Archive: April 16, 2008

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Wednesday,  04/16/08  11:18 PM

My brain is too full and too tired tonight to review the world; it will have to spin on without me. 

Today was an object lesson in confidence, one of my favorite subjects, which is closely related to value creation, another one.  (See this post about my friend Paul, and this one about Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

People are drawn to people with confidence.  And if you have confidence - if it comes from somewhere, within yourself, from your experience, from your friends, your family, or whatever - you become aware that people are drawn to you, and it self-reinforces.  With enough confidence you can carry all before you...  the exact same idea presented with the exact same arguments may be accepted readily or summarily rejected depending on the confidence level with which it is presented.

It is worth thinking about where does confidence come from - how do you get it, and marshal it?  What does it look like?  A lot of it is in your demeanor.  Be calm, and smile.  Be pleasant.  As objections are raised, listen to them and validate them ("that's a great point").  Accept criticism and respond cleanly to the central objection.  Avoid being defensive.  Often your attitude is more convincing than your arguments.

And what's so cool is that if once you start in the right direction, you'll feel it working, which will give you more confidence, which will allow it to work further.  Even if you don't start out actually having confidence, you can pretend, and the positive feedback will get you there in the end.

(Of course if you start in the wrong direction the feedback will go in the other direction.  And that is not so good.)

I can't recount the details, but it was an amazing day.  I started with a goal, at first dimly perceived, with no plan and no confidence.  After a while I could visualize the goal clearly, but still couldn't see how to get there.  My lack of confidence was self-defeating, the negative spiral began.  But then headlessly, several circumstances combined to create a sort of tipping point.  The outline of an approach formed, I started to feel maybe it was possible, then I got a flywheel kick from a friend, the positive spiral began, and I ended up on a great trajectory.  After that it was easy... 

I probably didn't deserve it but I understand what happened anyway :)


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