I visited a local book club last night. Whenever I visit as an author, I get many of the same questions, but there are always a couple that surprise me. The surprising ones tend to be things like “Do you think you could ever be a shaman?” and “So just what is it about you?” Neither of which are as specific as the askers seem to think.
To the first: No, probably not going to ever be a shaman.
To the second: beats me. I’m a well-meaning lummox who reads a lot.
I did get a question last night that I’d like to address, and it’s something I’ve written about before.
Q. With the way your Tourette’s is, how can you be so confident? How can you stand to be out in public?
I’d answer this with another question, to start with.
Q. Is confidence something you have, or something people think you have?
I say it’s the latter. Picture someone trying to act more confident. I’m picturing a guy. He’s walking bigger, swaggering, etc, and he looks like a jackass. I can’t think of a way to act more confident that doesn’t look annoying. You can probably think of better examples.
I don’t know if I’m confident. I do know that I get fixated on my goals and will do whatever I have to to keep progressing, according to my definition of progress.
It might look like perseverance, or confidence, but I don’t feel like it’s something that I can take credit for. I am interested in things, I know what’s important to me, and I fill my life with my interests, obsessions, and the people I love. That’s pretty much the whole story.
However, I do have a definition of confidence that helps me think about it more productively.
What would one hundred percent confidence look like? I think it would look like the complete absence of self-consciousness. Maybe that wouldn’t always be a positive thing, but it makes sense to me.
If I wanted to be more confident–not something I focus on, for reasons outlined above–I would try to figure out how to be less self conscious. How? Good question. Some of it just comes with time. Some of it is retraining the brain. Some of it is doing difficult things until they feel easier. And each person is different.
Maybe I should just be a shaman.
And here’s the book club!