Confidence 101 by Gurdeep Sanghera

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Hello all,

I would like to start by thanking you and the universe for this opportunity to talk about confidence.

Most of what I will talk about is a breakdown of how I think my confidence was personally effected by events in my life, and how I dissected these and realized why I am the way I am, and how conventionally confidence isn’t what we think it is.

So, to begin with, let me ask some of you, what is your definition of confidence?

If I asked you as somebody who can’t speak English, what does the word confidence mean? How would you answer?

(Select 3 audience member’s definitions of confidence)

Ok, those are all very interesting and none of you are in fact wrong.

I’m going to tell you, the definition of confidence I live by, and we will break down each part of that definition and talk about why understanding it in that way helps me be confident.

Confidence: Confidence is a state of being or emotion, applicable to any situation in one’s life, and is solely developed from within one’s self.

So, let’s begin to break this down, we must work backwards.

1. Confidence is solely developed from within.

This is simpler than you realise. I must say, there is one term I hate when people using and that is “self-confidence”. Confidence is of self, so please remove this from your vocabulary.

Ok, so lets talk about our lives, we are 7.3 billion people on this planet, and on the hand out I’m about to pass you all curtsey of businessinsider.com, you’ll see that the odds of you even existing are basically zero, so by those chances, I will definitely be buying a lottery tick on the way home. (explain end of the handout).

I bet you’re already feeling a little better and little more confident given that information.

So, how are we brought up?

Ok, we’re born so we beat the biggest odds we’ll face in life, great start. We then grow a little older, we learn how to crawl, eventually walk and stand, then we learn the spoken word, usually beginning with “mama or dada”, hopefully no profanity for a couple years.

We might go to nursery or be brought up at home to begin with, but eventually we all end up at the same place… we go to school.
We make friends, we have teachers to guide us, and our parents are bringing us up. 3 very key factors, that define who we are, and effect our confidence. Now you might think wait a second, you just said confidence is solely from within one’s self, and it is, unfortunately the way we are all brought up doesn’t allow us to see that right away, because something we do all our lives is what kills us inside and that something is approval seeking.

What is approval seeking you might think, well, its validation, it’s the need to have someone tell you, you look good, or you’ve lost weight or good job today, and without those comments or that approval we then begin to judge ourselves.

Now approval seeking begins at a very early age and we don’t even realist it and its plugged into us subconsciously.

We go to school, we seek our teacher’s approval on the work we’ve done, we go home, and we seek our parent’s approval on how tidy our room is, or from teacher’s comments, we seek approval from friends because we want to be as good as them at certain sports or we must the same toys or magazine to “fit in”.

Let me break this down into examples for you.

When I was at school, earlier years of secondary school we were being asked what we want to be when we are older. I still don’t know what I want to be when I’m older, I sure as hell didn’t want to know then, but in that room 3 professions were the top answer, Lawyer, accountant and Dr. and I’ll bet money they were the top 3 professions named every year before and every year after. So, it doesn’t help in life when we have 7.3 billion people after the same 3 jobs.

In that room, I said accountant… why? I never wanted to be an accountant, but if I said I didn’t know, my friends would think this guy has no future planning, my teacher would also think that and when the remarks would get back to my parents they would be disappointed that our son doesn’t know what he wants to be, so in that single comment I seeked the approval of all 3 groups but the issue is that like those people who tell a lie so many times they begin to believe it, I also started to believe that I wanted to be an accountant.

So, I started to chase a dream that wasn’t mine to make people happy, peoples thoughts of me, or what I thought they thought of me started to dictate the path I chose in life and this is serious stuff because at 15 we take possibly the most important exams in our life, our GCSE’s where we choose topics that will affect the career path we go into.

Now does this hinder confidence you might ask, well, I am doing something based on what I think other people think to gain their approval…. What happens when you don’t get that approval…? You question yourself and you begin to lose confidence.