I love you. I need you. But you are a fickle friend ….
How is it that on certain days, we wake up feeling deeply connected to our life’s purpose and utterly unstoppable in our resolve to manifest our vision when, on others, we are plagued with a self-doubt so deep and pervasive that we second-guess even our most mundane decisions?
Here’s an example of the unpredictability of my own struggle with confidence:
I have 17 solid years of experience successfully teaching yoga and 54 years of life experience, yet sometimes before a workshop or training, I still wring my hands, hyperventilate, and manage to convince myself that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
“Oh, my mind, be kind to me.”
Confidence is a delicate proposition that cannot be understood without humility. The right amount of the right kind of confidence yields fortitude and courage. It propels you, like a magnet, closer to your life’s purpose. Alternatively, confidence without humility results in an over-confidence that weakens you. It can obscure your connection to reality and threaten to turn you into a laughingstock.
Now, to be sure, you can cultivate a superficial sense of confidence in superficial ways, like conjuring up memories of past successes or drinking a cup of strong coffee (caffeine is a great, short-term confidence-builder!), but this doesn’t address the deeper mystery: how to get confidence to show up as more of a permanent, ongoing condition rather than an ephemeral, fly-by-night feeling.
To direct this quest, the fifth chapter of Ayurveda’s ancient text Charaka Samhita, offers us a clue:
Daily Routines (Dinacharya) that align us with Nature build character and confidence.
Or, as Aristotle so eloquently puts it:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So, follow me on this as we break it down:
Habituation moves your mind into the field of confidence.
Confidence is what makes the mind firm.
The firmer the mind, the more readily and healthily it can connect to its instruments, the five sensory organs (eyes, nose, tongue, ears, and skin).
The more connected the mind is to the five sensory organs, the more capably they can do their job – to gain knowledge – and the more easily they will come under the control of the mind rather than being led all over the place, distracted, and not functioning optimally.
In other words, by doing something repeatedly, your memory becomes fixed to certain actions and will produce a sense of I KNOW THIS based on an experience of syncopation of mind and body. This is how confidence begins to build deeply and organically in a sustainable way.*
So let’s be more proactive with Confidence. Yes, a “rugged-individualist” approach to life sounds sexy and may work some of the time, but why not tap into that humility and lean on your best friend? Her name is Nature. And by cultivating a committed relationship with her through Dinacharya Habits, your source of Self-Confidence will migrate from surface to core.
And so will your Excellence.
P.S. Want to infuse a little Confidence into your yoga practice? Join Elena Brower and me for our co-taught Cultivating Confidence class on YogaGlo. Super inspiring!
*If this still sounds a little complicated, don’t worry!
Because on Saturday, October 29, at 9:00am PST, I am conducting a free tele-seminar event with my teacher/doctor, Dr. Jayagopal, to talk more about the history of Ayurveda’s Healthy Habits and how they can boost your own self-confidence. To learn more about this offering, click here for details.
This free event will also be a perfect introduction to my own signature Ayurveda course, Evolutionary Habits, which launches on February 2, 2017 for the fourth consecutive year! The ancient wisdom of Dinacharaya paired with the modern Science of Habit Change is a powerful 10-week game changer designed to create durable daily routines that sustain.