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Quotations for Motivation #60 --- Self-Confidence

Updated on October 3, 2015

Quotations for Motivation -- Self-Confidence (Set No. 2)

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, quoted in Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., May 6, 1965.

Doubts are like bats; they can only live in the dark.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Hennessey Kicker, Hennessey, Okla., Aug. 3, 1894.

Self-confidence is not egotism run to seed, but simple faith in yourself. Faith in your abilities gives you victory, for without self-confidence you are doomed to be weaklings and failures all the days of your lives.

---George H. Givan, Carlsbad Current, Carlsbad, N.M., June 3, 1921.

Self-distrust puts the mind into reverse gear.

---John Wesley Holland, Livonia Gazette, Livonia, N.Y., Jan. 10, 1936.

Always think well of yourself. It may be a hard task, but you can perform it easier than the rest of the world.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Sept. 18, 1915.

When you shake one’s confidence, courage flees, hope vanishes, and efforts are made futile. You must labor with confidence if you are to labor effectively. You must build with confidence if the structure is to stand. We must not become panicky simply because a catastrophe has visited us. We must cling with dogged tenacity to the hold on progress and advancement. Confidence in thought, confidence in action, confidence in conversation, confidence in exchange of ideas, from one to another, rather than bemoaning our fate, is the thing we must inspire now. Every citizen must not become stampeded, and must become an evangel of good cheer, of good will, and of supreme faith to go forward.

---Robert L. Kincaid, Middlesboro Daily News, Middlesboro, Ky., March 28, 1929.

Losing faith in mankind is preceded by losing faith in oneself.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., May 8, 1945.

If you give up on yourself, other folks are likely to make it unanimous.

—Purser Hewitt, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Sept. 28, 1967.

Doubt is the tunnel on life's road where you lose hold on the warm grasp of success.

‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 15, 1923.

You can't catch big fish in the river of doubt.

‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 18, 1923.

It's all right to say can't in the morning if before night you amputate it.

‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., March 6, 1924.

Nothing was ever conquered by a can't.

---W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Nov. 29, 1927.

We think we don’t get things done because we are busy. The real trouble is that a little business has a tendency to make us nervous. Being nervous we become immediately inefficient, lose time in hurry and false motion, and finally suffer the slowdown of fatigue. And it all came about not because we had too much to do, but because having something to do we got upset about it.

---Grove H. Patterson, Meriden Record, Meriden, Conn, July 16, 1929.

Self-confidence in any situation is a graduated, progressive method of going from one success to another.

---Earl Riney, Church Management, Cleveland, Ohio, March 1955.

Any man who will believe the best of himself will soon find himself rising.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 6, 1940.

There is no greater weakness than the failure to believe in one’s self.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 1, 1940.

Believe in yourself and go forth in that faith to realize your dream, whatever it is. Believe in yourself—not in any conceited sense as to what you are, but in the sublime sense in what you may become—and there is no limit to the possibilities within you. What you need to succeed is not more brains, or even more culture, by itself considered, but more determination. What distinguishes one man from another in this world is not intelligence primarily but will power. Most of the people display little enough of this commodity in their makeup. And some of those who do, display it in the wrong place or in the wrong direction. To play any great or noble part in life you must have a superb will power and it must be well trained and in absolute control of you at all time. First of all you must be your own master. This does not mean you should be obstinate, or disobedient to your parents, or to the laws or ordinances of good society. The proof of perfect self-control lies in obedience to constituted authority, and a practiced belief in law and order.

---C.H. Morton, Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, Mo., May 29, 1922.

A person can learn no more valuable truth than the dividing line between confidence and egotism.

A person who lacks confidence has an inferiority complex. A person filled with egotism has a superiority complex. Both are handicaps.

The evenly balanced person looks upon himself as inferior to no other person and equally important as superior to no other person.

I think more persons would come to twenty-one years of age thus evenly balanced in their attitude toward themselves were it not that parents think it necessary to drill a feeling of superiority into children.

Mind you, they do this not so much from a spirit of snobbishness as from a desire to train their children to be above certain things other people do.

They fail to grasp that you can be above a sin without its being necessary to be above the sinner.

You can be above a fault without having to be above the person who possesses that fault.

If children are trained to be above certain things they tend naturally to enjoy being with others who, also, are above certain things.

But if the emphasis is placed on the handicap of doing certain things rather than upon comments about the people who do those things, children can be brought to adulthood without a superiority complex.

