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The School of Life

On Confidence

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We spend vast amounts of time acquiring confidence in narrow technical fields: quadratic equations or bioengineering; economics or pole vaulting. But we overlook the primordial need to acquire a more free ranging variety of confidence — one that can serve us across a range of tasks: speaking to strangers at parties, asking someone to marry us, suggesting a fellow passenger turn down their music, changing the world. This is a guidebook to confidence, why we lack it and how we can acquire more of it in our lives. On Confidence walks us gently and wryly around the key issues that stop us from making more of our potential.
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48 páginas impresas
Publicación original
2020

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    Алина Калининаcompartió una citael año pasado
    we may destroy success from touching modesty: from the sense that we cannot really deserve the bounty we have received. We may turn to consider our new job or lover in the light of all the sides of ourselves that we know to be less than perfect – our laziness, cowardice, stupidity and immaturity – and conclude that there must have been a mistake and that we must therefore return our gifts to the more deserving. But this is kindly, though balefully, to misunderstand the way success and pain are allotted. The universe does not distribute its gifts and its horrors with divinely accurate knowledge of the good and bad within each of us. Most of what we win is not quite deserved and most of what we suffer isn’t either. Cancer wards are not filled with the exceptionally wicked.
    When we feel oppressed by a sense of not meriting our favours, we need only remind ourselves that we will soon enough not deserve our maledictions either. Our diseases, public falls from grace and romantic abandonments will in time be as undeserved as our beauty, elevations and loving partners might now be. We should not worry so much about the latter, nor complain quite so bitterly about the former. We should accept from the start, with good grace and dark premonition, the sheer randomness and amorality of fate.
    Алина Калининаcompartió una citael año pasado
    Panicking about having acquired a few enemies can be a symptom of a dangerous trust in human beings as a whole. Underconfident types work with the assumption that almost everyone they encounter will be sane, measured, intelligent, judicious, and in command of themselves. If, despite these attributes, certain people still write nasty things online or describe us as a nuisance, the attacks simply have to be true. Yet the more psychologically robust are saved from such dispiriting assumptions by a highly useful skill: fierce pessimism. They assume from the start that most people, even grand and supposedly intelligent ones, are riddled with prejudice, beset by low motives, and capable of deliberate cattiness and meanness better suited to a playground of the under-fives. They lie, they slander, they project, they say things to make themselves feel better, they are envious and inadequate, cruel and close to evil. Why should we be surprised and disturbed if a few people happen to be nasty to us, given that nastiness is more or less the fundamental truth of human nature? The benefit of thinking a lot less of everyone can be a calmer attitude towards the specific meanness of a few.
    Алина Калининаcompartió una citael año pasado
    These figures can shift from being devoted, impartial agents of truth about one’s right to exist to being – more sanely – people who have an opinion, probably only ever a bit right, about something we once did, and never about who we are (that is something we decide).

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