Confidence or delusion?

Being an entrepreneur and/or founder requires confidence. You must believe in yourself. You must believe in your ability to get shit done. And, you must believe in your idea. If you don’t believe, then who will?

When this confidence hits reality, nasty things happen. 100% of startups begin with confident founders. You wouldn’t quit your job unless you had confidence in yourself. And, you wouldn’t get started in an idea unless you believed you could make it work.

Yet, the majority of startups fail.

What is the deal here? Is it false confidence? Or is it just delusion?

I can’t say I have an answer here. I merely write about it because I have noticed it within myself, and within the ecosystem, and would like to throw it out there.

How do we deal with confidence and our own psyches when startups have such high failure rates? How do we maintain the confidence? And more importantly, how do we determine when our confidence is actually delusion?

P.S. This is post number #49 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project: Soulmix.

Walking the fine line between confidence and humility


Confidence is great. We need to believe in ourselves, believe that we are worth something, and believe that we are capable of great things.

Humility is also great. It is important that we be humble, understand our weaknesses, and be empathetic to others.

Managing them both is one of the toughest parts of personal growth. How do we learn to walk that fine line between confidence and humility?

From my memory during childhood, it seems people seem to grow up heavily skewed towards one of these. A simple example of this is with social dynamics in grade school and high school. There are the “cool” kids, who skew towards confidence, and mask their weaknesses. And there are the “not-so-cool” kids who skew towards being humble because they don’t seem to fit in well, and get picked on all of the time.

The tendency for people to skew one of the directions leads to two paths in walking the line between confidence and humility.

Path A: Those who skew towards confidence most likely need to be mentally and emotionally smashed a few times in their lives to learn to be humble. The hard part for these people becomes learning to pick themselves up after getting smashed.

Path B: Those who skew towards humility seems go through a slow progression of learning that they actually have value in the world, and should respect themselves by having confidence. This is difficult, and can easily be set back my tough situations.

Now, it isn’t so simple because we have different sides to us. For example, I started out super confident in my physical abilities with sports, but socially I used to be very awkward.

However, it seems that one of the our sides tends to dominate our perception of ourselves. For me, the social awkwardness dominated. I personally identify with being someone that started out humble, and learned to have confidence. I walked Path B.

Perhaps I have a “grass is always greener” mentality, but I’ve always felt that Path A would be easier. At the very least, you have had confidence before and know what it is like. Learning to have confidence is difficult, and when you first start to have confidence, it seems very fragile. It takes work and time to figure it out. At least it did for me.

How did you learn to walk this line? Do the two paths make sense? And if you took Path A, how was it?

(Photo credit: Flickr user quinn.anya)

P.S. This is post number #29 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Check out my current project Soulmix, your daily mix of food for the soul.