Courage Eats Confidence

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I recently heard Beau Lotto, the neuroscientist whose TED talk on illusions has generated over 5 million views, speak at a conference* during which he said:

“courage is more important than confidence”

As I have been reflecting on this in my own life and work, including the current search for my next career step, I think he is right. If you are given the choice to be confident or courageous, you should always choose courage.

Confidence is believing you can. Courage is knowing that you might fail, but doing it anyway.

Confidence’s posture is upright, which makes it fragile. Confidence can’t fail. Courage leans into the wind, gets up when it falls down, and is more resilient.

Confidence is proud and can push others away. Courage is vulnerable and draws others in.

Confidence can be external facing, seeking the approval of others. Some acts of courage are public and heroic, but many are private and quiet. Doing the right thing, even when it is hard and no one is looking.

Confidence is complete and closed off to learning new things. Courage requires it.

Confidence requires prior relevant experience (otherwise it starts slipping into the danger zone of “over confidence”). Courage can forge it’s own path.

Confidence is a feeling. Courage is a decision to act.

In your own life, in your family, in your business, and in our communities, how can we put our personal and societal pressure for confidence aside, and instead cultivate more courage? 

*The conference was TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design, and Experience) produced by Avixa in conjunction with the InfoComm show. Amazing event. You should go!

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

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