The second pillar of creating authentic confidence is wisdom. Wisdom is both the acquisition and keeping of knowledge and the use of knowledge to make good judgments. Wisdom is acquired through time by learning and perfecting skills and a body of information related to one’s specialty.
How does wisdom build confidence? In part, it’s because your knowledge increases. You learn how to do things and handle different situations and issues that might arise at work or in your personal life.
This knowledge creates a firm foundation for you to be confident. You might not have known how to handle a calculus problem the first time you saw it, for example, but after you learn how, your mind knows how to deal with it and you naturally become confident in your ability to do so.
The same thing happens with experiences. Think about your first time doing something like driving a car. You don’t know anything about it and are probably nervous. Once you’ve done it hundreds of times, you don’t even think about it anymore. That’s the confidence that comes from experience-based wisdom.
Finally, you gain confidence from making sound (and sometimes unsound) judgments. In any situation in which you must make a decision, you draw on your knowledge and previous experience.
If you judge (decide) correctly, you gain wisdom and confidence. If you judge incorrectly, you still gain the wisdom of what not to do next time! This builds confidence.
Wisdom-based confidence accumulates over a lifetime. It increases as you age and gain experience and knowledge. You should be wiser at 30 than 20, and wiser than both at 60. The wisdom that comes from experience is why elders are so revered in many traditional societies.
You can speed matters up, however, in three different ways. You don’t have to wait until your golden years to develop wisdom. You can accelerate the process by actively seeking to acquire new knowledge. Never stop learning. Pick new things that interest you and explore them. When you finish learning one thing, try something else.
Developing your skills is another way to accelerate the wisdom curve. Practice, practice, and then practice some more. Become a master of your discipline. Try out new ideas and new ways of doing things. Even if they fail, you’ll gain knowledge and wisdom.
Finally, you can speed up the process by seeking out new experiences and new opportunities. Try new things continuously and both your wisdom and confidence will increase.
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