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The Boom & Bust of Confidence

The Boom & Bust of Confidence
Finding that your confidence has dropped always comes as a surprise, because you rarely notice it happen. One day you’re out there doing things confidently, then time goes by and you suddenly realise that you’re questioning yourself and playing it safe.

I was as surprised as the next guy to recently discover that my own confidence has slipped.

It’s no crisis, but I’ve noticed I’ve been doing less, with fewer people, in more limited ways. And, as you might imagine, I’m more than a little perturbed by it.

It’s perhaps a strange comparison to make, but there’s often a boom and bust with confidence in the same way as there is in the economy. I’ll try to explain.

Economies grow as productivity increases, and that growth makes the market feel good about the economy. So we borrow and invest and the economy grows a bit more, and the market laps it up.

As confidence is established in the growth of an economy, the more it grows.

But then something interesting happens.

Either the collective belief in the system exceeds the reality of growth (after all the only thing that will just keep on growing is a virus) and creates a bubble, or things reach a plateau, the market gets twitchy and belief in the system underpinning growth falters.

As confidence grows in the market, the beliefs and systems that worked to create productivity and growth become unchallenged and unquestioned.

Blindly trusting any system easily tips into complacency.

And it’s under the blanket of complacency that real confidence gets eroded.

This keeps happening with economies, and it just happened to me. Without me even noticing, complacency and habit eroded my confidence.

And I woke up wondering why my metaphorical bank account was dry.

This boom and bust is part of our economic system and I’m seeing how it might be part of self-confidence too.

There’s one big difference though.

Markets are based essentially on fear on greed. Fear that they’ll lose what they have or what they’ve gained and greed for more growth and bigger results. I firmly believe that any system founded on two of our most base and unprincipled qualities will be deeply, systemically flawed, but that’s another article for another time.

Where confidence differs is that it’s founded not on any base or unprincipled qualities that are dependent on surrounding circumstances, but the belief that you’re whole and enough, regardless of circumstances.

You exert direct influence over the system of self-confidence, the beliefs that support it and the actions that stem from it.

The system of self-confidence is comprised of 3 A’s – awareness, acknowledgement and acceptance.

Awareness of thoughts, feelings and actions, open and honest acknowledgement of those things and how they serve you, and loving acceptance that you’re responsible for them.

The beliefs that underpin self-confidence all flow towards one thing: you’re already enough. You’re not broken, you don’t need to prove anything, you’re whole, just as you are.

And the actions that stem from confidence aren’t fed from habit or complacency, but by deliberate, meaningful decisions. These actions may not be easy, comfortable any may not even work out, but they’ll matter, whatever happens.

I guess these are the things I need to get back to, because confidence isn’t something you can “do” and then forget about.

So I’m getting out from under complacency and doing some work.

I got this.

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