Confidence - How Important is this for success?
September 01 2011 by Tudor House
Last week skiing, I was enticed by a band of Infants boys to follow them into the half-pipe. There was great excitement – and some competitive spirit. I was in awe of these boys – all squabbling to be the first to ‘drop in’. One after another they pushed their limits. I followed and realised acceleration is relative to mass. I found myself gaining speed quite dramatically. I took out the youngest of the boys in a collision. It didn’t faze him – it did me! I had crashed into one of our Kindy boys in front of a large crowd who were watching our Tudor red jackets race up and down the steep walls, then witness the ‘teacher’ take out the littlest!
As well as being embarrassed, this led me to reflect on these youngsters’ confidence. They actively sought out terrain parks, rocks, trees and jumps.
Confidence. What a great quality for Tudor boys. What an important element for learning.
Confidence. How important is this for success?
Confidence. How important to bestow this on our learners of the 21st Century, in times of such rapid change.
Serendipity - things that link
Do you ever get that feeling of serendipity – you know that feeling where you have a thought and then find the same concept popping up around you as if by grand design? It’s a bit like buying a new car – then seeing that model EVERYWHERE.
I was driving to pick up my oldest daughters the following Sunday – and on the radio, by chance, was a discussion on a key element for successful learning: confidence. The discussion centred on the need to promote confidence in all our learners... especially our younger learners.
I reflected on my skiing exploits with our younger ski club members. These boys – and girls – tore down the mountain with the confidence of one who has never suffered a broken knee, a torn ACL, or the stiffness that comes with age. Confidence, I reflect, can be closely linked to ignorance or naivety: we can attempt new things simply because we don’t know the risks – or don’t have memories of failure – taking things for granted.
Is confidence the same as audacity – bravery? Or is confidence more to do with arrogance and pride? Is confidence only the reward for success – not really the precedent? Is confidence really assertiveness?
In the radio interview I was listening to the discussion was looking more at the fibres of confidence. The discussion asserted confidence is an umbrella statement. The really important key for unlocking successful learning is persistence – and this can be promoted with goal setting, and the awareness that we will have to manage anxiety and stress.
Now I think this is true but believe there is a more complex chain of events.
I would argue confidence really feeds off competence – being able to master a challenge, and this mastery then leads us to take on another. To take on new challenges requires a good degree of persistence – we have to work at things, and not just expect quick rewards. Persistence requires two other key elements: patience and resilience. Patience is the respect of time and Resilience is the acceptance and expectation of some struggle or hardship.
There seems to be a chain of events, which starts with an idea, a vision, or heightened awareness. What leads us to take on a challenge, what underpins our confidence and strengthens our resolve is our passion, the driver that engages us in the process (competitive spirit, sense of service, extrinsic reward, or just a sense of fun and enjoyment!). And by attempting and finding success we develop self-efficacy, which leads to mastery.
A concluding feature, important in our roles as parents, is to develop independence.
This process is the complex chain that establishes the greatest gift we can give our children: self-confidence.
If we can have our boys leave Tudor with a respect for others, accepting responsibility, having forged good relationships but... most importantly... being self-confident, then future success is much closer, more attainable.
This is why we offer diversity. This is why we emphasise challenges. This is the reasoning that guides us to allow boys opportunities to ride bikes, climb trees, camp out, sing in front of a large audience, dance on a stage, fly kites, race billy carts, play golf, ski competitively, enter triathlons, participate in water polo, learn musical instruments, recite poetry, play competitive chess, strive to be a Senior, take on chores in the kitchen, experience boarding, and play zombie tip with mates from all year groups.
This is really how we value add. Stick with our programme and your son will thrive – not just in school but also in life. Of that I am confident.
I would be interested in your thoughts.
So how confident do you seem to others?
Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: your behaviour, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and so on. Look at the following comparisons of common confident behaviour with behaviour associated with low self-confidence. Which thoughts or actions do you recognize in yourself and people around you?
|Self Confident||Low Self Confidence|
|Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it.||Governing your behaviour based on what other people think.|
|Being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things.||Staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure and so avoid taking risks.|
|Admitting your mistakes, and learning from them.||Working hard to cover up mistakes and hoping that you can fix the problem before anyone notices.|
|Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments.||Extolling your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible.|
|Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.”||
Dismissing compliments offhandedly. “Oh that prospectus was nothing really, anyone could have done it.”
As you can see from these examples, low self-confidence can be self-destructive, and it often manifests itself as negativity. Self-confident people are generally more positive – they believe in themselves and their abilities, and they also believe in living life to the full.
Enter the debate...
- Headmaster's Blog
- The Academic Report Writing Season - time in; gains out?
- A School’s Ethos is the corner stone of Cultural Intelligence
- The intangibles of true learning - our terroir
- Obesity and calories - the distance you need to go
- Passion, determination, practice and talent
- What do our Children Need for the Future?
- Discipline is to learn
- Playful Engaged Learning
- Good sport is more than winning
- Living our Values - Respect, Responsibility, Relationships
- Leadership - service for others
- Homework - that hoary chestnut
- Confidence is the Key to Success
- Why Learning should be Wonder-full!
- Why Worry?
About Mr John Stewart
For ten years, Mr Stewart taught in the United Kingdom at famous schools, such as Hill House International School in Knightsbridge, London; and St John's College School, Cambridge... Read more
Tudor House parent
We chose Tudor in the first place - to build the character of our children whilst still allowing them to be little boys. I wanted the Tom Sawyer experience for my kids. My son the other day was becoming very sentimental and said, "I would not have been able to do all of these things ANYWHERE."
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