Confidence, Optimism

May 22, 2010

Two things I have dealt with often in my life, confidence and optimism. I wonder if it’s necessary to be confident in one’s self in order to be optimistic about things. Or, if you are optimistic, does that automatically improve your confidence?

Confidence is actually mentioned in the definition of optimism, but to me the words are not synonyms. Though, they are very closely related. Confidence is to be sure of yourself in the present, in your current state of being. But optimism is the hope of something in the future, a future sense of confidence almost?

To me, optimism always implied that there was a chance things would not go positively. It allows for variables, for outside influences. You’re just hoping for the best. But confidence, particularly over-confidence, can shut out those outside variables. There’s a thin line where people become so oblivious to what’s happen around them, they are so wrapped up in their confidence that they are not aware of reality. Over-optimism, a term I’m not even sure actually exists but I’m saying it, operates much the same way, in that you are so convinced something positive will happen that you ignore everything else.

I’ve always tried to toe the line between confidence and over-confidence, optimism and realism. Because I want to allow myself to see every possibility that exists, to accept the fact that I may not always be right, that things may not always work out positively. Sometimes I wonder if I try too hard to be this moderate, and that things neither go positive or negative they just stay standing still.

But then I see someone like P.K. Subban. Here is a 21 year old, who gets called up to the Montreal Canadienes, hockey’s most historic franchise, in the most important time of year, the playoffs. He is being thrown right into the fire. Yet, when you see him play, and hear him speak, you see the confidence this man has despite the odds being against him. He is excelling in a position that would almost certainly spell disaster for many. And yet he is fully aware of his surroundings, the fact that this is such a rare and special opportunity. It is not a case of being over-confident, he is just so grounded and aware that he can’t help but be confident, and be optimistic of his team’s performance and his own. This is someone I would like to model myself after.

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