If there was one reason to go back to school, I would do it for the Moral Science classes. Preparing for these exams taught me a valuable lesson in life.  I learnt the art of expressing an idea in different forms  and in different paragraphs that would extend to pages. I also learnt how I could rephrase the same idea in as many ways as possible without it seeming obvious when skimming through the content. What a life skill!

Another interesting aspect of these classes was how the our teachers would allow us to share our thoughts and speak up. In one such class our teacher came up with a wonderful idea. She said we had to speak about someone we admired in the class and highlight one quality we wish we had. Initially the silence was deafening. Then there was a slight murmur and after a while it looked like some were ready to speak. I had picked the person I wanted to talk about and I was mentally rehearsing what I would say. One classmate finally volunteered to speak. She had the attention of the entire class and spoke about another classmate who had the most beautiful handwriting. The person being spoken about couldn’t hide her happiness and thanked her. Another classmate stood up to speak. Just as the entire class turned to face her and listen to whom she  was going to speak about, this girl looked at me and smiled. She mentioned my name. I was shocked.

She looked at me and said that she admired my confidence. According to her I was a self-confident person and she added that it was apparent in the way I spoke and moved with people. She was kind enough to add 2 more sentences about me, which I’m not going to bother you with. But that was very defining moment for me. I was surprised to see what people thought about me. I wasn’t the person I am today and I wouldn’t call the school going version of me as friendly. I had zero tolerance for people who had an inclination for drama and kept to a few people with whom I could be comfortable. So, someone outside my circle complimenting about my confidence was indeed surprising.

I was reminded of the incident when I came across the quote- ‘Self-Confidence is the best outfit. Rock it and own it’. I smiled thinking how ecstatic I was because someone considered me good enough to talk about a quality of mine in front of the entire class. I don’t know when and where I acquired the confidence but it has helped me immensely to deal with a lot of things in life. It has give me that much needed push in situations where I was nervous enough to think about backing away at the last minute. Nervousness doesn’t spare even the most confident ones, does it?

Confidence makes all the difference between people who relentlessly pursue something till they succeed and those who give up on the first attempt despite being immensely talented. Confidence is not something that you can define and demand it at that instant, but something which gradually builds up in your mind. It’s not difficult to build confidence either, if you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, you will naturally build the confidence to pull it off.

I remember how my trainers emphasise on how a confident smile when meeting people, a confident hand-shake with the boss or a confident voice in a presentation makes a world of a difference when the other people look at us. They used to remark that unless we have confidence in ourselves, we cannot expect others to be confident about us. Those words made so much sense to me that it still echoes somewhere in my mind. That’s when I realised how our non-verbal communication plays an dominant role when it comes to others’ perception of us.

I’m no expert when it comes to talking about confidence but there is one thing I can share from how I built my confidence. It all depends on our attitude. If we have a positive, never-give-up attitude and believe in ourselves I think we can build all the confidence that we need.  Among the extremes of over-confidence and scepticism we need to find our balance. Because finding the right balance, my friends, is the most important element when it comes to finding success.

The only matter of concern is to not step over the line. But wait, who draws the line to ensure you don’t step over? Of course, it’s you! Who better than you to know where you’d find the right balance. Because what matters the most is how you see yourself. Everything else is inconsequential.

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