The Confidence Trap
While watching Golf Channel’s coverage of the Scottish Open during my hour in the gym on Friday morning, I heard the word CONFIDENCE mentioned thirty-four times by commentators (that’s right, after hearing it repeatedly when I first tuned in, I actually decided to count). Over and over again, the importance of feeling confident was stressed:
“It’s amazing what holing a few putts will do for your confidence.”
“This kind of course ignites his confidence.”
“What does your recent string of good finishes do for your confidence?”
My goodness. Since, from where I sit, chasing confidence is the ultimate mind trap, let’s reverse course. Believe it or not, confidence has NOTHING to do with past performance, environment, or any external circumstance. Confidence, or a lack thereof, springs from the uncontrollable principle of thought. When thought freely flows through you, you’ll feel confident. When thought becomes jammed, you won’t. And, again, this cause-and-effect connection between thought and confidence cannot be influenced by holing putts, a particular kind of golf course, a string of good finishes, or anything external.
Now, I’m plenty aware that many readers will disagree with this inside-out take on confidence. So, if that includes you, here are two questions to ponder:
- Why do the most accomplished people often feel insecure?
- Why do young children often feel confident?
See what I mean? Confidence is strictly an inner phenomenon. And, like young children, the closer you get to the inner knowledge that confidence comes and goes as thought comes and goes, the less and less your level of confidence will even matter to you.
Last of all, as mentioned above, you don’t control your thinking or whether or not you feel confident in the moment. But that’s not bad news because: Confidence has NOTHING to do with your capacity to excel. In other words, all feelings are normal and no feeling is limiting. Therefore, don’t fall into the trap of chasing, or wasting energy trying to manage, something that’s essentially meaningless. Confident or not, you are strong, whole, resilient, and oh so capable—always.