I’m working on two posts, that I hope will be entertaining and informative, but there is no way I’ll get either of them finished tonight, and I wanted to at least provide something, partly because I committed to myself to make three blog posts a week, and partly because I’m getting a handful of readers (most of whom are pretty awesome people) and I want them to have something to read. So let me spin the Wheel of Topics and see what I come up with.
The Wheel spins…rattles past the politics…past history…past the collusion of big government with big tech with big pharma…past conspiracy theories…past my silly efforts at YouTube and TikTok videos…past the war in Ukraine…past several self help issues…and lands on self confidence.
In one of my earlier posts about The One Minute Millionaire, I shared and vaguely discussed how affirmations (which so many self helpers preach as gospel) are not helpful for the depressed, or for those with low self esteem, but become helpful once you have attained a certain level of confidence.
So in this post, as it is getting late and I am more tired even than usual, I’m going to do a very quick Tired Blogger analysis about confidence. In the future you can expect (unless you are tired of me talking about it, comments welcome) me to continue with my journey through the OMM, and/or you can expect some railings about a political figure that a secret government insider has shared some information about.
I’m gonna make this one quick. I’m still gonna discuss three things though. The positives of having confidence, the negatives of arrogance, and lastly, how to cultivate a healthy amount of confidence without becoming a di…er…doo…er…doofas!
I Have Confidence They’ll Put Me to the Test!
Jordan Peterson says that without confidence “You are like a rabbit… A rabbit is not virtuous, it’s harmless, it can do nothing, except maybe get eaten.” I know that when I am most depressed, or when the chronic fatigue gets really overwhelming, confidence is one of the first things to go (right after my ability to remember the names of celebrities).
When I was young, I was taught that Jesus said “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out.” When I was young I thought this was about virtue and kindness, and I think that is part of it, but now I also think it is about being confident in your walk. We get the phrase “he is worth his salt” from those Roman times. It meant he was a good soldier, because a soldier had at one time been paid with salt, from which we get the word “salary.” When I think of a Roman soldier, I am not often thinking “rabbit,’ still less “harmless.”
I Have Confidence the World Can All Be Mine
The great sin in the Judeo-Christian religion is pride. I think in modern parlance it might be better translated as arrogance. The word pride has changed in connotation, in the last century or so, and I don’t want to argue with anyone at this point whether that is good or ill. But I have yet to know anyone (outside of a Conan story) who would say that arrogance was a good quality.
And that is the trouble, methinks. Confidence, pride, dignity, I don’t think these qualities are themselves negative. But I do believe a narrow minded arrogance is. Nor is the merely a Western proposition. Chen Yu-Hsi, Ph.D. of the school of religious studies in Fo Guang University, Taiwan, shares that “Like other spiritual traditions, Buddhism sees humility as a virtue. In the Buddhist text on Maha-karuna (great compassion), humility is one of the ten sacred qualities attributed to Avalokite Bodhisattva, or Buddha of Compassion. Within that context, it appears to be a natural by-product of supreme spiritual attainments that transcends the ego, just as are the four noble states of mind — love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
“However, Mahayana Buddhism1 also advocates humility as a moral precept. As such it is often expressed in terms of exhortation against an arrogant or haughty attitude. Being a sign of ego-centeredness, pride is seen as impeding acceptance of the Buddha’s teachings and progress towards spiritual liberation. Buddhist practitioners believe that only a humble mind can readily recognize its own defilements of craving (or greed), aversion (or hatred) and ignorance, thereby embarking on the path of enlightenment and liberation.
“The Platform Sutra tells a story about how the Sixth Patriarch, Master Hui Neng, of the Chinese Zen Sect reprimanded a follower for his arrogant attitude. That follower felt self-conceited about his knowledge of a major Buddhist sutra and knowingly or unknowingly kept his head above the ground while bowing to the master. At that point the master gave him a lecture that his lack of humility suggested that having a great knowledge of the sutra fettered his mind rather than liberating it. In other words, when religious knowledge, like other knowledge, adds to “intellectual arrogance” and self-conceit, it becomes an impediment to what religious practice is supposed to attain. Elsewhere in the Platform Sutra, the Sixth Patriarch teaches that behaving humbly and according to propriety is a merit and a desirable moral quality that comes from insight into the spiritual reality. Humility in this sense is both a prerequisite for liberation and salvation from the deluded ego and a manifestation thereof.”
So while confidence is a virtue, over confidence, arrogance, these are flaws in the traditions of both the East and the West.
I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Using the example of Lincoln, he had the self confidence to surround himself with strong and intelligent people. They were the best America had to offer, and he build a cabinet out of political rivals. I never realized until this late time of life, just how confident he really had to be, in order to listen to people who often thought he was an idiot, often thought they were better than them, and yet have both the wisdom to see when they were right, and when they were wrong. The same rivals that scorned him at the beginning of his administration wept like they had lost their father when he die.
So listen up corporate hacks who run this nation. Confidence neither is, nor is obtained, but surrounding yourself with sycophants and “yes men.” I know I feel great for about five minutes when it is obvious I am the smartest man in the room, but after those minutes, it gets boring real fast. And frankly, the job just isn’t as well done.
Likely I short changed ya’ll on this one, but my lame excuse is weariness and a desire to get something out, even if it is not quite the quality you deserve. I have a request for the next one, and so I will likely be writing about some shenanigans in the Oklahoman Republican party, or I will have some more half baked commentary on being a millionaire come Wodan’s Day.
Thanks for reading, thanks for the advise, thanks for the comments, and thanks for the tips. Till next time, make mine Dark Horse (can’t let Disney get all the love).