To Marry Confidence With Humility Look in a Mirror

To Marry Confidence With Humility Look in a Mirror

“She was so confident; there is something magnetic about these confident people” I told Lulu, my parrot.

“Who are you talking about?” Lulu, my parrot, asked as he glanced at my laptop for a clue. And did not find any.

“I am referring to Bhakti. She came home yesterday to meet me. She spoke with confidence, and a bit loudly; a typical sign of a confident person.”

“She has taken up a new job, and has been doing well. That gives confidence to people.”

“You are right,” I showed Lulu the selfie taken with her. “Early success in the job is such a big confidence booster. But she has not lost her humility. Her job entails taking up work which she has not done before, that gives her enough insecurity to remain humble.”

“Ha, ha! But many people grow so confident by their success that they get arrogant. How many I have heard saying, ‘I know, yaar, don’t tell me that…’”

“Appearing confident is important to one’s growth in the corporate world, that’s how they think. And the biggest tribe in the corporate world is of confidence posers. There are videos on the YouTube for confidence posers. Some show arrogance which they mistake as a sign of confidence.”

“I know. But there is quite a difference between the appearance and the substance. And arrogance does not take you far, however confident you may be. It grows out of some initial success. Bill Gates hit the nail on its head when he said, ‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’ From confidence to ‘confidently arrogant’ is just one step.”

“Ashneer Grover, Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi and the like seem to be the blind arrogant variety”

“And there are those who are always in doubt, not sure of themselves. Like Seeta in ‘Seeta aur Geeta’ movie.”

“I have a friend who appeared for MSc exam but was never sure if he will pass. After his exams he worried if he will get good marks. And when the results came, he realized he had cleared it with distinction.”

“These are the people with ‘debilitating doubt.’ They feel and say ‘I am not that good.’ Your friend would have thought that hitting distinction was a fluke. Such doubters are available in plenty like the arrogant guys, except that we don’t notice them, arrogant guys hog all attention.”

“Vinesh Phogat is a case in point.”

“Yes, she lost wrestling match in the quarter finals and was ‘broken’! News story quotes her about her recent days, ‘During sparring sessions, wrestlers much smaller and lighter than Vinesh began pummeling her. “Unhone mujhe utha, utha ke maara (They threw me around),” she laughs.’

“And nobody likes the company of such persons. In your eyes they are good, you say it, but they never accept it.”

“I guess it is the diffidence. Not humility. Humility is not the sense of unworthiness. Modern day interpretation of humility is ‘freedom from pride or arrogance.’

“Freedom from pride or arrogance! That fits in well, Lulu. It’s kind of quiet confidence. You feel it when they are around. I mean one should be reasonably confident of his or her competence.”

“Such a ‘should’ points to an ideal situation. In practice we have a range from extreme arrogance to the sense of unworthiness as you pointed out.”

“You talked about ‘Quiet Confidence.’”

“Adam Grant calls it ‘Confident Humility’.”

“Who shows Confident Humility? Those can be role models for us.”

“I think Sachin Tendulkar is one such person. Doesn’t he come very close to the definition?”

“How about MS Dhoni?”

“Yes, Dhoni too.”

“Are not there any women showing confident humility?”

“Ha ha, you have a point. Sushma Swaraj is a name which comes to my mind.”

“And Dr. Soundarya Rajesh. She has done pioneering work in inclusion – promoting second career for women, among many things.”

“One more – Dr. Aruna Dhere. The Marathi writer who has authored more than forty books. Our journey must be toward becoming a person with confident humility.”

Lulu My Parrot

“How to achieve it, Lulu? This is not an easy task.”

“Bernard Shaw said there should be courts where a person has to appear every three years and prove that in those years his life has been meaningful.”


“Yes, true. Therefore, those courts should be in your mind. We must have a ‘court of wisdom’ where we appear every moment. This is what Osho says, and I agree. You want to attain confident humility? There is nothing like looking at oneself in the mirror.”

“Hmmm ……”

“Richard Bach said ‘Look in a mirror and one thing is sure; what we see is not who we are.’ Do you get what it means?”

“It’s a deep message, it will take a good time for its meaning to sink in.”

“When it does, you will be on your way to ‘Confident Humility’”. Lulu, my parrot, often leaves me with thoughts which I ponder over for weeks.

(Inspired by Adam Grant’s thoughts in ‘Think Again’ and by Osho’s).

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” / Read more Lulu blogs in my book ‘The Lulu Duologues’