Confidence of Creator Champions

I

How confident a creator are you? The reason I’m asking is that many creative people are blessed with talent that’s astonishing and dazzling and have magnificent promise. Yet, they puzzle everyone—especially themselves–by not reaching the heights as expected because although they have all the talent they would ever need, they don’t have the confidence to make full use of it.

It isn’t a question of ability. Creators who lack the inner skill of confidence may have as much ability or more ability, or much more ability than their confident martial-arts-291051_640counterpart who is less gifted but much more successful. Creators who aren’t confident avoid activities which, were they confident, they might excel in.  So they’ll never know how successful they might have been had they been confident.

But when a highly confident creator begins a project, she not only thinks she will do it well, she believes she will do it superbly, believes that her novel, painting, or stage performance will be remarkable. The higher your confidence, the higher you’ll set your goals and the stronger your commitment to achieving them will be. And it is high, challenging goals, not easy goals that lead to major achievements. When you’re confident, you work harder. But low-confidence creators facing difficulty lower their effort or stop completely.

I was asked to do a teleconference. Though it seemed I was talking about many topics in that hour, there was one that I went back to time and again. And that was the need for you, for me, for he and she to have confidence because the more thinking I do, the more I believe confidence is the single most important success factor. Whatever the field, wherever you live, it’s number one. Talent without confidence will not take a writer, artist, actor, composer, or performer—or English sales person, Swedish teacher, or French social worker far.

There is no premium on talented people—he’s talented, she’s talented. Practically everyone I know is talented. But talented people who are also confident and are making full use of their talents and reaching the successes they desire are a much rarer breed. Some degree of that stuff we call talent is just one of the requirements of the creator who stands out. But it’s naïve to think that talent without confidence is sufficient to take a creator to great heights.

It’s my theme in everything I do—something I discovered a long time ago–that there’s more to everyone than they realize, more to you than even you are medal-1622523_640aware of. You are more extraordinary than you know. Being as great as you are, don’t sell yourself short.  Be confident. Aim much higher. Then you must take up the idea of becoming all the writer, painter, actor, dancer, composer you can become.  Make that idea part of your life. Think of it. Dream of it. Let your brain and every part of you be full of that idea. That’s the way to great success.

II

As a boy I was shy and had been trained by my parents to be modest and self-effacing, maybe the same as you. There was a girl in my Chicago neighborhood I had my eyes on. But after all, I was shy. I never asked her out, never talked to her. Years later she told me she wished I had.

I think I spent half my childhood and adolescence running. I loved running so much—the feel of it through my body, the joy. My first season running the 800 meters on the high school track team I did well, finishing second in the conference championship. As the second season was beginning the best senior middle distance runner sat down beside me on the bench in the locker room. We’d never spoken and I was wondering what he wanted. He said, “You’re a talented runner. I see you working harder than anyone. You’re a nice guy. But you’re not confident enough. It hasn’t sunk in yet how really good you could be. You’ll have to get over that. You have to be bold and have a concept of yourself as the best, the champion, if you hope to BE the champion.”

His doing that so selflessly, knowing I would be his main competition, meant a great deal to me and put me on the right path.  I did win the championship and set a record. Like runners, all creators and all people in whatever life’s pursuit have a need if they are to reach their peak achievements for:

Supreme self-confidence

An empowering concept of themselves

The realization that with application and never-stopping persistence high excellence is possible.

If a creator lacks self-confidence he/she must acquire it. The most powerful oscarand direct basis for confidence is past success.  If you have some kind of proof that you have the ability to achieve what you want to achieve—the skills, motivation, and know-how–because you’ve succeeded in the past, you will try to achieve it again. If you feel that way, you’ll be confident and will not likely be stopped by self-doubt, a creator’s main psychological obstacle. Strong self-confidence helps you overcome the scourge of discouragement, that dreariness that has ended thousands and thousands of creators’ careers.

Even the most self-doubting or discouraged creator has had past successes. No one fails at everything all the time. There is always something very positive that will fuel your confidence to fasten onto during periods of doubt—prizes you’ve won, awards you’ve received, the best piece of work you’ve produced, a new skill you’ve learned, a compliment. Make them the foundation of becoming the champion you deserve to be.

We are what our thoughts have made us.  Confidence says, “Never mind failures. They’ll wake you up.” Be a creator-warrior. Dwell only on success. Kick every other thought out of your mind.

