Controlling the Controllables: Poise & Confidence by Brian Biro

Controlling the Controllables: Poise & Confidence

If poise is being yourself, confidence is the inner knowing that when you are yourself and others are free to be themselves, everything will work out as it should. So, to be truly confident, you must have a belief in others as well as yourself.

Legendary UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden believed that true confidence could only come from focusing on controlling your controllables:

  1. Effort

  2. Energy

  3. Attitude

In this way, confidence must be built from your choices and actions rather than from the results. The results simply provide the information and feedback necessary to keep learning and improving.

As Wayne Gretzky famously said:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Confidence comes from taking the shot and recognizing that it’s the best you can do.

People With Genuine Confidence Share the Following:

  1. They are comfortable with admitting when they are wrong or have made mistakes.

  2. They do not beat themselves up, blame others, or make excuses.

  3. They do not blow achievements out of proportion or become depressed or crushed when they fall short of their objectives.

  4. They just keep learning and keep taking the shots.

  5. They believe that if things are to change, they must change; that if it’s to be it’s up to me. Personal responsibility is a privilege and not a burden when you embody confidence. 

True confidence is contagious.

It is impervious to external storms, steady and consistent as you move between the highest peaks and deepest valleys. It is the opposite of arrogance and boastfulness which is based upon comparing yourself to others and the need for approval. Confidence is knowing that in every moment and situation you can choose to give the best of which you’re capable. And you know that everyone around you is fully capable of making that same choice. Confidence is not about beating others. It is about being your best and feeling genuine joy and inner satisfaction that giving your all is enough.

When you are truly confident you want to win and love to compete. 

But your self-worth does not depend upon the result but rather the effort and energy you give. You are comfortable giving credit to your competitors and determined to learn and grow from every experience and outcome. Confidence is giving everything you’ve got to the journey and having complete faith that by doing so you’ll arrive at the destination that is right for you.

Coach Wooden instilled confidence in the way he taught and led. He believed that by focusing on positive actions rather than reactive, defensive ones his players would emerge with greater confidence. For example, he taught his players that the key to rebounding was to get between their opponent and the ball and then go and get the basketball rather than worrying about boxing out. In other words, he wanted them to zero in on the positive action of getting the ball that was in front of them instead of looking behind them and focusing on trying to keep their opponent from getting a position.

When the NCAA banned the dunk shot as a direct attempt to slow down the dominance of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Coach Wooden encouraged Kareem to see this as a tremendous opportunity to develop even greater skills and excellence. The result was Kareem’s mastery of his skyhook shot which still stands to this day as the most dominant shot the game has ever seen and played a huge role in Jabbar becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

As Wooden said, “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”

Brian Biro
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