Not long ago, I was sitting at a pub table in my local watering hole becoming entrenched in the realm of weirdness on YouTube, one recommended video at a time, but also searching for new songs for my band to play. At one point in the evening, a man approached me at my table. He waited patiently for me to notice he was there, which took several seconds. I was obliged to remove the buds from my ears. As I took them out, he leaned towards me and spoke. “I think you’re quite attractive, and I really admire your confidence.” I thanked him for his compliment. Then, with a small nod, he took his leave and went back to his friends.While causing no small obvious inflation of ego, that man’s remarks also provoked some thought in me. Confident? Me?

     I pondered what lay before me on the table: my phone with ear buds connected, a notepad and pen, and a double gin and tonic. I tried to determine what gave him an outward indication of my supposed confidence. I then tried to think of expressions I might have shown on my face. I came to the conclusion that the only reason this man would assume I am confident is the fact I was focused on what I was doing.

Well! Thought I, is that all there is to being confident? Focusing on your interests rather than what is going on around you?

     To put my hypothesis to the test, I walked into a coffee shop the next day. My goal therein was to find someone who looked confident and notice what it was the person was actually doing. Scanning the dim-lit room, my gaze was drawn to a well-dressed man sitting in the back. As I slid into a seat near his table, he took no notice of me. While I glanced creepily at him, I saw his face get closer and slowly closer to his computer screen as he typed. Only when he finished typing did he pull back and look around him. Seeing me, he smiled, then continued on with his work.

He looks so confident, I thought to myself.

     I concluded, after my experiment, confidence is not something that is realized.  Confidence, to me, is more based on focusing on your hobbies, work, or your own thoughts, and not being concerned with the innumerable distractions around you. In my case, for certain, confidence is more how people view me, not necessarily something I am. If a person thinks to themselves, I am confident, are they truly that? Just as someone who has given food to the poor and considers himself selfless, his own thoughts eliminating any indication he has done something selfless, if you tell yourself you are confident it is more likely that you are, in fact, not. Theorizing this, as I do, I will not concern myself with the pursuit of confidence, just as I shall not bother with trying to find happiness or contentedness; these things come as a result of our actively and constantly pursuing goals and delving into some form of self-driven work.

DSC03471Nancy loves her cats, her friend’s cats, and every cat in the world.

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