“How do you get your confidence?”
It was a question asked by my professor in college as he paced back and forth in front of the room. There was a rhythm to his walk, as if a beat played in his head that only he could hear. The rest of us were left to our imaginations as the swagger in his steps created our own internal song. His left leg would bend as the bass drum would sound followed by a straightening of the right leg, marking the click of the snare.
“Where does your confidence come from?” He repeated himself, pulling us all out of our musical trance, and back into his beat.
Being the educated, thoughtful, intelligent students we were, we began to give answers that were deep and meaningful.
“From our self-esteem,” we said. “Influential adults; peers,” we mentioned. “Past success,” we chimed.
Our answers were given with confidence because we knew what we were talking about. We had taken psychology and sociology. We had been told we knew things and our past had proven that we knew things with good grades and positive accolades. We didn’t know exactly what our professor wanted to hear, but we had the confidence that he was referencing.
“Those answers are all good,” he responded – we relaxed in our seats and smiled, “but they’re not what I’m looking for. You’re not wrong, but you’re not right.”
We all straightened up and asked loudly with our non-verbals, “WHAT!?!?!?!” Our confidence had been shaken.
“Your confidence comes from three things,” he confidently said, adding hand motions to his choreography. “A shower, clean socks, and new underwear.“
We all laughed – interrupting the beat – and then we fell silent recognizing he was serious.
“If you’re not clean,” he carried on, “and if your socks don’t fit, and if your underwear is uncomfortable…well…you’re not confident.”
It seemed too simple, but he was right. He continued to talk about that feeling when you put on a new pair of socks, or pull on a new pair of drawers, or you shower and get made up into your best self. You feel better. You are more confident. No matter how often people have praised you, no matter how much past success you have had, no matter how great your support system is, you won’t be at your best if you don’t feel your best.
Tiger Woods has lost his confidence. I am confident of that.
So much so, that he has pulled himself out of competition to find it. He has had some physical issues, and I’m sure that is part of it, but his biggest struggle currently is his short game – namely putting – which is mental. If you’ve ever played golf, you know that putting takes physical skills and proper form, but the biggest key to putting is confidence. If you don’t trust your read, if you don’t visualize the ball rolling in, if you waiver at all, your putting will stink. It will be awful. It will be “unacceptable for tournament golf” – let alone amateur.
Tiger Woods is changing his swing and altering his form. He is changing his coach. He is surrounding himself with positive people who can lift him up when he is down. Those are all good things. But, if he asked for my input or my opinion, I would recommend he take a great shower, buy some new socks, and put on some comfortable fitting undies. You all might laugh, but like my professor, I’m serious. Tiger needs a fresh start.
Rory McIlroy, golf’s current world #1, says that the key to his confidence is to listen to music on repeat when he practices shots. Then, when he has those same shots on the course, he begins to replay that song in his head and he falls back into that moment, relaxed, on the practice course with no one around. The internal beat is something only he can hear, though the rest of us can tell he’s in a rhythm. But the music can’t be everything…I bet that his drawers fit well and his socks are tight, too.
I’ve wavered back and forth with my confidence lately, but I’m trying to remember the question and response of my former professor. I’m trying to fall back into rhythm with the way he carried himself and spoke.
(Boom, Click…Boom-Click…) How do you get your confidence? (Boom, Click…Boom-Click) Where does your confidence come from?
I’m pulling up my socks and wearing comfortable underwear (thanks N.U.M.) as we speak.
To be confident is certainly a delicate and fragile beast. However, when you have it, your walk has a little different swagger courtesy of a beat only you can hear.
Interested in a related article? Check out The Secret Life of Chambers Bay.