Augusten Borroughs, “How to Write How-To”

From The New York Times, 27 July 2012:

I theorize that confidence isn’t something you feel internally, but rather a trait others ascribe to you when you’re focused and comfortable with what you’re doing. So you don’t need more confidence. You need less of something you already have in excess: caring what other people think about you. Concentrate on the thing you’re doing, not on what people are thinking as you do it, and they’ll perceive you as confident.

This is not a description of confidence I could have gathered through academic study of the subject. Only by having lived with very “low confidence” (that is, endless preoccupation with others and their imagined opinions of me) and struggling daily with self-assertion, only by stripping the word “confident” itself of preconceived assumptions and smashing the concept with the mental Hammer of Truth, could I write this more accurate description of confidence.

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