It used to be amusing when someone would say, meaning well, how lucky I am to be successful. Of course success has less to do with luck than preparation. Even Steve Bradbury must tire of being told by spectators to his success how lucky he was to win his gold medal. This week someone went one better and told me how lucky I am to be so confident. This time, I can confidently call BS on that insight.
I was shy in school. I practised at all the things I feared failing at – French, sport, grammar, economics, saxophone. I mostly avoided other things I thought I’d never master – science, cooking, boys. I had to earn all my confidence through overcoming my nerves and battling feeling ordinary at something until I felt passably competent. My parents forced me into toastmasters and debating because I was so quiet… stop laughing, my friends. It has taken me 25+ years and much faltering to enjoy public speaking and the secret of my success is I studied it and then trained others in it so that I conquered it. There was no luck to it and there still isn’t – it’s about practise, effort, knowing your subject and taking deep breaths. Same with confidence – it’s not a natural gift, it’s learned through time and trying.
I like this quote from the book “How to Lose Friends & Infuriate People”: Balance is a state wherein we work neither out of fear or courage, but out of conviction. When a balanced person understands the consequences and still takes a course of action, that person is said to be acting with confidence. Confidence is fuelled by faith, and faith is fuelled by belief. Belief comes from knowledge or emotional certainty in oneself.” – Jonar C. Nader.
I think there’s always a place for luck in our lives, of course, but I certainly know that I’d prefer to take Nader’s approach to life than to rely on my luck.
Photo credit: kaibara87 via Visualhunt / CC BY