 

© 2016 David J. Rogers

For my interview from the international teleconference with Ben Dean about Fighting to Win, click on the following link:

www.mentorcoach.com/rogers

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12 Comments

Filed under Confidence, Creativity Self-Improvement, Developing Talent, Human Potential and Achievement, Goals and Purposes, High Achievement, Inner Skills, Self-Confidence, Warriors

12 responses to “Confidence of Creator Champions

  1. Hi David,
    Although not the intent, I feel as if you’re speaking to me.
    Really , what one thinks upon grows.
    The daily message growing up… Be humble, show humility. Don’t ever ask anyone to do something you would not do yourself. Perform the lowest task with joy and do it well.
    You would think that would translate into “There’s nothing I can’t do!!”
    I guess sometimes the messages get garbled.
    I hope you’re having a spectacular Chicago autumn!
    Kathy

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    • davidjrogersftw

      Kathy, yes, our upbringings were similar. As I wrote this post, I did think of you and hoped it would encourage you and help your confidence. How could I not be having a spectacular autumn: my Cubs are champions of baseball. I hope your writing is going well and that you’re doing a lot of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Congratulations on those Cubs!! What an historic time we live in!
        Actually, after the first few paragraphs, I wasn’t thinking at all about writing, but what it would feel like to have the wind rushing by my face as I ran. I haven’t run in years and can’t remember what that would feel like.. I think it would feel like freedom. What a sensation that would be! Disinhibited freedom. Perhaps that’s what writing should feel like as well.
        Maybe putting pen to paper instead of tapping away at a keyboard would feel more authentic, more genuine.
        I think I’ll try it.

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        • davidjrogersftw

          Kathy, I think running and writing when it’s going well are experiences of freedom. Until a few years ago I did all my writing by hand. Then I changed. I had felt that my language and fluency of writing was best when I was writing by hand and avoided word processing. But then I switched and tried the other day to go back to handwriting because the computer wasn’t working, and I had no choice. But it didn’t go particularly well, and I’ve decided that the word processor is for me. Let me know how your experiment works out.

          I couldn’t nor could anyone in my family be more elated than we are about the Cubs. We have all been devoted and long-suffering Cub fans–not Johnny-come-latelies–and the Cubs winning the championship was wonderful. I’m thinking that you might be a Giants fan living where you do, and if you are, I’m sorry that the Giants are a team we had to beat to get to the Championship.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I understand completely, because I have also/do suffer from a lack of confidence at times. And, you are completely right – the best way of curing it is to acquire it, and the best way of acquiring it is to slowly and steadily build small successes. Gradually, confidence comes. It is the only way. Somehow I missed that lesson in my childhood, that success comes gradually, with small, focused steps. Anyway, better late than never!
    By the way my friend, I hope you and Diane are well. I imagine it’s getting very chilly in Chicago! We had our first hot day for the season here yesterday, with a stinking hot wind that caused bushfires up and down the coast. Not a good start! Luckily it cooled right down in the afternoon. Xo

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    • davidjrogersftw

      Sara, yes, slow and steady development of confidence along with expertise seems to be the answer in most everything, doesn’t it? I don’t like the sound of those brush fires up and down the coast, and I hope they don’t affect you.

      The topic here in the Chicago area and in fact throughout the U.S. is that the Chicago Cubs baseball team–my hometown Chicago Cubs-won the major league baseball championship for the first time in 108 years. That was the longest any American team in any sport went without winning a championship, so it was quite an accomplishment, and a long time coming. Five million people lined the route of the parade in downtown Chicago that celebrated the achievement. You have to understand that being a Cubs fan is an extraordinary experience. It is handed down through a family from generation to generation. It’s a rite of passage of parents to take their children to their first Cubs game.

      By the way, it’s actually been unseasonably warm here. We’re hoping that continues all through autumn and all through winter, taking us to April, the beginning of the new baseball season. I hope your weather improves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Chicago Cubs won their first season in 108 years! Wow, that is a big deal for sure 😍 I love how your hope is for a warm Autumn and winter to get you through to the the next baseball season 😜 what are your chances I wonder? I also love how you do not mention a rather long and internationally observed game that’s been going on for years in your country and that will soon be coming to an end (or morphing into another game).
        The fires are still burning, but far from here. Not far enough according to my daughter, who has been grilling us about our fire plan and has her fire bag packed 😳 She’s like her father – she likes to be prepared, but there really is no cause.

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        • davidjrogersftw

          Sara, I think our chances of a semi-moderate winter are good. We know we will have our share of 30 or forty below zero (F) wind chills, and maybe 60 or 65 below. ( A few years ago we had 85 below) That’s to be expected. But last winter’s snow fall was low, which was fine for me because when the snow is heavy I have to dig Diana’s car out.

          Later tonight we will have a new president. I’m sure my family and I and everyone I know will vote for the winner. I sure hopE you won’t need a fire plan and your daughter’s worries turn to nothing. Now of course we hereabouts are sensitive to the dangers of fires. I’m alluding of course to the Great Chicago Fire in the 19th century when the whole city burned to the ground. But we recovered and built a new city, the pride of the Midwest.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. You are completely right! Have fun reading your articles, you are writing from the time zone of authenticity!

