"Knowing who you are is confidence. Confidence, not cockiness. Cockiness is knowing who you are and pushing it down everyone's throat." -- Mila Kunis
Do you know anyone who constantly tells you how great they are? Whether it's a blatant statement of bragging or a masked self-compliment, it's easy to recognize those who swagger. They are the ones who like to 'up' your story, who always have a better, bigger, or bolder experience than the one you shared.
They often are the loudest one in the room (though not all loud people are cocky--don't confuse that!), are able to speak over others, and are inclined to tell long, detailed stories, rarely pausing to read the expressions of those around them, assuming everyone is deeply fascinated with their tale. They interrupt. They have this uncanny way of steering every conversation back to them. When you speak, if you get the chance, you wonder if they are hearing anything you say.
There's something in them, some sort of inner need, that has to let you know that they are smart, successful, and superior. It's the kind of person we try to avoid at the office, at a party, or when we're out and about. And though they can appear to be quite confident, I think, deep down, their need to boast comes from a place of inferiority.
"Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." -- ancient proverb
And then there are those who struggle with having any confidence at all. These people live a cowardly life, tending to avoid confrontations and have difficulty speaking their truth. They sometimes stumble over their words and/or don't speak loud enough for you to hear clearly. They lack confidence in their own judgment, hesitate to try new things, and avoid challenges like the plague. Because of this lack of trust in self, they question their own abilities and often feel powerless. Those who struggle with personal power tend to have difficulty setting appropriate boundaries and can be "yes" men/women.
Somewhere in between the two extremes lies the emotionally intelligent competency of personal power.
"Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions." -- Marianne Williamson
Personal power, that sense of self-confidence and an inner knowing that you can thrive through life's challenges, can sometimes be confused with cockiness, but it's not that at all.
Those who have personal power -- who are strong in this understanding of their strengths (and areas of growth) believe they can set the direction of their lives. They are not victims to the winds of change but sense when things need to shift and take action to make that happen. They have a calm inner conviction about who they are and their abilities. Those rich with this competency tend to know what they want and go after it, and can speak their truth and give voice to their values and convictions.
Though they are the ones that make things happen, those with strong personal power don't always have to do it brashly and loudly. One important aspect is that they can distinguish between the things they can control and the things that are out of their control, and can let go of the latter when needed. They are always learning and never propose to have it all figured out.
Listen for how they define self. You'll hear them speaking about qualities of the heart, not about what they do. Try asking at your next social gathering, "Tell me about yourself?" and listen for whether or not they tell you what they do or who they are.
Think of those you lead -- or those who lead you -- your colleagues, your teammates, your manager, the boss, your pastor, your significant other, or someone you just admire. Which of these three C's does he/she lean toward: cockiness, cowardice, or confidence? Which type of leader would you rather follow? Which would you rather work alongside? I daresay we all are most drawn to those with true confidence.
Even more importantly, can you discern when you are being cocky, cowardly, or confident? It's an awareness worth developing.
"There is a fine line between confidence and cocky. Confidence can bring you many things, but cockiness can make you lose many things." -- Azgraybebly Josland
Those who take the time to develop this competency of personal power unleash their ability to convey their ideas and solutions in an assured manner which gives others confidence in their ability to solve problems and achieve results. In other words, those that have personal power can lead, and lead well.
Most of us dance between the three, cockiness, cowardice, and confidence, depending on the day, our mood, and our behavioral self-control. In other words, we all have room to grow. Here are nine practical steps to begin moving toward true confidence/personal power:
Remember the glory days. Success breeds confidence, so take a moment to remember the things you've achieved in life so far. What are your success stories? Where have you excelled? When did you accomplish a goal you set out to reach and how did you go about accomplishing it? Remembering past successes -- even those you achieved as far back as childhood -- can help boost your levels of personal power when you begin to doubt your abilities.
It takes a village. Now think about who helped you accomplish those goals? Who believed in you or gave you the inspiration to keep going even when things got rough? Did anyone provide financial means which enabled you to succeed, or come alongside you as a friend or mentor to be there when you needed them? Reminding ourselves that our successes most always are a team effort can help us avoid the full-of-self syndrome. And leaning into friends as you accomplish goals can be a source of encouragement and help ensure success.
Identify the voices. I led a women's group once and we attempted to get to the root of our insecurities. In almost every case, as children, we had been told by someone that we couldn't -- or shouldn't -- and now, as adults, we still believed that lie. Think on the areas where you lack confidence and see if you can remember where you first heard that maybe you were no good at it. Identify who said it and when. Recognizing the source of negative thoughts can help put them in their place as you move toward a more positive outlook.
