Thursday, April 30, 2009

Change the yardstick

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"
Edmund Hillary

"Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control"
Richard Kline

Even successful people will wrestle with the problem of lost confidence at some point in time: "How to maintain my confidence when things are not going well"

Let us start with what is confidence and what it is not:

It is:
  • assurance: freedom from doubt; belief in ourself and our abilities
  • a feeling of trust in others or in ourself
  • firm trust, a feeling of certainty, sense of self-reliance
  • state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective
  • Natural confidence is a quiet state and feeling

What it cannot be:

  • belief that you are better than others
  • belief that the results will always follow
  • presume success
  • belief that you will never make a mistake
  • Confidence doesn't come from trying to impress others. It comes from doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons
  • Loud, extrovert people are not necessarily displaying confidence

Someone confident focuses on the process. He can practice each step, each movement and his mastery of each step, so he can do it again. He focuses on the process and not on the results. Because we cannot control the results. There are too many factors that can change an outcome.

Someone who has sustained success will become familiar with it, so that it will become second nature. And the danger is that because you have familiar with it, you assume it. That would be a mistake. That is no longer confidence. For without the greatest respect for the opponents, one may soon find reality knocking at the door. For they to will have practiced.

So how to maintain confidence in ourself when the results are far from what we had hoped they would be. The answer is easy. Well easy to state, but it may take some practice to do it:

"You have to change the yardstick"

How you perform is the only thing over which you have control. If you change the yardstick from the results to how well you gave your best effort, and if you do this repeatedly, you can prove to yourself that you can be trusted to perform well when called upon.

You can still be disappointed about some of the outcomes you achieve because results are outside of your direct control. But this confidence will then allow you to approach the challenges you face with greater calm and with a more directed focus on the process of that performance, rather than on its outcome.

Easy game


  1. Like this post.
    However, are you referring to "changing the yardstick" only when results are "far from what we had hoped".
    Does this apply only when one is an aspiring player (to any rank or order) or does it relate to an established player as well ?

    Actually, while writing the above line, it struck me that one is always an aspiring player. Even an established player aspires to the next rung up so perhaps my question is misconcieved ...

  2. It seems that I have not expressed my concept all that well. Will illustrate in a new post and see what you think.