Home > Uncategorized > Confidence. That tricky little emotion.

Confidence. That tricky little emotion.

Nick Clegg last week made a speech on the economy to the British Chambers of Commerce. The full speech can be read here.

The Deputy Prime Minister talked a lot about growth and confidence. Whether it was confidence of businesses to invest, to expand and to grow or the confidence of young people to either compete in the job market to get that job or the confidence to set up a business.

I want to talk in this blogpost about that word. Confidence.

Nick in the speech says the following:

So just imagine how it feels to be left behind when you’re meant to be starting out. Endless rejection letters. No wages. Nowhere to go. No faith in yourself. No confidence in your country. Not much hope for the years ahead.

I don’t know about other young people but I have faith in myself. I have that inner conviction, that belief in myself that I am brilliant. That inner belief that I am capable of doing just about anything I put my mind to.

Yet I am not confident.

I am missing something.

I have that inner conviction, some might call it confidence, that belief that I am capable of doing what I want to do. Yet, I lack something. My mind is often filled with fear and self-doubt. It infects my entire behaviour.

Whatever you want to call this thing whether you call it confidence, self-esteem, self-assurance, it doesn’t matter. I’ve lacked this thing for I think over a decade now. I lost it between the ages of 8/9 and 14.

Those in Ayrshire, know that Ayrshire has this festival type thing in the spring/summer and as part of it, I entered into a Poetry recital awards thing. Anyway, I did it twice, once when I was 8 and again when I was 9. I could stand up in front of the judges with barely any rehearsal, and be completely confident. In fact one of the years, I entered I came second. Easy.

When I was in 3rd year in Secondary school, I had to give a speech in front of the class. This should be easy right, when I was 8 and 9 could do public speaking in my sleep. I did my speech on the Iraq war but this time, I wasn’t so confident. The fear, the self-doubt, the nerves took over and I was shaking like a leaf. Those who saw my speeches to Scottish conference will have noted that not much has changed.

The fear, the self-doubt is taking over and holding me back. I don’t know how to overcome it. If anyone does, please leave a comment.

The only way I can think of beating it is feel the fear and do it anyway. Which is easier said than done.

My mind is at war with itself. On the one hand I have that inner conviction, that self-belief on the other I have the fear and the self-doubt and at the moment the fear and the self-doubt is winning. It saps energy and motivation out of you.

In Nick’s speeches, whenever he mentions youth unemployment, he seems to think giving youngsters work experience, training is somehow going to give us confidence. In my experience, it doesn’t.

Since I’ve lost my confidence, I’ve got fantastic Standard Grades, Highers, volunteered at local hospital radio. been to Uni, worked for Bang & Olufsen, been my local tennis club’s secretary, lost 2 and a half stone in weight, been co-opted on to the LYS exec, amended a motion at Scottish conference and interviewed Willie Rennie. I’ve done all of that and still have no confidence.

I think that’s how a lot of young people feel as well as the country at large and maybe even how many view the LibDems prospects.

It might be easy to diagnose the problem, but fixing it is a lot harder.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 19, 2012 at 19:22

    My situation is strangely similar to yours. In S1 I was an avid debater, and looked forward to Friday lunchtime debating club all week.

    I’m not sure what changed when I gave a speech to my S3 English class and was shaking so hard I couldn’t read my cue cards.

    My Biology teacher then asked me to join her new club: Model United Nations. I’ll be eternally grateful to her for this. In 2009 I won an award for debating as Brazil in the Human Rights Committee. I’ve never looked back since, and I’m really going to miss the club and my friends in it when I graduate. (I’m getting all emotional just typing this :P) For me, it’ll be a must do at uni.

    A couple of weeks ago, I gave an assembly to all of S1-6 in my house.

    I know it’s hard to just get out and do it – I have a MUN conference this weekend, and not going to lie, I’m pretty nervous. I don’t know if any of this is helping you at all, I just thought that I might share my experiences of how I overcame (to an extent!) my nervousness when public speaking.

    Hope that helps 🙂

    • March 19, 2012 at 21:53

      Thanks. I mean I have no confidence period. Its linked in with public speaking because I think if I had you know self-assurance, self-confidence then public speaking would be easy.

      I would say that I don’t have the confidence to do pretty much anything but I do have the inner conviction if that makes sense.

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