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Come back, confidence.

With the information age, now the digital age, we've lost the art of confidence.

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With the proliferation of divorce,
parenting challenges, and mental health issues in the last 50 years,
I am often asked if something has changed in our society that has
attributed to all of this.

Are we just more aware and some old
standing taboos have been broken or are people really more miserable
than they used to be?

While there may be a little truth to both
claims, there is one underlying issue that I have begun to notice.

With the advent of the information age
and the booming self-help industry, people have become more conscious,
more self-aware, and also more confused.

We are bombarded with ideas,
advice, and we don’t always know how to make heads or tails of it.

Longstanding norms have become challenged due to the latest studies.
A few months later those studies are now debunked.

What are we to do?
What path do we follow?

Unless someone has the gift of discernment,
he/she is likely to be confused and feel incompetent.

The freedom of
information and choices paradoxically has become stifling. Stuck in
analysis paralysis, we become ineffective, unhappy, and unsuccessful.

While I don’t advocate pulling the plug
on the digital age, I do notice that we lack a certain sense of
confidence in ourselves and our relationships.

This lack of
confidence is the underlying factor that holds us back from
progressing in all aspects of our lives. In the old days, we did not
necessarily have much of a choice of our path in life.

We did what we
were told.

Our parents or mentors guided us and that was it.

There
was no question that we would enter the family business.

Now, young
collegiates have so many choices that they can waste years trying to
find their calling, only to wish in retrospect that they were not so
confused.

Because so many of us are indecisive, our children feel it,
our spouse feels it, and we feel it in our interpersonal
relationships and business pursuits.

As there are so many books and programs
professing to have discovered the “right” path or approach, we
don’t know what to choose.

We are also afraid of failing and making
mistakes.

We become locked in fear instead of being present in the
moment.

This manifests itself in a multitude of ways:

In a marriage, a couple could be in a
bad place, constantly fighting and feeling disconnected.

One can
project this negativity into the future and become complacent in the
relationship as it it seems like disaster is on the horizon.

On the
other hand, one who is confident in their marriage, knows that
relationships have their ups and downs and that in a matter of
minutes or hours they could feel reconnected.

Confident in their
love, they see the conflict as a hiccup or an opportunity to grow and
become stronger instead of a harbinger of divorce.

As parents, if your child is
misbehaving it’s quite easy to start projecting failure 15 years down
the road.

This leaves you feeling despondent.

A confident parent
knows that we all of our moments, that growth is a process, and that
all because your kid has a big mouth doesn’t mean he/she will have
that problem when you’re walking him/her down the aisle.

In fact,
it’s the lack of confidence that will allow your kids to push your
limits or try to manipulate because they don’t feel safe and secure.
If their parents don’t know what they are doing, or don’t give off
that impression, how will they feel secure?

In business, and in life in general, if
you lack confidence, you’ll hesitate to make decisions or take
action.

Successful people take risks.

They don’t allow themselves to
become debilitated by fear or emotion because they are confident
about what they are doing and know they are ultimately not in control
of the outcome.

As we can see from the above examples,
confidence is the key to pushing forward, taking action, and not
getting paralyzed by fear.

Confidence can be achieved by being fully
committed to whatever you are doing, having a realistic view of how
things work, and learning practical skills to help you manage and
thrive along the way.

It truly is the common denominator to success in business, marriage, and parenting.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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