„You have to be confident before the match!“ „Only a confident player can succeed“. „This player is confident because he has won the last 4 matches“. „Our team has gained confidence after the win against a tough team“... etc.
We could continue using similar examples forever... In sports, we are listening a lot about confidence and its essential importance on the way to success. In this short article, I focus on the area of sports, but similar opinions are promoted in different areas of our life as well.
Majority of people, including peak performance experts, think and start from the premise that confidence is related to the abilities of an athlete, his success, preparation, fame, or to his financial situation. Within my practice of a mental coach, I stronly disagree with this majority assumption.
Confidence does not relate to the above mentioned factors: e.g. success, fame, abilities, financial situation... etc. If this assumption is correct, then every successful and famous athlete (as well as businessman... etc.) with the best abilities would be all the time confident.
Why is it so that even these athletes are sometimes confident before the match (performance) and sometimes not? Why is it happening that sometimes their experience stress before the competition and sometimes do not?
This includes world class athletes as well. From plenty of examples, I can mention Messi- one of the best soccer players of all time and his pre-game nervousness/anxiety. Messi´s pre-game anxiety leads to his digestion problems and sometimes he even throws up. In case we follow a standard approach stating that success, fame, abilities, preparation, or financial situation is related to the feeling of confidence, then Messi would be all the time confident...
Another great example is a legendary tennis player Roger Federer and his statement within the interview after his triumph at Wimbledon. He acknowledged that sometimes he feels confident before the match and sometimes do not. He talked about his nervousness before the match as well as about the fluctuation of his emotions within the match.
What is then a real source of confidence? What is the real variable that is „hiding“ behind the confident feeling?
I am convinced that confidence is a byproduct of a clear mind.
World class athletes, as well as all people, experience a wide variety of feelings – from enthusiasm, motivation, to stress, nervousness, anxiety, fear... etc.
However the best athletes (as well as leaders, managers...) know that their current emotion does not say anything about their abilities or preparation, about their past or future. They deeply understand they are able to perform well no matter what feelings they experience at the moment.
From moment to moment, we are only and always experiencing Thought- energy. We are not able to directly experience any external situation- e.g. a following match.
e.g. Considering an example of a soccer team and their loss, every player experiences the loss with a different kind of emotion depending on his thought in the moment.
As I have already mentioned, confidence is ever related to a clear mind and it is in no case related to something outside of us (eventhough it could look like in many cases). It is important to realize that in order to succeed, you do not have to feel all the time confident. And basically this is even not possible.
Our feelings are solely connected to thought. As thought changes, so our feelings. Sometimes our head is clear and sometimes it is full of thoughts. If you see on a deeper level a real source of our feelings- Thought-energy, then your goal would not be to just experience good feelings.
The paradox of this undestanding is that the less time you spend trying to experience only positive feelings (including feelings of confidence), the more time you wil be spending in the „space“ that is characterized by the feelings of contentment, love, enthusiasm, motivation, and our „famous“ confidence. :)