The Way To Confidence

Promotion To Purple Belt 3/19/22

You can’t “fake it ’til you make it” in combat sports. The way to develop real confidence is through competence AND testing your abilities. Real skill development.

Yesterday I reached a milestone in my martial arts journey by being promoted to purple belt.

⏳Here are some rough estimates on the total time involved:

  • 4 1/4 years of consistent training
  • ~80 hours of independent study (shout outs to John Danaher and Firas Zahabi)
  • ~918 hours of mat time (3 days / week 1.5 hr practice)
  • ~2,450 miles biked to / from practice

By my estimates, a TON of time was invested. However, I wasn’t truly confident in my abilities until recently. A blue belt came to my gym who outweighs me by 40 lbs. I later found out he was a former inmate, currently on the juice. A real tough guy. Yet I was able to defeat him in a hard-fought 5 minute round. It wasn’t until I was biking home that it hit me…I’m pretty good at this. BUT I needed that challenge in order to recognize my own competence. It was before I actually received the purple belt that I had the confidence of one.

Challenging competence can take many forms. Let’s assume you are a runner. You might know subconsciously that you are a good runner, but challenging your competence by trying to qualify for a major race would solidify that consciously. Now your self-image is changed. You can confidently tell yourself “I am a runner, I qualified for Boston”.

At work, you might feel like you have the competence that should be recognized – but how can you go out of your way to challenge that? Solidifying that competence into confidence.

The formula

With that in mind, I would like to propose an update to the saying “competence leads to confidence”:

Competence + challenge = confidence

📚Two of the best books I read that hastened my skill development

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