A table of eight. Seven men, one, a wrestler, two, a state-level basketball champion, three, four, five, six, part of a military organization, seven, a mechanical engineer. Eighth, Sarah, an eighteen year old wanna-be chemical engineer whose home was 1700 miles away. All, sitting on one table, trying to decipher a math problem.
Person 1: I think it will be wiser if we read the problem twice or thrice, first, and then come to a unanimous conclusion of how we should go about with it.
Person 3: Yeah, and let’s note down on what’s given and the assumptions we’re supposed to make to solve it.
Sarah: We’ve been doing that since the past one hour. Let’s all start discussing the approach to the problem, we’re running out of time. Only three more hours to go before the presentation.
Person 5 : We have enough time. I’m sure we’ll be able to finish it on time. There’s nothing to worry about.
Sarah: What if we don’t complete it on time? We’re stuck at the same place where we were an hour ago, no progress.
Person 1: We will do it. Please don’t panic.
Sarah: Okay. As y’all say.
(An hour and a half later)
Person 3: I guess I’ve figured out the last step to the problem. Wait let me work it out on the board for all of you.
Person 5: Yeah, I’ve figured it out too.
Sarah: I’m almost done figuring out, but I’m doubtful of one assumption that we made, it’s probably false. (Person 3 shakes his head)
As he got up and started working out the problem on the board, he very easily ignored the assumption made, and worked out the problem. When questioned:
Sarah: Oh wait, how did you conclude that? I couldn’t figure that out.
Person 3(explaining): …and in the last step, you simply plugin.
Sarah: But what about the assumption made? You can’t simply ignore that. It makes the system isolated, and without that assumption, we cannot come to any conclusion.
Person 3: Whatever, I think what I’ve done is correct.
How was he so confident of his work that he got up and displayed his solution in front of 15 company employees, who were there to judge us on our efficiency, and problem solving capacity? And why wasn’t Sarah confident enough to get up and showcase her work, concluding that if they needed a solution to the problem, the system in consideration could not be an isolated one, and that the assumption made in the beginning of the problem was false?
What stopped her? Seven other confident men? Or her lack of confidence in her own work?
Whom do you think the company employees were impressed of? The guy or Sarah?
Even though Sarah’s role as critic to whatever the guy did was vital to the progress of the problem, it was the guy who got an internship offer from the company. Why? Why does being correct doesn’t do wonders always? Why is confidence sometimes more important than being perfectly correct?
Confidence speaks, but little did Sarah realize that.
And if you have a combination of confidence and intelligence, who can stop you?
Statistics say, that about 30% of the world’s women and about 85% of the world’s men are confident. Why does such a huge gap exist? Why are we so different if we’re the creations of the same superpower?
Why does confidence make such a difference in people? Is it the overconfidence in guys, or the lack of confidence in girls? Which is better, perhaps safer?
I believe, confidence is a seed that is sown by our elders in the early days of our childhood. It is watered by anyone and everyone we meet in our lives till we are in our mid teens. You can’t really control your level of confidence in yourself till you’re that old. But the day you turn that old, people stop watering. If you don’t continue doing that, you’ll be a loser. Maybe, not in the literal sense, but a loser compared to the older you.
Appreciate what you do everyday. List down five things you did, either for yourself or for any other person, that made you happy and proud of yourself, everyday. Build the confidence by saying, I did it, and I can do better. Speak to everyone with complete eye contact, because if you’re at a platform with somebody talking, none of the two of you is better or worse. If you can manage to be at the same platform with someone else, who’s either older to you, more successful than you, or a greater achiever in life compared to you, you are at the same level as the other, at that moment. Do appreciate the other, but do not underestimate yourself.
Perhaps, throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and standing on different platforms with different people, will make you realize where you belong and what you want to become. And, when you realize that, you will be proud of what you’ve become and confident enough to progress your journey ahead.
And building confidence, it’s not a one day, one month, or even a one year thing. It’s a one life thing. It’s a constant struggle with the part of you seeking comfort.