Self-Confidence: A Philosophy
Translated from the French, author Charles Pepin examines the various aspects of self-confidence. He draws a causal chain on how self-confidence develops. It grows first through connections to others, then connections to oneself, to connections to the environment. Finally, self-confidence moves beyond an individual psychological phenomenon to a philosophic/spiritual one. Confidence in others and oneself, through commitment, becomes confidence in the universe and life itself.
This book is different from the many books and articles I’ve read before on the topic. Self-confidence texts usually focus on the intrapersonal/psychological aspect of the issue, urging the reader to draw self-confidence from within themselves through sheer force of will. It is then imposed on others through demands and limit-setting. These books are often no more than motivational texts in which the line between self-confidence and selfishness is blurred. This book is different in that it focuses on the actual mechanics of how we develop self-confidence, beyond just willing it into existence. Confidence is developed first through trust in our caregivers and teachers through their help then in ourselves through practice of skills. Specific examples are offered, such as a child learning to ride a bicycle. She first trusts her parent to guide her; through practice, she gains confidence in herself. The spiritual aspect of confidence is also addressed. As confidence in oneself develops, confidence in one’s intuition develops, the ability to listen to one’s instincts. An emergency room doctor knows, from practice, on an intuitive level, which patient to treat first. Confidence leads to an ability to quickly choose a course of action in an environment of uncertainty and chaos. Confidence then extends to the natural world, the intuitive ability to see beauty.
This is a well-written and well-translated book, addressing a complex topic with enough explanation and examples for clarity. It is not an easy read, however, due to the abstract concepts, despite the concrete examples offered. The text is laid out with titled chapters that help organize the material and aid in reader comprehension. Subtitles, however, within the chapters would further assist the reader in understanding the topics and their connections, with less need for rereading for those connections. Overall, however, this is a novel perspective on a well-visited topic.
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