Friday, March 4, 2011

False Confidence

I'm a big believer in the applicability of the Myers-Briggs personality typing system. Here's the intro to my type...

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age.

Totally me. And maybe this entry title is a little misleading. It's not really a false confidence I'm talking about, more like insecurity masked by someone who knows what confidence should look like.

Perception is a funny thing. I got surprised with a last minute, 1 hr presentation for work this week. One of our executives popped up and did some pretty intense drilling (30 min on one...slide). Between the surprise and the general stress of travel, I gotta admit, I was a bit nervous (which I LOATHE being). I finished and a coworker told me I did a great job. I confessed that I was nervous. "Really?" she responded, "I couldn't tell at all."

The week before, I was sharing with one of the new white belt ladies how terrified I was the first six+ months of training. "Really? You seem like such a confident person." "I am, just not with the physical side of things." Which...honestly isn't entirely true. I'm coordinated and have decent reflexes, natural strength and assertiveness and solid body awareness. I just carry with me a very pure and pervasive intimidation.

And then, there's my jiu jitsu. I feel...absolutely...horrible right now. Stomach-turningly so. Not in an "I'm gonna quit" kinda way. Nope. More in a "You need to have less hope of what you can do with this" kinda way. Even if this is untrue (I acknowledge that my perception may be skewed) I'm 150% convinced I'm doing something wrong in the way I'm approaching things...I know part of it is that everyone's getting ready for the belt ceremony and it's hitting at a time I feel like I'm accomplishing so little and at a time I have much less to give to jiu jitsu. Technique as a whole feels light years beyond my grasp until I have a better hold on the conceptual. After two weeks off because of work and gym schedule issues, I feel like the last year+ of training never occurred.

This, I think, is the burden of someone who's used to being above average. Periodically and altogether too frequently, you revisit the thick confusion of stagnated improvement. It's more than just mired frustration. It's a living, breathing, burning insult to your perception of self. Funny, I thought the experience would be lighter this time. I thought that I'd have whittled down this undesirable lump in my character more.

...and I just re-read what I wrote. It left me wondering if I need more of what I consider positive feedback. I realized that I was talking about more than just jiu jitsu...that a couple areas of my life happen to be running parallel right now...and I got my question answered. I have positive feedback elsewhere. Praise and reputation...and it does precious little to change my perception of performance. 


A_Vampire_on_the_Mat said...

I can agree.

I think most of us could use some positive feedback for BJJ.

Liam H Wandi said...

There is no average my friend. There is only the immediate experience and our perception of it. The first is true and can only be true and the second is false and can only be false.

Next time you're on the mat, focus on touching the mat with your naked feet and touching your partner's gi with your naked hands. feel the cloth and the coolness. Completely experience what you are doing, whether it's bringing your elbows close to your ribs, bridging over your shoulder or pulling your knees together.

Watch this:

There is an inevitable moment where you realise what's going on. Once you do, you can't UNdo it.

If you focus on experiencing every second when you are on the mat, the results will come, but they won't mean much because you will already be happy :)

Georgette said...

"It's more than just mired frustration. It's a living, breathing, burning insult to your perception of self."

That's exactly how I often feel. I am so with you. Great insight :)

Megan said...

I dunno know that whole "perception is reality" deal. I believe it only goes so far, but that far can have a pretty big impact.

Great advice on focusing on the moment. I thought I was doing a good job just by trying to shut out non-BJJness, but that extra step you mention is essential.