Stop the hurtful self-talk. Even if someone was hurtful with their words, it's most likely you who continues the negative self-talk. Notice when you say, "I can't" or start a sentence with "I'm only...", diminishing yourself. Try not to begin with "I'm sorry, but...". Learn to state your truth without apologies. Also listen if you tend to tag "isn't it?" at the end of a suggestion, or "right?" Those words are a way of seeking approval of others and teaches them to treat us as lacking power.
Build some fences. Setting boundaries and learning to say "no" can free us up to accomplish the things that are important to us. Being a yes man/woman actually limits us to doing only what others ask of us vs. moving in the direction that we want. You may need to spend some time reviewing your value and clarifying your goals to begin setting appropriate boundaries.
Lay down the remote. Determine which things in your life you have control over, and which areas you don't. Hint: you can never control others’ thoughts, behaviors, or actions. Trying to control what you can't will only lead to frustration. What you do have control over are your own thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
Dream a little dream. When we create something new, it appears first as a thought. Envision yourself as smart, competent, articulate, poised, admired...and humble. Use the prompt, "In a perfect world, I would ___" and fill in how it would look if you were teeming with personal power.
Shhh. In your next conversation, and those that follow, determine to listen more than you speak. Ask open-ended questions with the goal of learning more about the other person and the whys behind their thoughts and actions. If you tend to tell long-winded tales, shorten your stories and pause often to ask the other person to share as well.
Follow the leader. Find those in your life that exhibit true confidence and strive to emulate them. Watch how they interact with others -- in meetings and in one-on-one conversations. If possible, ask to meet with them for lunch and learn from them.
As with all change for the positive, it's easier if you work with a coach to help you stay on track. Consider engaging a social + emotional intelligence coach to walk alongside you. Shifting behaviors, especially habits we've been practicing for a long time, can take time and effort, but the benefits of moving away from cockiness and cowardice toward confidence will be rewarding.
"As is our confidence, so is our capacity." -- William Hazlitt
This article was written by Amy Sargent.
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.
After the Kinkul has lived in its Kinkul Motel (Remember, Mommies and Daddies don’t know Kinkul Motel is the name for baby), for about two years, baby starts to act differently than before. It happens when Mommy or Daddy, or someone standing near, shouts “No” to baby and sometimes slaps baby’s hands or bottom, when the Kinkul is driving baby to something Kinkul wants and which is something Mommy and Daddy don’t want baby to have. The Kinkul doesn’t feel anything, but baby feels a lot of pain and baby doesn’t like pain one bit. When baby feels pain it lets out a caterwauling cry all by itself. You don’t like pain either do you?
Remember; Kinkul does not have a memory but now baby starts to develop one, Baby remembers when it gets smacked for reaching for one thing and not another. When Kinkul wants baby to reach for something, baby remembers getting smacked for, baby starts to act independently from the Kinkuls desire. In a way, the baby is telling the Kinkul “not now” and for some reason, Kinkul doesn’t bite baby because it didn’t get what it wanted when it wanted it.
Mommy and Daddy think they are training their baby to “behave.” Doing what your Mommy and Daddy tell you to do when they tell you to do it is behaving. What baby really learns is if you are bigger and stronger than the other person and can use force against that person, you can get what you want when you want it.
Something else start to happen to baby and proves the last point is true. Baby starts saying words and seem to understand the words Mommy and Daddy are saying. Of course, the Kinkul doesn’t understand words. Understanding words requires memory and a Kinkul doesn’t have a memory. But words are a powerful force that baby quickly learns to use to get what it and the Kinkul wants when they want it.
We notice the baby begins to want things the Kinkul never thinks about. When baby plays with other babies and it wants something the other baby has, baby uses force to take it away from the playmate. Mommy or Daddy blames baby for being selfish and shame baby for being selfish. But baby doesn’t understand selfish. Baby is just getting what it wants when it wants it. Who cares if the other kid is crying because it doesn’t get what it wants when it wants it. Besides, baby is bigger and stronger that the other kid so baby is supposed to get what baby wants.
By the time baby gets to be five or six years old, baby can’t tell the difference between what the Kinkul wants and what baby wants. Its O.K. to talk at home but not O.K. to talk in a place Mommy and Daddy call church. Or it’s O.K. to spill your drink on the grass but not on the carpet. Baby has learned it is good if baby does what Mommy and Daddy tell baby to do and bad when baby doesn’t. Baby doesn’t know what is good or what is bad, except baby gets spanked for one and praised for the other. Are you confused about what is good and what is bad?
