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6 uplifting little secrets about confidence I learned from a brooding dragon in a mountain cave
Untethered Mind, Friday Edition, 4-min read.
Not long ago, I found myself venturing far from home.
Stones clattered down the side of this path, continually rising in elevation. Mist gathered in valley grooves, and the air bit into my exposed skin.
What had started out as a twenty-minute daily walk had transmogrified into a two-day trek into the craggy mountains of the south.
I soon came to a large plume of smoke pouring out of a crack in the mountainside.
When I stepped in, I nearly tripped on the long, scaly snout of a snoozing green dragon.
After nearly choking on his own fumes, he told me his name was Ian.
Ian gave me some advice that has helped me whenever I've felt low or incapable.
I hope you're sitting comfortably..
1. You must nourish your body with things you know are good for it.
Ian did acknowledge that this was a tip few would want to hear.
He was especially keen to make it clear that those processed items that we enjoy for quick pleasure may be enjoyed as an occasional treat.
Ian has a favourite spotty yellow mushroom he likes to eat that gives him rather saucy dreams he views as a guilty pleasure. He always awakens from this slumber, groggy and lazy, however.
But what he found over the years was a different sort of pleasure.
And that is the joy he gets from sticking to the right foods while cutting out stimulants.
He tells me his confidence is through the roof since he chose to eat nourishing foods over 'pleasure-giving foods.'
The real pleasure that most miss is true nourishment.
2. You can't always be 'on,' so mould your life around the beauty of nothingness.
Ian regularly slips his ginormous reptilian form into caves and cracks, where he can be left alone for weeks to snooze, dream and reflect.
He says the time off allows him to bring the heat at twice the intensity when the world asks this of him.
We may not all have weeks, but doing a whole bunch of nothing each day might be the most productive thing you do all week.
3. You must find a cause to fuel your purpose.
It's difficult to assertively navigate an enlivened life when we don't know what we're ultimately fighting for.
Sometimes, you're already on this path without realising it. So, it can require frequent reminding.
What do you see as a significant injustice in society?
What can you do in your work and life that works towards the solution?
Even if it's in some small way, by fighting a cause, you will be flooded with confident dragon energy as needed.
4. You must refuse to weaken.
'It's a good life if you don't weaken.' — Ian the dragon.
Ian was adamant that when inevitable doubtful thoughts arise in my mind, I must be ruthless in my denial of those thoughts. 'They're only whispy thoughts,' he growled.
'Do not succumb to them.'
Weakness is mainly in the mind.
So by entertaining only strengthening thoughts and developing the skill of welcoming more of them through the door, you become strong by design.
5. The more confident things you do, the more confident you become.
This tip struck me because nowhere in his grumbly diatribe did he say you must first feel confident to take action.
I think too many people live under the philosophy that you must first 'believe in yourself' and, therefore, feel good to lean into a bold action.
Boldness needn't require a confident sensation.
Confidence will be felt in your bones after the fact.
Be willing to feel timid in the right actions.
Your actions will create a confident identity.
6. True confidence is felt in the absence of neuroses.
What is meant by neuroses?
Overthinking - in a word.
When we think about ourselves and worry about how we look and how successful we are, we're deaf to life.
It's like pulling a massive woolly glove over our heads and trying to grocery shop in such a state.
We just end up bumping into things.
And so, to live life confidently, we must allow these critical, doubtful thoughts to subside.
And the way to do this, Ian says, is to turn our attention outward.
To notice things.
To help people.
To poke the box and see what happens.
It is only when we poke and prod that we can bring a fire to light.
If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Alex’s book ‘Illusory,‘ which shows you how to reduce stress in six steps by understanding the true nature of the mind.
Thanks for reading.
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