Thursday, November 21, 2013

On Being Confident

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Robert A. Heinlein

You don't judge people so much on what they say. You judge them on what they do. That applies to both men and women. ("By their fruits you shall know them.")

I read a lot of articles in the Manosphere on being confident. A lot of the advice is bullshit. "Fake it until you make it." "Women like insanely confident men." (I've seen guys like that thrown out of bars by bouncers.)

Nope, it's all crap.

You become confident by being good at what you do. And what you are good at, you like. But it takes weeks, or months, or even years to become very good at what you like.

I am reminded of the last scene in Breaking Bad (although Walter White destroyed his life through Hubris):

"I liked it, I was good at it, I felt alive."

However, Hubris followed by Nemesis is what happens from being "insanely confident" and not knowing your limitations (the Greeks called that Sophrosyne (the "goddess or spirit (daimona) of moderation, self-control, temperance, restraint, and discretion").

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

The Four Cardinal Virtues (essential advice for everyone) refers to confidence as Courage (which is perseverance). It's tempered by Prudence, which is choosing the right path among many (White choose the wrong path). Included are Self-Control and Justice (giving each his due).

You become confident by being good at what you do, and liking them. And what you are best at, you almost always are born with that talent, although you have to practice at it.

However, you become good at a lot of things by practicing. Some examples: I've pulled the heads off of engines and redone them, built a rocking chair out of black oak, cooked steak with mushrooms and potatoes with broccoli, built computers from scratch, designed and built houses. I can do those things not because I'm insanely confident, but because I learned how to do them.

I can make sourdough bread, and I remember in college one girl came into my apartment, looked at the sourdough starter, then looked at me with her mouth open. "You can do that?" she asked in awe. "I can do a lot of things, and I can do all of them well" I told her, and gave her a big smile.

When it comes to women, I've always had a natural talent at being funny (the Manosphere uses that ignorant word and inaccurate word, "negging"). I could have been a stand-up comedian, and in many ways I am.

And I don't listen to anyone who puts me down, which happens a lot when I point out to people they don't know what they're talking about and instead I'm supposed to agree with their uninformed opinions. (Usually putting someone down is done out of envy.)

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.” - Richard P. Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

I was recently standing behind a woman who did not know I was there, and I heard her say about me: "That guy is funny." When she turned around and saw me, I said nothing but gave her a mischievous look. She had no idea what to say to me.

In college one guy I knew (who today would be called a PUA) once told me, "You don't seem to go after women a lot." "They go after me," I told him, and he, too, was speechless.

There are a lot of things I cannot do. I can't sing, I can't dance, and I can't play any instruments. But there are a lot of things I can do. I'm good at them because I practiced, and because I like doing them.

One thing that is imperative is to not listen to people who tell you that you that you cannot do it. I get the impression that is what happens in school today, when young boys are told, "You can't do it," and are humiliated and put down. They're not allowed to be boys anymore.

“I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.” ― Michel de Montaigne

You have to not care what others think. That self-consciousness will destroy your confidence. It's exemplified by that sticker I used to see on cars: "No fear."

True confidence is based on being competent at things, not on bluster and a big mouth and nothing to back it up.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life


Hojo Hominygrits said...

So the ONLY kind of irrational ("insanely" is your strawman word choice) confidence is the kind that gets you thrown out of bars and destroys you? Don't pretend to be so fucking stupid. Irrational confidence with women is not the same as irrational confidence about picking a fight with the bouncer, and you know it. And you know Roissy & co make that distinction, explicitly.

You are so full of shit, you bitter old clown. Young men having fun does you no harm. Everything you write about game starts with a dumb, arrogant dismissal of an idiotic strawman, followed by a restatement of EXACTLY what Roissy's been saying twice a week for years -- which you then pretend is the real secret that only you know.

Unknown said...

"And I don't listen to anyone who puts me down, which happens a lot when I point out to people they don't know what they're talking about and instead I'm supposed to agree with their uninformed opinions."

By the way, the guys I seen kicked out of bars weren't picking fights with bouncers. They were harassing the women by being "insanely confident."

Roissy is a fraud, as is Roosh and Krauser and all the rest. When you grow up you might realize that.

Children instead of men. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Hojo is a damned fool and shall remain so forever unless and until life finally hits him so damn hard right in his damn mouth that while he's looking at his shattered teeth on the ground whilst spitting out the rest in a pool of blood, finally has a blinding epiphany that pulls him out of his idiotic stupor.

