“If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

–Henry Ford

Mindful confidence is the art of living in True Self. If you know who you are and what you want to be, then you are living in True Self. Being centered in True Self is, by definition, mindful confidence.

An important characteristic of living in True Self is the ability to be non-judgmental with yourself and with others. Being non-judgmental means that you have realized that you are human, and that you’re going to occasionally make mistakes. Realizing that others are human as well, allows you to forgive and forget, and to start over. This ability to pick yourself, dust yourself off, and begin again is the essence of confidence.

We previously discussed the idea of implicit memories, and how narrative memories integrate all of our implicit memories together in the story of our lives, like fitting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. If those pieces fit together, we are able to make sense of our lives, and it is easy to avoid the temptation to engage in emotional aggression.

If, on the other hand, things happen to us that cause our implicit memories not to match up with our narrative, chaos is the result. Emotional aggression occurs when we feel our lives to be chaotic and out-of-control.

Another cause of emotional aggression is insisting on too much order in our lives. When this occurs, we tend to make too many rules for ourselves and for others, and the result is a rigid, inflexible life.

Having too much chaos in life is a problem. So is having too much order in life. The middle ground then would be to find a balance between chaos and order in our lives. Finding such a balance would give us the ability to live in Wise Mind. When we are able to live in Wise Mind, we are living in True Self, and when we are living in True Self, we are living life with confidence.

Mindful Confidence, Chaos and Order

Emotional aggression can occur on either end of this spectrum between chaos and order. The chief cause of chaos in life is overwhelming emotional responses to life’s circumstances. Chaos corresponds to Emotional Mind. When a crisis occurs, there is a natural tendency to respond out of the emotional side of our minds. It’s perfectly okay to have such chaotic emotional feelings. It is possible to have strong emotional reactions without letting them create chaos in our lives.

The way to do this is to understand that when strong feelings hit, we can choose to leave Doing Mode, avoid the temptation to try to ‘fix’ things, and move to Being Mode. In Being Mode we can sit quietly with the emotion until it dissipates, or until we are calm enough to make a rational decision instead of reacting purely out of emotion.

At the other end of the spectrum is the need for order. Order corresponds to the Rational Mind. At the extreme end of the Order portion of the spectrum, the rules for living have become rigid, inflexible, maladaptive, and unstable. At this other extreme end of the spectrum we are back into the Perfection Triad, in which we are making rules that insist on perfection from ourselves and from others in an attempt to shun personal responsibility for our emotional states.

Wise Mind is the middle path between these two extremes. It bridges the gap between Emotional Mind and Rational Mind, and between chaos and order. Wise Mind is the ability to be adaptable when we encounter too much chaos, and the ability to be flexible when we encounter too much order.