Your limits can never be found within the confines of your contentment, but by venturing outside of it.
Whenever I have a discussion with friends with regards to the subject of self-confidence, we often end up debating what it actually is and how confidence is dependent on your circumstances. And it wasn’t until most recently that I figured out that the 2 are really very different from each other.
Confidence is a very broad term that is generally used to describe your ability to do a certain task.
A professional carpenter for example would be considered confident due to their competence in being able to craft wood and handle their tools in a manner that’s second nature to them.
Or a professional ballet dancer who’s able to gracefully propel themselves 6 feet into the air and perform the splits.
But what about the other areas of their lives?
While it may be true that both people will have complete confidence in their ability to perform. It may not necessarily mean that they have ‘self-confidence’ in themselves overall.
How would the carpenter feel if he was given the challenge to swing a golf club?
How would the ballet dancer feel if she were given the task to play a musical instrument?
What quickly became clear to me is that self-confidence is something that is deeply rooted in your overall sense of self and that the only way you could ever improve it is by consistently challenging your ability to grow and to consistently step outside of your comfort zone.
It was at this point when I realized how important it was to become more outgoing and to do things I was unfamiliar with in my life as it was this that forced me to grow internally.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself at some point and often wondered how you could lack confidence at a given task despite your ability to do something you’re good at.
In order to understand this phenomenon, I started to visualize what differentiates self-confidence from confidence and how the 2 complement each other.
The Cup Analogy
In reference to the above video. What becomes evident is that in order to increase our self-confidence, we would have to consistently undertake challenging tasks and overcome them. There are many reasons and benefits as to why it’s important for us to challenge ourselves. Most important of all, is that it boosts our creativity which I believe is one of many side effects of pushing outside of our comfort zone. We begin becoming more aware of our inner resources, our sense of self, and our ability to face new challenges with ease.
We also enter a state which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as a Flow state. It’s where most of us get to experience true happiness, contentment, and a state of presence. I’m sure you’ve been through it before where you were so into a task, that time seemed to fly without realizing it.
The lesson I got from this understanding is that as human beings. We must consistently push past our limits in order to reach a higher level (fill our self-confidence cup). Whilst the unknown is challenging, it’s also something that I find encouraging.
Imagine how it would feel if you knew the end prior to embarking on the journey. How boring would that be?