Reece Gardner: The difference between self-confidence and ego

Reece Gardner: The difference between self-confidence and ego

How do you define self-confidence?  Can it lead to over-confidence and an inflated ego? One example I have used in my Carnegie classes to point out the difference between self-confidence and ego is this: A young man came into Mr. Johnson's drug store and got on the public telephone to call a lady in the neighborhood. 

When she answered, he told her he had been noticing her lawn and that he would love to have the opportunity to take care of her lawn on a regular basis. 

She replied she already had someone who was handling that task. But the young man persisted, telling her he would do this job twice as good as it was being done and that he would do it at half the price. 

The lady replied that she was very happy with both the quality and the price she was getting and she had no plans to change. When the young man hung up the phone, Mr. Johnson said: "Son, I was listening to that conversation, and I am so sorry you didn't get that job." 

The young man replied, "Oh, Mr. Johnson, I already have that job — I was just checking up to see how I was doing." 

Now that's self-confidence!

An example of ego is this example: A farmer from Texas was visiting a friend here in Eastern North Carolina.  After breakfast, the two of them went out on the porch. The farmer from Texas looked at the property surrounding his friend's home, and said "Tell me, Jim, how much of this land is yours?" 

Jim happily replied, "My property goes all the way to that pond on the left side, to the start of the forest on the right side, to the highway in the distance."

The Texas farmer was not at all impressed and said, "You mean to tell me that is all the property you have?" 

Jim replied, rather defensively, "Yes, that is what I have." 

The Texas farmer then  leaned back in his chair and said, "Let me tell you something, my farm in Texas is so large, I can get in my pickup truck and drive all day, and never leave my land.", to which Jim replied, "I know what you mean — I used to have a pickup truck just like that!" 

But sometimes we can be too self-critical, like the man who drove a certain route to his destination every morning for 100 days. He took each turn flawlessly for 99 mornings, but on that 100th morning he was deep in thought and missed one of the turns. 

Immediately he began to criticize himself, saying, "What is the matter with you? How could you miss that turn, come on, wake up." 

He was so self-critical for having missed that turn on that 100th morning, but probably had never complimented himself for having taken those turns correctly 99 times in a row. 

Most  of what we do is in fact worthy of praise and we should not hesitate to be aware of that. We need to be thankful for what we have. 

I am convinced a lot of times our feeling of insecurity and lack of confidence comes from the feeling of not having enough of something, whether it's emotional validation, good luck, money, etc. We can combat the feeling of being incomplete by counting our blessings EVERY DAY!

Now, to end on a humorous note: A man climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai and gets close enough to talk to God.  Looking up, he asks the Lord, "God, what does a million years mean to you?"

The Lord replies, "A minute." 

The man then asks, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?"

The Lord replies, "A penny." 

The man perks up and asks, "So, can I have a penny?"

The Lord replied, "In a minute."  

Have a wonderful day!

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