“Man – Know thyself.”
From early on in life we learn that self-esteem and self-confidence are vital assets for life. We try to create environments for our children that affirm them, reward their accomplishments, and help them to see themselves as being enough. This lesson is certainly not complete in childhood, however. As adults, most of us find ourselves still measuring against the various benchmarks the world has to offer. We post and follow influencers that provide self-affirming sentiments on social media. ‘In case no one told you today, you are worthy, enough, etc.’ We are constantly looking for something outside of ourselves to validate us. Our confidence is easily shaken. What makes this lesson from childhood so shallow? While there is nothing inherently wrong with these sentiments, they are not rooted in actual information. They are merely pieces of abstract philosophy. They cannot produce true confidence.
True self-confidence can only be based on knowledge of self. We would consider it foolish for an average person who is not a professional Tennis player to feel confident that they can succeed against Serena Williams in a Tennis match. They fundamentally lack the relationship with the game of Tennis that might make this possible. Their foolishness is borne out of the similar lack of knowledge of themselves. Knowledge of self comes from experiencing life and learning from what life pulls out of you. No one discovers talent at math without first being challenged by a math problem. Confidence that comes from experience is not easily shaken. It is based in truth, and truth does not need external validation.
Confidence that comes from what you tell yourself or what others tell you inherently moves based on other feedback. Nothing outside of you can cause you to lose confidence based in truth. For example, is there anything anyone could tell you to convince you that your name is not really what you know it is? What would your life look like if you were that sure of every aspect of yourself?
Externally-based confidence tends to be closed to feedback that may threaten it; truth-based confidence is never threatened by negative feedback but rather receives it as an opportunity for greater self- knowledge. Externally based confidence needs to seek reinforcement constantly; truth-based confidence is reinforced by embracing life experiences. Externally-based confidence is not real confidence; true confidence removes the need to feel confident.
At Tumfo Tu, every training session invites us to embrace a challenge that pulls something out of ourselves that we never knew was there. Tumfo Tu students are always before a mirror to see themselves as they truly are and operate from that knowledge. Tumfo Tu students are never boastful nor fearful when facing adversity. They have no need to gratify their egos to be superior to others. The only opponent they have is themselves. These behaviors are not directly taught by Tumfo Tu instructors; they are a consequence of the confidence that comes from knowing themselves.