Leaving NYC after a 24 hr work trip, I was again reminded how tough it is to exist there. Its crowded, expensive and dirty. One needs energy and attitude to deal with it all and perhaps even a bit of indifference that allows you to enjoy the positive parts without resentment.
But New Yorkers are notorious for their hardness. They can be aggressive and unforgiving in their communications and mannerisms. As if everything was approached like a subway rush, life becomes a perpetual Survivor reality show. Winner takes all even if he/she isn’t sure what the prize is: A seat on the train? A 2 second car length lead through the tunnel? Something less tangible like bragging rights?
So in the scope of the NY chaos, I can almost excuse these inhabitants as their environment is challenging and forces them to live defensively. But what about all the people who are hard that don’t live in NY or any other tough city. What is their excuse for being so miserable and mean?
I’m always on a mission to soften such people and try to get them to smile and realize they are human – even if only for a moment. So many people toughen up as a response mechanism that it pains me that they don’t even realize how miserable they are and that they are making others feel the same too. Life is unquestionably hard but does that mean we should or have to be hard ourselves? I think this is a matter of confidence.
With confidence, your feathers don’t get ruffled and your problems are not assumed to be insurmountable. You recognize set backs as only that and obstacles as temporary challenges with fated circumstance. You know that making someone feel good is more a gift for you than even for them. And you allow yourself to cope however feels best to you. Confidence buys you the ability to be flexible and adapt without worrying about what other people think. Perhaps this is more Darwin than Maslow in knowing that survival of the fittest in human terms could very well mean those of us who can roll better with the punches and don’t stress out about petty things that we can’t control are less stressed out and happier in general.
Here is a great video that so beautifully communicates what I am writing here. The lesson is simple: make lemonade when you are tossed a bunch of lemons (or in this case coffee beans). Don’t get hard, get synergistic. You may have a legitimate right to be angry, frustrated and unhappy like my friends in NY. Being nice to others, even when the world isn’t nice to you, may very well be the ultimate test of confidence.
Cheif Confidence Officer
American Confidence Institute