Courage not confidence

Confidence is often attributed with success and being successful and yet it does not always coincide with virtuous behavior or people we also believe to be trustworthy.

Confidence is a sense of self-assurance, bolstered by certainty and that is where things can go off the rails. It is relatively easy to generate feelings as needed to project to ourselves and others that we know what we are doing. The certainty bred from confidence is practically guaranteed to keep someone defending things beyond the time that they have been proven wrong or destructive.

Courage, while closely related in definition to confidence, is actually a step higher up — you can manufacture confidence to get you through, but courage requires digging into something deeper and tapping into a quality of spirit that allows you to face things that may feel dangerous or scary. Courage allows you to step into the unknown, to overcome fear, but it also allows you to admit mistakes.

Confidence is displayed before and during something happens but you can't feel courage until you've actually expressed it. We have all experienced being overconfident and it is easy to spot on others, but I have not ever come across someone who was over-courageous. In order to cultivate courage we need to occasionally go beyond what feels safe, test our mettle and be prepared to own the consequences whether they lined up with our desired outcome or not.

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