Seven months ago, I wrote a blog entry titled “Confidence vs. Conviction.” It was something I had been thinking a lot about at the time, and I was very eager to share my thoughts. I was disappointed with the results, however. I didn’t feel I made the distinction as clear or as poignant as it had played itself out in my mind. That’s always a trick—to share the wisdom that comes from an uninterrupted stream of thought and translate it into a set of coherent sentences and paragraphs. Thinking and writing are two different processes, and while the latter involves the former, the best thinking takes place when you needn’t worry about communicating those thoughts to anyone else. We’re all geniuses at times. But many of us sound like idiots when we try to share our ingenuity with others.
The reason I bring up my “Confidence vs. Conviction” post is because much of my journal writing today had to do with living a life of conviction. And here’s part of what I said:
Oh yes, confidence follows [from living with conviction]. But it’s a nuanced kind of confidence. It’s a confidence in yourself and your character, not in what you will achieve, per se. It’s not a kind of confidence that says, “Yes, I can do X.” Rather, it says, “Yes, I’ll do X. And I’ll do it the way I want to do it. Here’s my version of X. And I’m good with it!” It’s having confidence in the path you’ve chosen because you like the path, not because it leads to the right destination (even though it will). Instead of thinking, “I’m confident that this will get me to destination X,” you think, “I’m confident this is the route I want to take to destination X. This is the route I want to enjoy on my way to X. I love this route. It’s the route for me. I’m going to enjoy this route, and I don’t give a crap what routes other people take or what they think of my route. This is the way I want to get to X.”There’s nothing particularly profound in the block quote above, but it did me some good to write it. It helped remind me of what I want out of life, which is something I lose track of surprisingly easily. The point is, I’m on a journey right now. Sometimes I feel somewhat discouraged or ho-hum about this journey. But I realize from time to time—because I have to keep learning the same thing over and over again—that much of my discouragement lies in a failure to be who I want to be right now. I’m focused on the future and ignoring my present self. Well, guess what? My present self is the only self I’ll ever be, and sometimes he’s a miserable and unlikeable bloke. If I can be happy in the present, I don’t need to worry so much about the future. Because here’s a little secret—you’re never living in the future. You’re always living in the now.
The things I’m saying on my blog today are so clichéd, I’m almost embarrassed to write them. But they are true, and they need to be said every once in a while. My journal entry was a lot more personal and meaningful than what I’ve shared here. It was more specific and thus less hokey. But the take-home message is the hackneyed one we would all benefit from if we could sincerely take it to heart. Be the person you want to be today—it’s the only day you’ve got.