Confidence is something all of us are familiar with, we hear it on a day to day basis, it’s something that goes through our mind during every social interaction we have, and rightly so. Confidence is, in my opinion, the single most important skill any human can have. A majority of people will have heard the saying “Confidence isn’t walking into a room and thinking you’re the best person in there, confidence is walking into a room and not feeling the need to compare yourself to anybody else” or something similar to that, and it’s true, confidence is defined as “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.” And so, in its simplest form, being confident is just being able to rely on yourself, whether it’s relying on yourself to hold a good conversation, relying on yourself to pull off a good presentation, or even relying on yourself to say something funny. Confidence is just trusting yourself to be the kind of person you want to be.
Confidence is key, people pick up on it on both a conscious and a subconscious level, and that’s why if you want to achieve absolutely anything in life, the first thing people will tell you is “Just be confident”. But do you want to know the best thing about confidence? Of course, you do! The single best thing about confidence is that it is a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned and developed.
I was watching a program the other day, and it got me thinking about how important confidence is, the program was called “The Hunt” and it was a series documentary by Sir David Attenborough, and it was all about how different animals hunt in the wild, but what really caught my attention was this pack of African wild dogs, as wild dogs do, they were trying to hunt wildebeest, and there was a couple of lessons I think we should learn from these predators.
First of all, they wait for a wildebeest to break from the herd, and that’s rule 1, there’s strength in numbers, it’s hard to stand alone, it’s a scary place, and so if you want to start being more confident, start small, don’t break off from the herd just yet. If you have to speak in public, have somebody on stage with you, or even a small group of people, as Sir David Attenborough called it “the safety of the herd”. And as a side note from this, one dog alone cannot take down a wildebeest by itself, but when working as a group, much larger tasks can be accomplished far more easily!
Secondly, the wild dogs find it much easier to kill a wildebeest when it is running away, a wildebeest is armed at the front, if it stands its ground, it can very easily kill a wild dog, possibly a small pack, so the thing to take from that is that, when you’re scared, you need to assess your situation, the easiest thing to do always seems to be to run away, but a lot of the time, that’s the worst thing you can do, sometimes it pays to stand your ground, you just have to learn to judge a situation, and the only way to know how to do that is through experience, and the only way to get experience is to go out, make mistakes, and learn from them.
And finally, a phrase that I picked up on him repeating quite often was “most predators fail most of the time” and I looked this up and came across this website:
the thing that I found astonishing about this is that African wild dogs are some of the most accomplished predators ever, yet even they only have an 85% success rate, leopards are one of the most vicious, skilful killers in the entire animal kingdom, and they don’t even manage to make 4 out of every 10 hunts a success. But there’s a valuable lesson in this too, if you want to be a predator, an alpha, somebody who gets exactly what they want, and ends up where they want to be in life, you must expect failure! You must understand that you need to fail more times than most people even try.
The more attempts you make, the more times you will fail, do you think every lion kills something on its first-ever hunt? Do you think a lion kills its prey every time? Of course not! But would you go out and fuck with a fully grown lion? Exactly! Failure gives you experience, and experience gives you success, don’t be afraid of failure, people only ever remember your failures at your low points anyway, nobody ever talks about all the times that Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, or Dwayne Johnson failed, do they? No! Because people are too busy admiring them for where they are now!
There’s a lot we can learn from the animal kingdom, after all, that’s what we are, animals, mammals, I wanted to be an engineer for quite a long time, and I was always fascinated by biomimicry, the definition of it is “the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes.” That’s just a pretentious way of saying “you look at animals, and use what they have and do, and use that to help humans” for example, if you were looking for the best way to design an aeroplane with regards to the aerodynamics, rather than putting hours of research into fluid dynamics and still probably not finding the most efficient way, you might study falcons and other fast birds, or even something like a dolphin that glides through water, use evolution to do your hard work for you. I won’t go into any more detail here, but if you want to learn more, A lady called Janine Benyus wrote an incredible book called “biomimicry – innovation inspired by nature” and here’s a link to a website you can use to look it up in a bit more detail:
But I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I don’t think the uses for biomimicry stop at engineering and architecture, I think that, psychologically, there’s a lot we can learn from the natural world too! I think that modern life has disconnected us from our primal instincts, and I think we’d benefit from looking back to nature for inspiration, whatever the situation is.