The second reason parents deliberately drill a superiority complex into their children is they reason this is the most effective method of preventing the development of an inferiority complex in the children. It is a false application of noblesse oblige.

The third reason is that children are permitted to reason that one who possesses something is superior to the person who does not possess it. Without any attempt on the part of parents, children who reason thus about possessions, always come to adulthood with a superiority complex.

I am not so sure but that a superiority complex is a greater handicap than an inferiority complex. You can help a person afflicted with an inferiority complex make one success of which he is proud and usually the inferiority complex disappears. But you cannot take one failure to achieve a success and rid a person of a superiority complex out of a person and in the majority of instances a person who once picks up a superiority complex keeps it until he dies. I would far rather undertake to cure a person of an inferiority complex than to cure one of a superiority complex.

The fundamental reason why parents train superiority complexes into their children is that they figure one tends to live up to his own opinion of himself and that, therefore, if they teach their children to hold a high opinion of themselves the children when grown will make a more consistent, determined effort to live up to that opinion.

The trouble is that a superiority complex is a one hundred percent false opinion of one’s self. There is illimitable proof of that, but space does not permit citing these proofs.

We have reached these conclusions from experiences gained as a teacher and a teacher has always to teach bearing in mind how best to overcome or offset the handicaps of pupils. Unquestionably it is easier to teach a child with an inferiority complex than it is to teach one with a superiority complex. To experience as a teacher we have added observation of adults, rather a large number of adults.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a person who cannot admire himself except in comparison with others. A person with an inferiority complex thinks he is inferior because he thinks others are superior. A person with a superiority complex thinks he is superior because he thinks others are inferior. In each instance the person is incapable of admiring himself or of estimating himself or of forming an opinion about himself in comparison with others. That is a highly dangerous handicap.

The balanced person regards himself as inferior to no other person and as superior to no other person.

---Henry Arnold “H.A.” Stallings [Methodist], Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 26, 1941.

There is a certain type of young man who advances but little and for a very definite reason.

Instead of fighting his own battles, making his own decisions, and making use of his own reasoning powers, he “leans” on someone else. He relies not on his own brain, but upon another’s.

As a result he fails to cultivate within himself the powers which make for advancement.

He is a negative type—and, remember, it is the positive type which pushes ahead.

Don’t be a “leaner.” If you lack confidence in yourself the surest way to gain it is to practice self-reliance. Try it out first in little things, then it will come more easily to you in the bigger things.

Remember, when you lean on someone else, you lean backward.

Don’t lean back—walk—walk ahead. Walk on your own legs. Stand on your own feet.

By constant disuse, self-reliance atrophies. You can’t better yourself by giving your powers over to someone else. And when they have atrophied your chance for success has withered and shrunk with them.

This isn’t theory—it’s FACT. It is fact illustrated by the stagnant careers of a million “leaners.”

So if you’re not advancing, watch yourself in the mirror of self-analysis. See if you’re a “leaner.” Now is the time to square your shoulders and firmly plant your feet on your own ground—now, before it has become “too late!”

---The Evening World, New York, N.Y., July 2, 1914.

Self-confidence results, first, from exact knowledge; second, the ability to impart that knowledge; and third, the feeling of superiority over others that naturally follows. All these give [a man] poise.

—C.A. Bach, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 23, 1917.

A reader wrote me:

"My main problem seems to be lack of self-confidence. A relative offered me a very fine position as manager of one of his stories, but I turned it down because I was afraid I couldn't do the job he wanted done.

"My wife says I was very foolish. But what can a man do when he knows his own weakness and is afraid to trust himself in an important job because of it?"

Perhaps the biggest help I can give this man is to assure him that 90 percent of us, at one time or another–and some all their lives–suffer from the same problem.

But you can overcome your timidity and self-depreciation, building confidence in yourself to the point where you know that you can accomplish anything you set out to do.

You must start now, as of this moment, adopting a positive mental attitude toward yourself and your capabilities. Constantly emphasize in your own mind the words "I can . . ." Cast aside doubt and fear.

I know this isn't easy. But it can be done. Many of the great leaders and successful persons of history had to overcome feelings of inferiority before they could attain high position.

Abraham Lincoln, perhaps our greatest president, suffered from the greatest possible doubts about himself throughout his lifetime. But he won out over them.

Here is a step-by-step plan that may help you do the same:

(1) Start out by taking the first step toward success: Choose a definite major goal in life and concentrate upon it until it becomes a burning desire. You can't win a race unless you know where the finish line lies.