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  4. Tim

    Here’s my perspective.

    The lack of confidence that everyone will exhibit at times during their life is natural and in its application to many facets of of lives is something which protects us. Its that warning voice that says “Yes, you can do that, but should you?”

    In relation to creative expression and confidence with any lack thereof, it again acts as a defense mechanism to protect you from hurt, the hurt of rejection.

    You can’t put this lack of confidence into a box and categorize it though, many because it has so many different underlining issues, it may come from a genuine fear of rejection or it may be a unconscious realization that your work is not up to the standard of others.

    Its very easy to say “Go for it! Fulfill your dreams!” but reality is not like that and its sad to say that many people don’t have the talent to accomplish creatively what it is they seek to achieve – they have no end of enthusiasm and want, but these things in itself are not enough, infact enthusiam, want and talent are not even enough because you need luck too. JK Rowlings put her book out to many publishers, they didn’t want to know…then one took the chance and the rest as they say is history. So even if you have the talent and have the confidence, it counts for nothing if luck is not present. If things had worked out differently, the Harry Potter series could have been sat on a shelf in a notebook never seeing the light of day. I would love to be an astronaut, but at 41 and having not had relevant experience in the “industry” I cannot go into space. There is no dressing that up. Look to how our children are brought up, nobody loses, everyone is a winner in competitions and it brings about a false reality in adulthood. Everyone isn’t a winner, some people can’t do what they want to do for a career. These days though, everyone else is too scared to tell people that.

    I think many peoples lack of confidence in their creative works comes from this – we live in a culture where everything is handed on a plate, consumers and creators alike, just look beyond the world of literature to programming where the tools at peoples fingertips allow the most complex of tasks to be completed when previously it would have taken months.

    People I think expect that if they put their effort and time into something they will be rewarded and until the point of release they think they have almost a right to success from the thing they have invested so much energy in. When the time of release approaches, the self doubt creeps in because deep down they see their initial dreams and goals as being unrealistic and want to put off any criticism of what has taken them so long.

    Quoting the article;

    “Never mind failures. They’ll wake you up.” Be a creator-warrior. Dwell only on success. Kick every other thought out of your mind.”

    And this probably highlights where recent times have gone wrong. People should mind the failures, they are telling you a message. The wake-up should be that all of us will attempt things in life that we are not as good as others in. Sure there is often luck in the creative industry, but listen to your inner voice – If this is something that is a hobby then fine, enjoy your hobby, but if its something you intend to take into a career, then look for something you are good at, because otherwise you are living a dream and wasting everyone’s time including your own. If confidence and enthusiasm were the only factors required for success, then the market would be flooded with classics and best sellers.

    Not everyone will write a best seller or paint a masterpiece, but so what? Life isn’t about getting everything we want and this is a lesson that should have been taught in recent times at schools…its perhaps why we now have an “entitlement” culture and the days of the past where people worked incredibly hard without fuss or complaint at some rotten jobs are now resigned to history.

    I apologize if this went a little off topic, but many of the key points of the article brought about memories of discussions and talks I’ve previously held.

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    • davidjrogersftw

      Tim, thank you for your comment dealing with what might be called an absurd confidence and lack of confidence being a form of protection, and the fear of rejection. I enjoyed it very much and can see you’ve put considerable thought into the subject. We agree in a lot of things. I will never be able to run the mile in world-record time or sing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera no matter how confident I might be though I’d love to do both. My confidence would be unrealistic and foolish. It’s a good idea to save myself from rejection, disappointments, and discouragement that may come if I attempt the impossible. I simply don’t have what it takes to succeed at those things and I don’t want to be hurt, so I don’t try.
      But that’s not the problem many people have. Many don’t try to accomplish what they may have the ability to accomplish were they confident and did try. But not being confident and not trying there is no chance they will succeed.
      So many creative people give up too easily. That’s ended the careers of many exceptionally talented people. Their initial confidence flies out the window after a failure or two or ten or twenty—or a hundred. Many people have a TV-ratings mentality—it’s either quick results or cancellation. People who tend to succeed persevere—everyone knows that–and what fuels perseverance are confidence and the hope of success. Success is difficult, but they persist.
      Novelists Jack London and William Saroyan received hundreds of rejections before their first success. From then on everything they wrote was published. One year after London’s first book was published he was the most popular writer in the world. British author John Creasey had 564 novels published, but received 743 rejection slips before the first one was published.
      Every person has to decide when he’ll give up. Or if he/she will ever give up. My advice, for what it’s worth, would be “Be very reluctant to give up.” I wrote a book about samurai warriors. There’s a samurai motto I like especially: “Be knocked down seven times, get up eight.”
      Thanks again for your enjoyable comment. I hope to hear from you again.

      Like

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