"Young men having fun does you no harm" are the words from this two-bit, childish sage. "Fun" is a term that has a myriad of definitions and apparently Hojo's is little different than that held by the whores constantly derided by the more narcissistic elements of the "manosphere." His version of "fun" is "It's all about me!"

A civilization full of irresponsible whores and whoremongers does everyone harm, you ignorant, narcissistic, little fool. There are "costs" attached to such ignorance, an ignorance that borders on stupidity. Costs both fiscal, moral, social and psychological such as detachment disorder, depression, illegitimacy, higher divorce rates, academic failure, suicide, horrendous welfare costs and children whose lives are eventually and absolutely destroyed because of such self centered choices by self-proclaimed "adults" who never grew up, who never matured. "Costs" are "harm", jackass.

The perfect place for you is right where you and yours come from: some backwoods "Holler" full of the toothless, hominy-gumming, genetically deficient and terminally stupid idiots depicted in the movie "Deliverance."

Damn the entire lot of you morons and the supposedly sophisticated urbanite whoremongers who you hold up as role models. Like it or not the Piper comes to call, be it sooner or later. Later is now because we keep getting the bill for this idiocy every damn day in this dying, amoral civilization.

In the end, Hojo, you and yours are so full of shit it's squirting out your ears, you stupid bastard.

Wyowanderer said...

Goodness-looks like you've hit a nerve, Bob.

Unknown said...

The Manosphere would be better off dumping all the silly terminology and using words that have been around a few thousand years - if not more.

You start making fun of silly words like "negging" or "shit tests" and some of its more fanatical believers throw conniption fits. Hissy fits, too, although almost all of them don't know the difference.

Glen Filthie said...

Well boys, we gotta be patient with the youngsters. We have the benefit of age and experience that fellas like Hojo just haven't gotten yet. And - you have to remember that the quality of the women he deals with are at least 5 times worse than the ones we did back in the day. The game HAS changed and we are probably obsolete. I am seeing women who are in their late 20's and 30's behaving like 14 year olds.

As for Heinlein...invasions will have to be left to the experts, I can't conn a ship but I can land most single engine prop driven aircraft without killing the programs will work but they often resemble the work of a hair-lipped retard...and I can cook anything that comes out of a can or a package.

Needless to say I didn't get many dates...

Anonymous said...

I think the Hojo would be better off reading How to Win Friends and Influence People instead of the PUA horseshit expoused by Roissy & co. .

Unknown said...

"How to Win Friends and Influence People"

That is a very good book and everyone should read it.

Kevin T said...

It took me a while to figure out exactly what "negging" is, but once I understood the context better I realized that it's just playful shit-talking; teasing. The rub lies in an epiphany I had several years ago: the only difference between obnoxious and charming is wit. A man with wit and good comedic timing can deliver what would otherwise be a boorish insult and get laughs all around.

As far as "shit-tests" go, I much prefer Rollo Tomassi's take on them to the hard-core PUAs, but I think that they are all over-thinking it. A shit-test is nothing more than a woman testing a man's tolerance and boundaries, half deliberate and half autonomic. The end result is the same; if a man doesn't assert his own boundaries, a woman will walk all over him. If he stands firm on his boundaries, he will quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

Kevin T said...

RE: irrational confidence

When I was a bouncer I and another doorman once escorted an irrationally confident jackass out the back door after he got irrationally confident with the waitress's ass (she was clearly shit testing him when she told him repeatedly to fuck off). Once outside, we confidently (and entirely rationally) threw him into the dumpster and, for fifteen minutes or so, took turns confidently smacking him in the head every time he tried, with irrational confidence, to climb out. He quite rationally never came back as long as I worked there.

This would, no doubt, get me denounced as a nutless white knight in most of the PUA world but, in my defense, I submit that being an ill-mannered asshole is not gender-specific (and it violates my personal boundaries)

Unknown said...

I've said before "negging" is just teasing, and I was apparently born with the skill. And yes, when I was a teenager my sister's friends had crushes on me. But it was only them, but none of the girls in school. College, however, was a different story. Still, some girls in college hated me for it.

And if someone doesn't stand up for himself, some women and some men will walk over them.

As for that irrational confidence in bars, I've seen guys get thrown out. I've also seen several fights when some overconfident guy decided that he could take some other guy's girlfriend away.