Confidence is a skill
There is a myth surrounding our idea of confidence that implies it is something one is born with – some sort of gift from God bestowed on the extraverted. As if you are either lucky enough to feel naturally comfortable in social situations or public speaking, or you are an introverted collapsed body of fear and doubt, sentenced to a life of quiet introspection.
Introversion and extraversion are merely personality traits in the way we interact with the world. An introvert may enjoy more quiet time and inner reflection, where the extravert may gain energy from others. It is this convention that often strips the introvert of their natural ability to communicate and share parts of themselves with others. We are all social animals – our lives are given purpose through our interaction with others, be it through our partners, work colleagues, children, friends or community. All of us have a place for “our story” – the ability to claim this space relies on us disenthralling ourselves from the limited notion of confidence being merely the reserve of the loud.
In today’s world you would be forgiven for assuming that the body works solely as a very efficient transportation system for the head. It gets us to and from meetings, it sits us upright at our computer screens and it allows us to arrive at work more or less on time. The body, of course is much more than this and importantly it is inextricably linked to our ability to overcome imposed fear and find ways for all of us to learn to express – to LEARN confidence. Actors do it every day – and they – just like the rest of us are an eclectic mix of personalities – favouring both introversion and extraversion.
In a world moving faster, a society getting louder and a workplace demanding more and more of us, there are many who run the risk of missing their voice – robbing those around them of their unique story. All of us can be heard. The subtle exile of the introvert is a dangerous prospect.
As three year olds we all enjoyed a fluid relationship between body and mind. The adult world of conventions, expectations and judgments slowly began to smother the freely expressive child and mould them piece by piece to take their place in the linear adult world around them. For all of us then, confidence is not new, but merely a re-learning of a forgotten skill.
This is not about stepping into unchartered waters, but merely sailing through old familiar ones, but seeing them for the first time with grown-up eyes.