What is Wise Confidence5 min read

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Every virtue casts a shadow. This means that your greatest strengths are also likely the source of your greatest weaknesses. In personal development under the Higher Mind approach, we seek a balanced, holistic growth where we integrate opposite virtues so that they cancel out each other’s shadows.

When a virtue is balanced with its opposite, then it is freed from its shadows.

  • If you have the virtue of patience, you know how to wait for things that matter, and focus on the long-term—yet at times, you may get too lenient or lazy. If you can balance this strength with the opposite strengths of proactiveness, earnestness, and determination, then you avoid the shadows of patience.
  • If you have the virtue of kindness you have the ability to spread goodness around you and make people happy—yet you may at times be taken advantage of. If you can balance it with the opposite strengths of assertiveness, boundaries, and justice, then you’ll be safe.
  • If you have the virtue of prudence or caution, you will avoid many pitfalls—yet you may be too shy to take meaningful risks and bold steps in your life. If you can balance it with the opposite virtues of courage and self-belief, then you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Likewise with the virtue of confidence. Confidence gives us a tremendous boost in our life. It energizes our efforts, giving us the optimism and conviction that we will succeed in what we are undertaking. With that comes greater energy, focus, and motivation. We experience less anxiety and less fear and live more freely.

But when confidence is misdirected, overstretched, or when it rests on a foundation of ego, then we have arrogance—a very limiting and inflexible state of mind. Confidence, then, needs to be balanced with humility and self-awareness, so that we can benefit from it without suffering its shadow sides.

That is where Wise Confidence, the topic of my latest book, comes in.

What is Wise Confidence?

Wise Confidence is the balanced middle between the extremes of self-doubt and overconfidence. It’s a more evolved and mindful approach to self-confidence.

Wise Confidence means having a healthy dose of respect for the challenges ahead of you. You are well aware of your strengths, but also of your shortcomings. You believe in your capacity to rise to life’s challenges, whatever they are. You believe in your inherent capacity to achieve your goals and live your aspirations.

In the other two extremes, you are absorbed in thinking about yourself—be it “I suck” (self-doubt) or “I’m great” (overconfidence). In wise confidence, however, you are not busy judging yourself; rather, you simply focus on showing up as your best self—with determination, integrity, self-belief, courage, and optimism.

Here is a table from my book, showing the difference between these three:

The Five Elements of Self-Confidence

If we break down the quality of self-confidence into its component parts, we will see that it includes five other qualities: determination, integrity, self-belief, courage, and optimism. They form the acronym DISCO.

Here I present a quick summary of these elements, as taken from the book.

Determination, or willpower, is an internal resolve to move forward toward your goals, despite difficulties. It builds confidence that you can change yourself and your environment. It is this dynamic conviction: “I must succeed, I can, and sooner or later I will.”

As I wrote in the book:

Fill every corner of your mind with determination, and there will be no space left for self-doubt.

The power of “I must” is an internal choice to focus all your energy on your aspiration, your plan-A, with full commitment and no plan-B as a backup. This concentration of energy allows you to show up as your best, thus building confidence.

You can learn more about determination in this article and also this one.

Integrity means being whole, without internal contradictions. All parts of you are on the same team, and you are moving forward undivided—no self-sabotage, no second-guessing. You move forward wholeheartedly, at your full capacity.

Self-belief is the unshakable conviction that you can do anything that you put your mind to. It concentrates your power into your own hands, allowing you to take healthy risks for success, knowing you can stomach any failure. Self-belief may come from awareness of your strengths, but ultimately it is a choice.

Courage is the willingness and strength to take steps toward your cherished goals, despite fear of obstacles or failure.

Optimism is betting on your success, rather than rehearsing failure in your mind. Smart optimism is not blind expectation; it anticipates difficulties and how to rise to the challenges. This attitude enhances courage and motivation.

Now, my questions for you: Which of these elements is strongest for you? Which do you need to work on?

The Path of Wise Confidence

How do we develop Wise Confidence? By working through the three pillars of Aspiration, Awareness, and Action. These are the same pillars of Mindful Self-Discipline, but they are focused on self-transformation rather than goal achievement.

  • Aspiration. Design your aspirational self.
  • Awareness. Master the inner tools that will help you overcome your conditioned self.
  • Action. Express your new self in your daily life.

One of the unique things about this approach is its emphasis on shifting your core identity or self-image. That is the Aspiration pillar, when you create your new self as someone who already has all the qualities, states, and emotions that you aspire to have—and none of the challenges you currently face.

From this point onward, it’s all about living inside out from this new blueprint, using the tools in the Awareness and Action pillars to act in alignment with your vision.

You practice continuously realigning with your new self by choosing to:

  • See the world from those new lenses
  • Think from that new set of beliefs
  • Cultivate thoughts and feelings that are natural to your higher self
  • Make choices that affirm your new beliefs
  • Act from your new assumptions and motivations

Once you have internalized the system, the practice becomes extremely simple. It can be summed up in these three sentences:

Know who you want to be.

Act as who you want to be.

Let go of everything else.

I’m extremely proud of this new book. With it I could finally bring together all the tools that I myself use for self-transformation, and share them with the world in a step-by-step system that is useful not only for self-confidence, but for any change you wish to make in yourself.

You can learn more about it here. You can also try the guided meditations I’ve included in the app to help you implement these tools in your life.

Do you have a clear vision for the person you want to be? That’s likely the most important decision of our lives.

Do you know how to overcome your conditioning and be that person here and now? That’s likely the most important skill of our lives.

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