It is hard to learn how to control the Kinkul. It is especially hard when Mommy and Daddy are not there to tell you. But I believe the Kinkul lives with you all of your life. It seems to me, the secret to a happy life is to learn when the Kinkul is controlling your acts to get what it wants when it wants it or whether you are acting in control of yourself. Now that you know about your Kinkul, it is easy to see the Kinkul acting in other kids and people of all ages. When I learned to tell the difference between my wants and the Kinkul’s wants, it became easier and easier to keep Kinkul from biting me by telling it “Not now!”
When I could tell my acts were to get something I wanted, I was able to think about it and make sure that what I wanted was good for me, helpful to others, considerate of others, and that this was the right time for me to have it. I’ve never been able to make friends with my Kinkul, but now, maybe it will be easier for you and me to be friends.
I do not present the Kinkul as a fact. Kinkul is just an allegory for the human condition that I have never heard described in any other term than Original Sin. All of the grandchildren I’ve told these stories to identified completely with IWWIWWIWI. Now when they are acting selfishly I tell them, “Looks like your Kinkul is biting you.” They stop their behavior, they look at me and smile, and then we laugh with each other and they do not return to the selfish behavior-and I like that.
My Kinkul stories are presented here because I submit for your consideration that it is not the concept of Original Sin and the concomitant sin nature of humanity that causes people to have problems with social interaction; rather it is the unchallenged, initially rewarded, and culturally reinforced approval of IWWIWWIWI and the presumption that is appropriate to use force to get it.
By eliminating the presumption that a child is evil because of the myth of Original Sin a child may be able to be raised without the parent’s righteously playing the blame and shame game.
We know the blame and shame game produces guilt and low self-esteem in a child. Maybe society could begin to help children transition from the selfish prompting force of wanting what they want when they want it which is as natural as its skin, to the controlling its compulsive body instincts in a mature manner without blame and shame.
This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.
Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.
Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.
Carl Sagan once wrote, “We were wanderers from the beginning”. As far as we know, this is true: our ancestors were nomads, crossing savannahs and jungles and forests, ever restless, in search of the next meal or friendlier climes. From the beginning, we were never entirely satisfied with our lot. The relentless push to civilization seems motivated by a single-minded desire for an ever-better life; one where at last we have beaten back the caprice of life to know happiness, satiation, and safety.
It is more than this: beyond the callings of our basic animal appetites, a deeper yearning seizes our hearts and minds. We want to know the world and our place within it. We want to understand this mysterious life, an inchoate hunger far more difficult to feed than an empty stomach. Perhaps it is in part borne of our social nature: a basic instinct to feel safe and certain through connection with something larger than ourselves. Perhaps it lies even deeper; with the arising of the human mind, the cosmos is expressing a need to behold and understand itself — a brilliant flash of sentience that illumines Indra’s Net, bearing witness to its glory.
Whatever the origins, we long to belong, and to understand. The nomadic spirit runs deep within us, we are restlessly in search of a home that seems ever to recede over the horizon, an elsewhere whose very appeal is its unattainability, its mystery, its promise of salvation and peace. The irony for this restless, curious wanderer is that we have always been home, and we have always belonged. Throughout history, we have had moments of insight that this deepest hope is true: that we are profoundly at home in the universe. This truth has never changed, but our yearning imagination has wandered far and wide, leaving our hearts heavy with anxiety, a nameless dissatisfaction with life.
For centuries we have seen ourselves as separate from Nature and pitted against her in a titanic and desperate struggle to dominate and survive. We are struggling heroically to awaken from this nightmare.
Though it is true that life is tenuous, the world often dangerous, there is no adversary Out There, only an internal struggle to embrace this life just as it is — beauty and ugliness, miracle and horror. It would appear to be a basic truth of our human psychology that when we fully recognize our Oneness with the world, something in us lets go. It is somehow impossible for us to be at war with the world when we see that the world is us and that we are it. Peace fills our hearts and we come forth changed beings, manifesting the miracle without the distortions of struggle. Life may remain difficult, but it is enchanted with new meaning — it is, in the words of Sǿren Kierkegaard, no longer “a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived”.
Yet although a few of us in each age set down the struggle, most of us do not. It is a core purpose in my life to pursue an end to the delusion of separation and to convey what meager understanding I achieve to others in the hope, however vain, that this Great Peace can spread itself more broadly among us in the coming years. It is my belief that the science of today tells a powerful story about our kinship with the whole of the world, revealing quite clearly that this restless nomad has wandered far and may wander much farther still, but has never, not even for a moment, left home.
This article was written by Joshua Sandeman
Click HERE to Learn more about his work.