I was talking to my daughter yesterday and I asked her what she thought confidence was. My daughter is by all accounts a reasonably confident young woman.

Her first thought was that no one is actually “confident” all day long. She said everyone is situationally confident.

What does that mean? She explained it like this:

If you ask a coder to give a Tedtalk about coding, they might be nervous about public speaking and not be confident in that regard. But, no matter what, they are going to be confident in coding.

Now ask that same coder to give a Tedtalk about dog grooming, and then they instantly become unconfident about everything.

I asked her about herself: does she think she is confident?

Her answer; most of the time. She is confident in the things she knows, like the things she studied for her French test the other day.

But- her next example showed me something else. She did moot court competitions throughout high school and continued into college. Briefly, moot court is similar to arguing in front of the Supreme Court. You and your partner plead your side of a case to a panel of judges, and another team pleads the opposite side. She spends a lot of time prepping for these, and feels mainly confident entering a competition. But sometimes the judge will ask her a question that she has absolutely no idea how to answer.

At that moment she begins to lose confidence in her ability.


She says that she has become really good at stating things in a confident manner. She has enough skills in her toolbox to push her through the parts of life that she feels are out of her depth. But this does not mean that she felt confident at that moment.


She says after a competition the first thing people say to her is that her confidence is what got her through the round.

So that’s the explanation of someone who appears confident, yet doesn’t feel it. Fake it till you make it.

I asked her to describe what makes someone confident. Instead of a laundry list of adjectives, she said confidence comes down to one thing:


She said it is impossible to be confident if you are not resilient. Confidence is the ability to screw up, lose, embarrass yourself, whatever, yet still get up and do it again.

You can’t be resilient without confidence, you can’t be confident without resilience.


what say ye about my daughter’s theory?




58 thoughts on “Tredici- Situational

  1. Dead on. I agree with her 100%. Your daughter both has her head screwed on right and is very mature for her age. I’d give a similar answer now, but I don’t think I’d have measured up to her response when I was a freshman in college (or in 1st year university, as we say in Canada).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was impressed with her thought process on it, especially as it was something I’d never considered. But she has a good point, everyone has confidence and lack of. And honestly, I’d never even thought of using a Ted talk in an example….😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. She said her tools for that are careful enunciation of words so she doesn’t speed up, eye contact, and a prop for her hands so they don’t shake, like holding a pen or the edge of a podium

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Smart daughter, and I liked how she explained. I think she hit on a truth, celebrities like Barbra Streisand was not a confident performer (so i hear) but she had resilience.
    “It’s all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, she is quite correct. I was in Toastmasters for 20 years and always did very well delivering prepared speeches. But one time I hadn’t prepared well enough. I fumbled badly, went back to my seat in tears. But I kept going back, motivated to do better after that. That’s building confidence and that’s resilience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your daughter’s perspective about confidence being not afraid to fail, to carry on. I see another blur here between that an ego. I’ve seen many with huge egos that you could say have confidence. They certainly appear to. But I think that is something different. Those folks don’t care if they’re right or wrong or exceed or fail. They re not interested in learning or progressing. They wouldn’t think through a situation to the depth your daughter has. They will simply act superior and march on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m applauding your daughter! Can you hear my clapping from there? Good for her! And good for you for raising her with confidence…that’s an awesome tool for the toolbox no matter what age or gender we are!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Confidence is situational – spot on! I shall use that as it explains the varying nature of confidence so very well. I also think the inter-connectedness of confidence with resiliance is a good call. Smart daughter, great job LA 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all, the girl didn’t grow up in a vacuum, so some of this is you.
    Secondly, I agree completely!
    Third, I wish I’d had as much going on as she has when I was her age.
    Brava, daughter! (and Mom)

    Liked by 1 person

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