on confidence henceforth, we will focus more on social confidence than epistatic confidence. Such focus also fits in with the underlying mantra of this series of articles:
Get yourself right, and everything else will fall into place.
Confidence, therefore, begins with who you are. It develops and matures with the clear vision of who you are, what you want to do, why you do it, and how you do it.
What’s more, your confidence will grow in magnitude directly proportionate with the courage to be the person you want to be. It’s hard to be confident without courage, without making action in spite of your fears, yet it’s also hard to be courageous without confidence. They are symbiotic.
So it’s important to refine our definition of self-confidence, which the Psychology Dictionary Online defines as:
An individual’s trust in their own abilities, capacities, and judgments, or belief that they can successfully face day-to-day challenges and demands.
Accordingly, there are 3 main types of confidence that, as the successful and effective person you intend to be, you will need to be mindful of and seek to develop:
- Belief in your abilities—the confidence that your skills and abilities will handle most, if not all, future scenarios and find solutions to problems that will enable you to progressively realise your worthy goal (i.e. your cause).
- Belief in the outcome—the confidence that you will achieve the outcome you want, as long as you keep persisting and persevering.
- Belief in your efforts—the confidence in the Law of Cause and Effect, that your efforts (causes) are worthy and will be rewarded with the results (effects) you intended.
Power Element—Valour (*From The Power of YOU! How to Manifest the Life You Want by Dr. Scott Zarcinas)
The above diagram explains how your Imagination, Intention, and Attitude align to build the Power Element of Valour:
- Identity: the overlap where your Imagination and Intention align is where you identify your value and self-worth—your ‘I Am’.
- Purpose: the overlap where your Intention and Attitude align is where you maintain your persistence and drive—your ‘I Will’.
- Conviction: the overlap where your Attitude and Imagination align is where you expand and grow by investing in your inner wealth—your ‘I Can’.
The central overlap where the three components of Self-Worth (I Am), Persistence (I Will), and Inner Wealth (I Can) merge and align as one is where the Power Element of Valour is forged.
The Power Habit of Courage & Confidence is how you develop this Power Element. It’s how you make your life heroic.
Developing and growing your courage and confidence is essential if your intent is to achieve the things you want to do and be more successful.
You need courage and confidence to take action and do the things you need to do to progressively realise your worthy goal, despite the obstacles, fears, and insecurities in your way.
Without courage and confidence, you probably won’t take this necessary action, or if you do it will be half-hearted and likely to run out of steam before anything meaningful is achieved.
As Earl Nightingale said in his audio series, The Strangest Secret:
“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice. It’s conformity. People who conform are ones who believe their lives are shaped by circumstances, by things that happen to them, by exterior occurrences.”
Those who have achieved success know that what happened to them in the past, or is happening to them in the present, does not define them. Rather, your success depends on what you choose to focus on and what meaning you assign to the events happening in and around your life.
For instance, what importance you assign to your goals, how much you are prepared to go the extra mile to achieve your worthy cause, and even your own self-worth and self-value.
Which is why developing your courage and confidence is so important, and why it is the second Power Habit of Success. This you do by:
- #1: Identifying Your Value and Self-Worth—your ‘I Am’
- #2: Maintaining Your Persistence and Drive—your ‘I Will’
- #3: Investing in Your Inner Wealth—your ‘I Can’
So build your courage and confidence with your ‘I Am, I Will, I Can’ to begin your journey of success and to keep going when the going gets tough.
Get started. Keep going. Renew and grow.
That’s courage and confidence. That’s growth. That’s success.