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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


May 23rd, 2018

How is that magical, coveted, confidence that some people seem to have, captured... and held?

For most it’s like Pan’s shadow, constantly running away, never staying stitched to our soles. 



Confidence is just a word though. It means many things depending on who you ask. It certainly doesn’t mean the same thing to someone who has confidence compared to someone who doesn’thave confidence.

Many pieces of psychology are involved, and because of this, ignored. All are lumped into the single word. And in doing so, it becomes mysterious. 

Some unpacking might be useful. 




A related idea, potentially a subcategory of confidence that is much spoken of is ‘Positive Mental Attitude.”

This is a good starting point. Not just for understanding confidence, but for anything. But it is just a starting point. It will not carry you to the stars. 

Positive Mental Attitude is like the beta version of confidence.

It does not last on it’s own. It can become depleted and destroyed when faced with enough failure that has not been interpreted properly. A fuller form of confidence would carry us through these failures. This is why PMA is beta-confidence. It’s the precursor. First gear. The spark that gets the engine going. It provides the motivation to take the first step - the first action.

This enthusiasm has a dangerous edge. PMA creates optimism, and optimism creates hope. And




Hope is one side of a dangerous coin that is easy to flip. The other side is expectation.




Expectation only leads to disappointment. And disappointment is disastrous for a positive mental attitude. This is how it can be depleted and destroyed.

The essential ingredient for moving from failure to re-action is the ability to properly interpret failure.



How? Seeing failure - not as some huge demoralizing experience – but merely as feedback from reality. This allows us to take it less personally. This removes the fog of emotion. We can then see clearly and learn. 

We can move much more fluidly from one ‘failure’ to the next action. The next attempt. The next poke at reality. . .if the emotional investment is consistently downregulated.

Take enough of these actions and our picture of reality becomes stronger, more accurate. More precise. 

Which would you trust more:




A map of Boston drawn by a two-year old.


A map of Boston found at the entrance to a subway station in Boston. 

Why the difference? One is more accurate. More precise. Because. The creator gathered more information. We can have confidence in the second map of Boston because we can trust it.

We can take actions based on it’s accuracy that will lead to the destinations we hope for.

This destination is an exact analog for the endeavors we hope to achieve, the goals we hope to arrive at.

If we do the difficult work of improving our own mental map of the world, gathering more information through action, through trial and error, and slowly making our map more precise, more accurate.. then we can have more confidence in that map. Confidence is trust. And if our map is strong, then 

we can have confidence in ourselves.

Confidence 2.0 is built slowly and methodically with information gathered through action.





Do you trust yourself?

How accurate is your mental map of the world?

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 38: Confidence 2.0

Tinkered Thinking

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