In the past two days we discussed how a sense of community and its culture could influence kindness. It is valuable to be aware of the type of community you are a part, as you can assess if that is the lifestyle you want.

At the root of these societal concepts is the individual. Just as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts for a community, the same applies for an individual…people are its building blocks. And a person’s present state…his mood at a particular moment, the perspective he has on a topic based on his experiences to that day and his personality as it has grown to that point in time…is ever changing, however slightly. You can say that the moods, perspectives and personalities of a person are in evolution, and how you act is a snapshot of what you are when life’s camera takes the picture. One of the most influential aspects of how you are in your snapshot is your confidence.

Here is why…

Confidence is a powerful mechanism for you to make dreams into reality. It is the steady hand on the wheel as you drive boldly down the highway of your narrative. It will determine how aggressive you are in seeking opportunities for personal growth, which leads to opening other options you may have never intended. It is an understanding of your sense of self, by understanding what you are capable of, as well as what your limits are, in order to achieve what you desire. Sometimes an inflated confidence can be helpful in a high-risk, high-reward scenario, for example in athletic competitions. However, in most day-to-day scenarios over-confidence can lead to a corruption of self, and disrespect to others. This behavior, being overly confident, is contrived as arrogant or stubborn, and creates ego-driven acts.

What is an ego-driven act?

An ego-driven act is any decision you make with the sole purpose of self-validation. This can be because secretly you are insecure of something about yourself or you feel that you have something to prove to others. It can also be from a fear or doubt about something important to you, such as a job opportunity or your relationship status. When people act this way they are alienating themselves from others, including themselves. They put their shortsighted needs for instant gratification ahead of others, as well as blocking themselves to their true-selves…muting a possible internal honest conversation that would explore, “how can I make the most of this moment, and what will empower me to make better decisions in the future?” Sometimes the answer to these questions would be to realize how your actions are actually hurting people…including yourself.

Make no mistake, ego is important. It is the gravitational center of your identity. It is an instrument of your self-worth, and is the momentum that drives your confidence that will lead to potential future opportunities. But ego with blindness will lead you down a road of cruelty. Ego with awareness fosters kindness, for it feeds yourself and an understanding of the impact you have on others. Egos that are fed by nurturing others are the strongest form of confidence. And true confidence is a balance between knowing both your strengths and weaknesses, and deciding on what to improve to become a better person…and it is usually not your weaknesses.

But confidence is a double-edge blade. Having low confidence, and a low evaluation of a personal self-worth, will lead to self-doubt, and in extreme cases, self-destruction. The primary blockers to new opportunities for growth will be internal, not external, and a person with low confidence will likely get in his own way when attempting a pursuit, if he even tries at all. Instead of steadily handling the wheel as you drive down the highway of your narrative, your doubt will cause you to swerve at any perceived bumps in the road. Perhaps people feel this way because they have been hurt before and they choose not to be vulnerable again. It is easy to feel lost when we are victim to a cruel act. And it may feel like the best way to respond to such a feeling is to isolate, to shield, to protect from future hurt. We know that walls are strong, so if we build strong walls around our beliefs, our battered egos, we must be strong as well. But an architect who builds without purpose is a poor one indeed.

Confidence is a delicate balance, so, how can you be sure you have a healthy one?

Trust yourself…

Trust is confidence in future behavior. It is measured by an objective understanding of desired results, understanding the risks involved obtaining them, and how the context of your actions will impact others.

…And that is the power of confidence.