Feb 11

Let’s hope my excess confidence will numb my fear! What if it doesn’t?

This article in Science Daily refers to the subtle dosage of confidence involved in making a good decision; a balance between “too much” and “not enough” that leaves little space at the only time action is possible: the present.
To better understand the mechanisms involved, let’s return to the word confidence from the Latin confido, confidere: to trust. Confidence is, therefore, not something decreed but is a personal feeling that evolves over time, with the decisions we make. Fear and trust feed on each other. More of one means less of the other…
Why does being overly self-confident weaken our ability to make decisions? How can our certitudes lead us astray when we need our beliefs if we are to commit to something, create and be audacious? How can we let go of doubt without latching on to paralyzing convictions? Where is the limit?

The greater our experience of life, the more our mind piles up emotional memories that forge a reading grid, made up of perceptions and short-cuts collected over time.
Now the very principle of this stock of emotional memories (emotion: from the Latin motere) is to set us in motion: decide better in order to act… Our crazy hope is to believe that with this known past (or rather perceived past) we will be able to shed enough light on a future that is, by nature, unknown, uncertain, irrational and complex. What a paradox it is to decide, in the present, on a future plan developed from past experiences! It’s scary… and there are good reasons to be afraid!

Too much self-confidence is one of the many illusions driven by our ego wanting to show off some muscle when it is just displaying its fears. Burying fears in overconfidence is hoping that “everything will be fine”, “it’s going to work, I’m sure of it, I know it will!”
Business, competitive sports, love, relationships with others… in every case an excess of certitude isolates us from the other, blinded by the fear of failure.
Being too sure of ourselves cuts us off from our situational intelligence, discernment, quick thinking, adaptability… The turbo engine pushed by past experiences and driven by our ego has us hurling into the wall of our certitudes.

Hoping to force a way through a complex system is sheer madness, just like staying glued to your fears based on the past.

So how can we make our own way without letting these two mindsets go too far? What if a questioning mind allowed us to revisit our reality from an alternative perspective?

Further to the article on work by Pascal Molenberghs, Fynn-Mathis Trautwein, Anne Böckler, Tania Singer, and Philipp Kanske.

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