“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
Starting with the age-old quote, we have been always emphasised to be confident in our life. But are we been taught the right degree of confidence is an important question? I faced both this dilemma in my life. I have been doubting myself and failed to take steps forward as deep within something was telling me that I would go wrong. But when a person who has the same skillset as me did the job and got the appreciation, I felt I could have also easily done that job on time. And the people around advised me to act bravely the next time. So, when another task was open, I forced myself to pick it even though I felt within me that I could not do the job on time. This time, unfortunately, I was right. I failed miserably leading to loss of resources and the worst part everyone around lost the confidence in me. The very same people who advised me to act confidently in the first time were commenting that am overestimating my talent. I paid heavy praise for both my mistakes where first I underestimated myself and the second case I acted in a way overestimating myself. I went into a deep stressful phase after that as I was not able to understand myself. The key question that tickled my mind is what should the right level of confidence one should have in which scenario.
Swamiji’s thoughts and stories helped me in those turbulent times. I got an answer to my ever tickling question by the stories shared my Swamiji which guided my understanding about myself. I understood what should the right degree of confidence one have.
The below stories had a deep impact on my understanding of this aspect of having the right degree of confidence.
There was once a priest on a long flight home after a Church Conference. The first warning of approaching problems came when the ‘Fasten Your Seat Belt’ sign flashed on. After a while, a calm voice said” We shall not be serving beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened.”The priest looked around the aircraft and saw that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later the voice said” We are so sorry that we are unable to serve meals at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us.”
And then the storm broke.
The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great place was tossed around like a cork in a celestial ocean. As the priest looked around he could see that nearly all the passengers were alarmed except one little girl! She sat calmly, feet tucked under her, looking at pictures in a book, oblivious of the turbulence around her. The storm blew over. When the plane landed and the passengers were disembarking, the priest approached the little girl and asked her why she was not afraid like the other passenger.
The little girl replied “Cause my Daddy’s the Pilot and he’s taking me home”
There are many storms ahead of us- Physical, mental, financial, domestic and others. Being confident in dark times will help us pass through tough times. But there’s also risk associated with it. If we are overconfident, everything will turn opposite to what we have expected.
This is the story of a man, who was a firm believer of god.
One day it began to rain very heavily. It kept raining and a big flood came.
The man climbed up on the roof of his house and knew that he would be ok. God would protect him. It kept raining and now the water had reached his waist. A boat came by and a guy in the boat said: “Hey, jump in. We will take you with us”.“No thanks”, said the man. “I’m a firm believer in God. He will rescue me”. He sent the boat away.
It kept on raining and now the water had reached his neck. Another boat came by and a guy in the boat said: “You look like you could need some help. Jump in and we will take you with us”.
“No”, said the man. “I’m a firm believer in God. He will rescue me. Don’t worry about me”. The boat sailed away.
It still rained and the water now reached his mouth. A helicopter came by and a guy in the helicopter threw down a rope and said: “Hi there my friend. Climb up. We will rescue you”.
“No”, said the man. “I’m a firm believer in God. He will rescue me. I know he will”. The helicopter flew away.
It kept on raining, and finally, the man drowned.
When the man died, he went to heaven. When entering Heaven, he had an interview with God.
After giving a polite greeting and sitting down, the man asked: “Where were you. I waited and waited. I was sure you would rescue me, as I have been a firm believer all my life, and have only done well to others. So where were you when I needed you?”
God scratched his confused looking face and answered: “I don’t get it either. I sent you two boats and a helicopter”.
In the story, we could clearly observe that even though the person was right and confident in his devotion, he failed to use the opportunity placed before him and take the needed effort. From these stories, I have firmly got the sentiment that hard work has no substitute and the efforts combined with confidence is the key to the success. So the primary goal here is to find and act with a right degree of confidence. We have to actively listen to our inner heart which almost always takes us to the right place. Pay attention to nature around you. You might just find the answer there. The lesson I finally learnt and willing to practice in my life is to always do the right kind of actions and leave the rest to God.