While attending high school in a small town in Kansas, I observed a situation that reinforced the importance of confidence. When you are confident about your chances of success, you are more likely to take a leap of faith. Of course, you must be prepared to fail.
The Date Example
While I was born in Uvalde, Texas, I grew up in Montezuma, Kansas, a small, rural town in the Southwest part of the Sunflower State. As a sophomore in high school, one of my best friends was Jeff, and he was a class ahead of me. We both played on the basketball team, and we made it a habit to hang out after practice.
Like most other boys that age, Jeff and I talked about sports and girls. At one point, Jeff shared with me that he met a cute girl from a nearby town. Ingalls was only 16 miles from Montezuma, and we were rivals.
Jeff was excited because he had his first date this coming Saturday. The plan was dinner and a movie in Dodge City. The plan was for him to pick her up in Ingalls and head right over to Dodge.
I asked, “Are you going to kiss her on the first date?” He replied, “That’s the plan, but I’m not sure yet.”
On the Sunday after the date, Jeff came to my house in the afternoon. Given that we lived only a few blocks apart, it was a quick walk. I asked him how it went, and he talked endlessly about the dinner and the movie, but nothing else. No kiss!
“Jeff, why didn’t you at least give her a peck on the cheek?”
“It just didn’t feel right. I think she likes me, and I like her, but I couldn’t force myself to do it.”
The rest of the story is that Jeff went out with this pretty cheerleader three more times, and never had the courage to give her a kiss. I talked to Jeff recently while visiting Montezuma, and I reminded him of the story.
He said, “I’m pretty sure she thought I was a dork for being so timid. It was embarrassing that everyone in school knew about this crazy story!”
There are many times in life when you need to take a chance. While ou might fall short, you can learn from the failure. You can only know the skills that work by trying, and you are less bothered when you fall short. The fact is success is just a matter of time. You will eventually find the breakthrough, but you give it a try.
Jeff is married and has a terrific family. In fact, he earned a college degree from a reputable university, and works for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The timidity he showed when dating the cheerleader is now long gone, and his confidence is unmistakable.
The next time you are presented with a challenging situation, take a step forward and accept the challenge. Even if you fall a bit short, the experience will make you better. You’ll break the code, but it will take effort and patience.