“Confidence is not about proving your worth. Confidence is simply being CONSPICUOUSLY you.” — Kukua AnthonyinTweet
Growing up, at every stage of my life, my height stood out; literally! It started from my hospital crib, where my ‘length’ was the adjective used to describe me to my dad. Although, I must admit, being exposed to more people makes me realize that the average Ghanaian isn’t as tall, compared to other parts of the world- hence, I may be an outlier in Ghana, but I am certainly not in Europe and North America. In my teen years, my sister noticed that I would hunch my back and honestly, quite frustratingly, she only seemed to see my posture whenever I dressed up. Now, I’m eternally grateful that she did!
‘Odogo pillar’ is a derogatory phrase that I doubt I will ever forget, and if you guessed from the spelling, it simply means a tall pole. For some reason, I feel it would have had less of an effect on me if I had heard it from a peer. In fact, if I remember quite right, I had mates who were really respectful. This phrase was used by an older woman. Someone I was supposed to respect for her knowledge, wisdom and for simply being older. I realize now that courtesy is certainly not a default setting and I have grown to expect less as I encounter people. While I do not attribute my posture solely to her affront, somewhere in my subconscious mind, I had to find a way to reduce my height. I made an attempt to prove that I was not a pole- I was worth more than a pole; a a truth but a flawed motive and hence, an inappropriate reaction.
Imagine Kay and Hey go to the airport. Kay reaches out for his photo id and realizes he does not have one. The border Patrol then gives him an id and tells him that the image he sees is his, along with all the identifying information on the id. Hey on the other hand reaches out for his id and shows it to the Patrol. Who do you think will need to prove his identity to the Patrol? This might seem basic but the issue here is not so much of who proved himself but what the Patrol sees no matter what the proof is; does he see his definition of them or who they truly are. When you walk into a room, even before you utter a word, there will be opinions about you because of implicit bias and other characteristics will either heighten or completely squash this bias depending on your degree of confidence. While there are multiple ways to ‘wear confidence’, I believe a fashion sense, a good posture, communication skills and a joyful aura are telling signs of confidence that can only be developed from within.
So why should we monitor confidence?
It is a by-product of knowing one’s identity. If Kay and Hey were asked to scream their names on a rooftop, you might find Kay screaming his lungs out and I wish I would be able to tell Kay that confidence is effortless and from within. The most confident people I have encountered, or at least those I have perceived to be, run on a spectrum. Some generally love to talk as a trait- others don’t. However, what is constant is they only say the things that are necessary, depending on the scenario. I will tell you one thing; there is nothing sadder than listening to a ‘confident’ person confabulating about things that are inaccurate. Or have you seen anyone go for an audition and asked to stop in the middle because he or she was just not suited for that competition? Do you often wonder how they got there with their friends and family cheering them on in the back? Why did it have to take a competition to reveal that someone might be better off pursuing other passions? While not everybody is forthright with constructive critique, I believe it is important that we assess ourselves to know if others would be willing to critique our actions. This leads me to the subject of ‘confidence and pride’ which we’ll be delving into in my next blog.
Let’s brainstorm with these two fun polls and feel free to send a feedback if you’d like to discuss them more or simply let me know if you have any comments about this site! thank you life hackers!!;