Monday, December 08, 2014

on belief

In my recent post if I were a filmmaker, one of the things the narrator mentions is how Edgar Wright will not miss an opportunity to use every tool at his disposal to both advance the story and to make the audience laugh. The narrator compares this to other filmmakers, who he calls "lazy" in comparison. Now, I can't speak for the filmmakers in question, but I suspect that any laziness is probably tied to a lack of real confidence.

Quite often, I tell my students that it is hard work rather than brains or natural talent which will cause them to succeed. This is true, but I suspect confidence is equally key. Whenever I've approached anything with timidity, that lack of ooomph tends to lead to me making every silly mistake at my disposal. Acting as if I'm confident helps me not make mistakes...or, if I do screw up, tends to make others either ignore or gloss over them.

Before I started teaching, I was talking to one of my MA professors. He told me that before his first class, one of his professors sat him down and said, "Just remember, Bill, you're smarter than them." Personally, I would amend that to say "for all they know, you're smarter than them"...and if they think you're smarter, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. It's good advice, and I found it particularly valuable before I finally got this teaching thing down. Hell, whenever I do a new day, I still live by that mantra.

But it's not just teaching. Music? If I act like I'm in command of the stage, then I am.When I'm taking photos, I just act as if I'm self-assured. When I write, I hit the keyboard with zeal. Sure, I quite often don't actually feel that confidence, but faking it seems to make all the difference in the world...although I sometimes wonder if this puts off some of the people with whom I've played. If I'm faking confidence effectively, I could possibly look like a raging egomaniac. On the other hand, if I admit to myself I don't know what I'm doing, then I just sit in the corner, mope, and try to lull myself out of a state of panic...and this probably looks to outside observers as if I'm stuck up. Sometimes, you just can't win.

Yeah, I know that this boils down to "believe in yourself, and others will believe in you." Yes, I realize how new age/hippie-ish this sounds. But it actually has worked for me, and I normally hate any hippie-ish approach. Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age. Or maybe this is a side-effect of me becoming a vegetarian.

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