Free Press Journal

Be optimist, composed and confident


Portrait of a businessman looking at himself in the mirror

To be confident, one needs to metamorphose his/her thinking pattern from “It is not possible” to a mental state of confidence of “It is very much within the realm of possibility”, says  Ravi Valluri.

Confidence or self-belief is the ability or a trait in an individual or an organisation to accomplish tasks even when perhaps the chips are down. Portugal, in the recently concluded Euro Cup had the self-belief that it would loft the coveted trophy  on that balmy evening in Paris despite losing its talismanic player Cristiano Ronaldo to an injury a mere 26 minutes into the game.

An inconsolable and distraught Ronaldo, after anointing another player as the captain was taken away from the exuberant cauldron on a stretcher. However providentially this acted as a motivator and a trigger among other players to support each other and win the prestigious game for their nation and for Ronaldo. Years back, in 2004, Portugal lost to Greece in the finals on home turf at Lisbon.

However, it was different on this occasion as Fernando Santos, the coach of the team (an electrician turned footballer) electrified the team and dinned into the players to reach the finals of the tournament without fail. Over the last two years he had been working on the minds of the players to disregard the past and multiply their confidence levels to win the coveted trophy.

Recently, the star studded Argentine team led by the charismatic Lionel Messi capitulated to Chile in the finals of Copa America. Messi is professed to be the man blessed with a golden foot whose footwear is priceless and there are several young men aspiring to be in those shoes.

The iconic footballer has powered his Spanish club Barcelona to several victories, yet at the world stage in the post Maradonna era, Argentina seems to have developed a brain or mind freeze for inexplicable reasons and is unable to climb the podium and display the silverware. The level of confidence seems to ebb at climacteric moments.

A similar situation seems to plague the South African cricket team which is blessed with expansive talent and are successful champions in the various formats of the game. However, for impenetrable reasons are unable to deliver something startling during the ICC tournaments. Why does this happen?

Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican entrepreneur and politician wrote, “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.”

Many years ago in the Meiji era lived a wrestler known as the Great Waves who possessed the uncanny ability to defeat even his teacher. However, in official tournaments he was vanquished by opponents much inferior, which sullied his estimable reputation following every bout. There appeared to be a psychological problem.

In order to circumvent this unenviable state, he approached a Zen Master. The Master directed his new tutee to meditate in a Buddhist temple that night, which was located on the seashore and guided him to focus only on his breath and swallow even the greatest of waves which would arise from the depths of the sea. As night fell, there were high tides in the sea and the waves assumed gargantuan proportions which subsumed everything in its trajectory. Even the reclining Buddha was not spared and was inundated in the spectre that followed the path of the tidal waves. The waves had run amuck obliterating every object in the way.

But Great Waves, following the instructions of the Master focused his attention on his breath and meditated passionately and with total concentration. Next morning the Zen Master was a witness to both the destruction as well as the poise maintained by his stolid student. He merely said, “Upon conquering your wavering mind, be confident of sustained success in all the wrestling engagements and bouts.”

Perhaps the Argentine soccer and South African cricket teams are yet to cross the Rubicon and win over their minds to be the zone of confidence to record and execute victories at the apex level.

To be confident, individuals, entrepreneurs, corporates, spiritual seekers, political leaders and parties, sportsperson and teams all need to metamorphose their thinking patterns from “It is not possible” to a mental state of confidence of “It is very much within the realm of possibility”. The ossified mind needs to be trained accordingly to ooze confidence.

The bedrock of success follows a pattern which is based on optimism, self-belief and self-motivation, leading to confidence. Talent and endurance alone are not adequate to ensure confidence and unalloyed successes. It is quite possible that these could be mere flashes in the pan. It is exigent upon an individual or an organisation to harness the trait of self-belief and self-confidence.

Paradoxically, while hard work alone does not boost confidence levels, it is impinging upon an individual not to resort to shortcuts as deep within it leads to an inferiority complex and the person would not be technically sound to adaptor to take up challenges.

The three Cs – Confidence, Credence and Conviction in a leader develops the personality to enhance latent potential, in order to view muddled up situations in a holistic manner. Such leaders can marshal their resources dexterously, or else there would be little Sultans in the kingdom who may attempt to torpedo the organisational goals and objectives.

Negative emotions like guilt, skepticism, being over critical of self and colleagues, self-pity, shame, lack of humility, idolising individuals  without any concrete results, extreme laziness, a depressed state of mind, team members not trusting one another or excessive pride act as impediments in the progress of an individual or an organisation, consequently reducing the levels of confidence and achievement.

Buddha’s prescription for such indolent individuals is to meditate on purification of the mind, meditate on the impermanent nature of existence, meditate on Karma, meditate on the vast emptiness which surrounds us and simultaneously vow to develop on self-esteem.

It is universally agreed by seers, seekers, sages, philosophers and psychologists that life is not always a bed of roses and is filled with challenges. Optimism and self-confidence can be developed by practising breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya, practising pranayama, meditating and observing the self.