Bulletproof confidence sounds great, right?
You'll be able to take everything life throws at you and just shrug it off. All those people taking shots at you, and you won’t give a flying fuck. All the naysayers, critics and judgmental ass-hats won't have any power to hurt you.
Thanks to your bulletproof confidence, you’re unassailable.
Well, apart from 3 huge problems…
1. You’re human
Life will always have something up it’s sleeve ready to surprise you. There’s always the chance that the rug will get pulled out from under you. There will always be something that will knock you sideways and make you question everything. That’s just life.
While none of us relish that stuff, the only way to avoid it is to be six-feet under in a casket.
Being hurt, feeling low or finding yourself lost is not something to avoided at all costs, and it's not a weakness to be fixed. Experiencing pain or being in the middle of an impossible challenge is not a sign that you’re broken or less than.
It’s a sign that you’re human.
Aiming for bulletproof confidence is really just the desire to not get hurt.
But that desire will erect sky-high walls around you and keep you away from anything and everything that might hurt you.
Life behind those walls is not what you want or need. It's being closed off, blinkered, shut down and small. That’s not what confidence is, and it's not who you are.
2. You’re allowed to shake in your boots
It's easy to think that you're a wimp if you find yourself shaking in your boots in the face of a challenge.
A huge new job. The prospect of a brand new relationship or a break-up. Facing up to something you've been ignoring. All of these, and more, are times when you might wish you were a little more bulletproof, just so you weren't so scared or intimidated by what's facing you.
But let me call bullshit on that.
Being scared doesn’t mean you’re not confident. It means you’re someplace new, faced with something you’ve never done before.
It’s okay to be scared in the face of upheaval or emotional challenge. It would be wholly arrogant or complacent not to be.
Confidence is the quality that allows you to find a core of strength, or peace, or truth that allows you to take that next step, no matter how shakily you take it.
You don't need bulletproof confidence to take meaningful, purposeful action.
3. You need to be scathed
If you had bulletproof confidence you could walk through a bullet storm and be totally unscathed. Not a scratch on you.
But I want to be scathed.
Being scathed means that I'm living fully. It means I'm trying, failing, and trying again. Theodore Roosevelt said it best:
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat
I want the marks that show where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through. They don't need to define me, but they sure as hell are part of me.
To hell with being smooth and perfect and unsacthed by life.
It’s the edges and marks that are the most interesting and beautiful.
It's on the inside…
Being bulletproof is all about having a hard shell that makes it impossible for those pesky bullets to get to you and hurt you.
And it's entirely the wrong motivation.
It’s what you have on the inside, not the shell you construct on the outside, that fuels natural confidence and creates a life worth living.
Your values, for example. The things in yourself, others and out there in the world that are most important to you. They’re the foundations, cornerstones and bedrock for who you are. They’re the reasons that the most compelling or meaningful moments in your life have been so compelling and meaningful—because you’ve been honoring, expressing or demonstrating one of your values.
Your strengths. The combination of your experience, skills and talents that you can apply and that leave you feeling strengthened.
How you are when you’re at your best—that feeling of firing on all cylinders, being in flow and being at the top of your game. Which is also a place where you never even question whether you’re confident enough or good enough to do something. You just do it.
These things are hard-wired into you. They’re not going anywhere. You can always trust them.
These are the things that make you a force to be reckoned with.
The real key to being bulletproof
The more you chase being bulletproof, that desire to not be hurt and not be scathed, the more that very effort will hurt you.
It might sound strange to say it, but the real key to having bulletproof confidence is by practicing vulnerability.
- You might get hurt, but being hurt doesn't diminish your value
- You might fail, but failing doesn't mean you're a failure
- You might be terrified, but fear doesn't need to call the shots
Doesn't that sound like a better option?