Dancing with Confidence, Tripping Over the Shoes of Fear

Upon walking out of a Wegmans the other night—a Rochester based grocer Megan and I have come to fall in love with—we observed ferocious, grey clouds pouring into town from every direction, pari passu, slowly and ominously withering the last of our daylight. Directly above us were some stars, a few clouds, a slight breeze, but nothing more. It was peaceful.

That’s how I feel now. I’m entering “Calm before the storm” mode. That’s what I’m choosing to call it, anyway. Right now, life is serotinally peaceful; I know it wont last long, and that’s okay. Classes will start and homework will pile. It’s what I signed up for.

Around me are weathered students, all of whom waiting for the storm to begin. As a Junior, I’ve seen some weather too; however, I still doubt myself. I don’t know why.

Like an iced-kicker, I psych myself out of the confidence I know I possess.

Philosophy Steve

The other day, over the telephone, my uncle said something that stuck with me. He said “Kevin, the unknown fools us.”

I stopped him in the middle of his next sentence: “Steve, that was deep, man.”

It’s true, isn’t it? The unknown fools us. It grabs ahold of our fears and lies to us; it calls us names and exploits our insecurities. Call it what you want—a lack of control, a lack of confidence, whatever the insecurity may be—the unknown seeps in and plants fear.

My confidence moved me to the other side of the North American continent in pursuit of the best education I could attain. So yes, I possess confidence. I’m no Ron Burgandy, but you know, I’m getting there. (It’s all in the mustache?)

Yet, truth be told, my doubts creep in. Butterflies show up from time to time. They fly around in my stomach, sometimes regressing into caterpillars, causing me to cowardly hide underneath fallen leaves.

Three Important Reminders

  1. Insecurities are not concrete, but a fluid which evaporates with wisdom and experience. Don’t define yourself by your temporal troubles.
  2. Fear is a great motivator and a terrible bed-mate. Keep her off the pillow and away from your dreams.
  3. “The unknown fools us,” but only if you let it. Lead the dance and kick off the shoes of fear.

Whether we want it to or not, most major decisions (changes) require a little uncertainty, a toe-to-toe dance with the unknown. What if, instead of running away, we tried to lead the dance?

I’ve never been a good dancer, but I guess I can give it a shot.

How about you?


  1. Kevin, fear it turns out is the sub-conscious minds way of protecting us, however it is mostly basing the need for protection on input it received and interpreted when we were a child. So for the most part it is acting on outdated data. I like this quote – I think it is a really good way to overcome the sub-conscious fears that creep in when we are attempting something new or daunting: “Don’t visualize success. Instead, visualize the steps you will take in order to succeed. Just picturing yourself crossing the finish line doesn’t actually help you get there—but visualizing how you run the race (the strategies you will use, the choices you will make, the obstacles you will face) not only will give you greater confidence, but also leave you better prepared for the task ahead. And that is definitely realistic optimism.”
    —Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., host of The Science of Thriving

    Oh by the way – Yeah I just love Wegmans’ too! Great store,family owned and they work with local farmers.

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