Confidence – “The feeling of self-assurance that arises from the assessment of your own abilities or qualities.” Ofttimes it pushes us forward and helps us overcome obstacles, and, the lack of it keeps us from accomplishing some things that, viewed in retrospect, we likely could have accomplished. Viewed in others, confidence can appear as recklessness, or at other times as the imprimatur of leadership, vision & competence. Confidence, when misplaced, can be a very useful self-delusion, but sometimes it takes us by the hand and walks us squarely into a trap.

• What were you confident about when you were 18 years old, and what do you think about that now?
• How much did having confidence, or not, matter in your life?
• Do incidents come to mind where having confidence helped you skate over the thin ice to the other shore, or where, instead, it made a middling situation horrible?
• Are you confident about more things, or fewer things today?

A few quotes on the topic:

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” ― Virginia Woolf

“Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know.” ― Eoin Colfer

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” ― Mae West

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ― Robert Hughes

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” ― Norman Vincent Peale