Confidence is confidence, right? It’s all the same thing, isn’t it? If you’re confident, you’re confident, and if you’re not, you’re well, not. Right? Not so fast. It turns out that there are a few different kinds of confidence, and they aren’t all the same thing, nor are they all as good as every other kind.
For our purposes, we’ll divide the kinds of confidence into two basic types: temporary and long-lasting. Temporary confidence is the kind you get from doing something that boosts your confidence quickly, to give yourself a quick boost in a situation where you need to be confident.
Temporary confidence is the psychic equivalent of sugar. It tastes good and it helps you out temporarily, but it’s gone just as quickly. There’s nothing wrong with having the occasional candy bar or piece of chocolate cake (i.e., a temporary confidence boost).
Sometimes you need this kind of confidence. Everyone can use a jolt of extra confidence before walking into a job interview, a big game, or an important test. You can get this type of confidence in many ways, from dressing up, to getting a “good luck” from a friend, to likes on a social media post.
The problem is that it’s not a permanent type of confidence. It wears off fairly quickly, leaving you back at your baseline level of confidence, whatever that may be. It’s a temporary help but you can’t depend on it for long-run performance.
Long-lasting confidence is different. It is built slowly, over time, and is usually (though not always) permanent. It’s more like the healthy diet you eat every day. It fuels your mind, slowly but surely, leading to permanent gains in confidence. Your baseline confidence level increases as you build more of this kind of confidence.
You get long-lasting confidence by building your skills, putting them into action, seeing that they work, and repeating the process, over and over again, over weeks, months, and years. You also get it by successfully overcoming challenges in your life.
This type of confidence is normally permanent. It can be shaken or reduced by terrible experiences, but most people have it for life once they develop it.
Both types of confidence are necessary in different amounts and in different situations. But they aren’t the same, and you can only depend on one over the long run. So when you’re attempting to build confidence, work on building long-lasting confidence instead of the temporary kind.