Everyone rightly insists that confidence is a big key to life. It helps to believe you can do it before you actually do. In poker, having confidence at the table is essential to play your best game. You need to feel that you can pull off the necessary reads, bluffs and call downs. You need to feel confident that you can outplay your opponents. Any indecision or insecurity can lead to failure. The same confidence ameliorates your losses and fuels your comebacks. Away from the table, that same blend of confidence propels you in all aspects of your life. Women will often rate self-confidence in a man as one of their sexiest qualities. But how do you get it if you don't have it?
Colin Cowherd, the ESPN TV and radio personality, was discussing on a recent show his theory about the "it" factor amongst top sports figures. He feels if a guy has had success with the women in his life (e.g. mother, sisters, girlfriends etc.), especially in his formative years up to 15, he is likely to be more confident, resilient and able to be a better leader. He insists that women are the provider and gauge of our confidence. If we can be properly fueled by their love, attention and adoration that we are more likely to overcome all other obstacles.
It certainly helps to have the reassurance and support of those around you. I have shared previously that one important catalyst to my gaining more confidence in my twenties was when my girlfriend, now wife, fell in love with me. I was still the same person who hadn't achieved all that much in life, but her love and belief was a catalyst to realizing I wasn't alone and I could realize my potential.
When I look back on my development, I gained confidence not by beating the world, but by doing the world. What I mean by that is by simply putting yourself out there, you gain confidence. You can gain confidence through experience, both your failures and successes. In the poker world, you can't fully gain confidence just by studying books or viewing videos. Preparation is only one aspect to confidence. Only when you put your knowledge into action do you start to build confidence. By implementing your preparation you actualize your confidence. It can plunge in the short term when you become purely results oriented, but reframed, you can see that your experience is the foundation for future confidence.
As I put in my very first blog back in 2007, "...life is a matter of perspective. If you change yours, you can see the world change before your very eyes." People who have confidence don't have more good things happen to them. They simply choose to frame their life in a positive manner. They look to build off from the good that has happened before in their lives, no matter how small they are. We all have some of those to reference if we look hard enough.
Confidence isn't about bragging. In fact, I would assert that those who are most self-assured don't need to ever brag. They speak their truth and aren't threatened by others. Anyone who feels they must brag is projecting an insecurity with their actions.
I'll share one story that I have heard before about the source of confidence:
"The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy. Suddenly an old man appeared before him. "I can see that something is troubling you," he said. After listening to the executive's woes, the old man said, "I believe I can help you." He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying, "Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time."Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.
The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!"I can erase my money worries in an instant!" he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought. With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check.
At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man."I'm so glad I caught him!" she cried. "I hope he hasn't been bothering you. He's always escaping from the hospital and telling people he's John D. Rockefeller. "And she led the old man away by the arm.The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he'd been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.Suddenly, he realized that it wasn't the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his new found self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after. Renew your confidence from within......."
Another motivational saying that I have often repeated in the past "Be yourself, no one else can be." We are all unique people with unrepeatable life experiences. Don't try to be someone else, but realize the strengths from where you came. Or as Joseph Campbell once said " The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."