(2) Having decided what you want to do, the goal you wish to attain, memorize this statement, repeating it until you are convinced of its truth: "Whatever I decide to do, I can do."

(3) Don't over-build the importance of decisions in your own mind. Make decisions, both big or little, as rapidly as possible. Remember there are few mistakes that can't be corrected, if necessary.

(4) Your lack of confidence is a form of fear. It can be licked in the same way you overcome other fears. Talk about it with your wife and others. Get their advice on how to overcome it. Examine the reason underlying it. Once you stop trying to hide it, you'll find it much easier to overcome.

(5) Cultivate a sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself and your fears. It really doesn't pay, you know, to take life--or yourself--too seriously.

(6) In relations with others, remember they are subject to the same emotions, the same motivation, the same doubts and worries, that affect you. They really want and need what you have to offer as another human being--your sympathy, your kindness, your thoughtfulness.

(7) Stop thinking so much about yourself. Begin by trying every day to perform a deed of helpfulness for someone else. You'll soon find that in every way you are far more blessed with strength and courage and fortitude than you realized.

(8) Above all, remember that you are never alone. You have the promise in which you can trust utterly and completely, that a Greater Power is with you always to lend you His strength. Learn to rely on that Power, replenishing your spiritual forces through frequent prayer and meditation. Faith in the Divine Power will give you faith in yourself.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 25, 1956.

It has been said that most of the people who fail in life do so because of the lack of some one quality which is but one forty-second part of all the mental faculties. In other words, although we may have forty strong mental faculties or qualities, if we are deficient in only one quality–let us say self-confidence–we are more than likely to fail; for the man or woman without self-confidence is the plaything of chance, the puppet of environment, the slave of circumstance.

Lacking self-confidence, we have not the courage to stand alone, to be independent in thought or act; we are as timid as the mouse in the fable, always afraid to trust to our own powers.

This little mouse, so runs the fable, dwelt near the abode of a great magician and was kept in such constant distress by its fear of a cat that the pity on it, turned it into a cat itself. Immediately the little creature began to suffer from fear of a dog, so the magician turned it into a dog. Then it began to suffer from magician turned it into a tiger. Then it began to suffer from its fear of huntsmen, and the magician, in disgust, said: "Be a mouse again. As you have only the heart of a mouse it is impossible to help you by giving you the body of a nobler animal."

Every day sends to the grave obscure men who have remained in obscurity only because their timidity, their lack of self-confidence, prevented them from making a first effort. If they could have been induced to begin; if they had trusted in their own powers and dared to forge ahead, they would, in all probability, have gone great lengths in careers of usefulness and fame.

"If I had influence, someone to give me a life, I know I could get on!" How often we hear this cry from backboneless people afraid to trust themselves for anything. But they are mistaken. No matter how high they were boosted, like the timid mouse, they would still fear to trust their own strength. You can't get power from the outside; it can only be developed from within. If you don't generate strength yourself no one else can do it for you.

There is only one price for real success–that which we pay ourselves. No other will be accepted. That only is really ours which we actually conquer ourselves, not that which another gives, which our fathers or relatives conquered for us. That which is merely left for us in a will is not ours in the truest sense, and cannot be ours until we are able to conquer it just as our fathers conquered it.

One of our most successful businessmen, who began life as a day laborer, in reply to my question, "How do you explain your rapid promotion?" said: "In the first place, I always stood on my feet–always relied on myself." When you depend on yourself you know it is only on your merit that you will succeed. Then you discover your latent powers, awake to your manhood and are on your mettle to do your utmost.

The world is often amazed at the marvelous achievement of a very ordinary person who has tremendous self-faith. The example of Joan of Arc illustrates the great law, just as the falling of the apple suggested to Newton the law of gravitation. It shows that under ordinary conditions we use only a very small percentage of our possible power; that we do not begin to do the things we could do if we were inspired by great faith, by supreme self-confidence.

When a man really believes in himself, when he feels that he can do what he undertakes, his courage is wonderfully increased, and it is courage that leads the other faculties.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., July 1, 1916.

Overconfidence, I am inclined to think, is even more of an enemy to success than underconfidence. Certainly it not merely creates difficulties of its own, but it may end by imposing on its victims the difficulties peculiar to underconfidence.

A striking instance comes to mind, the instance of an acquaintance of no small ability, yet too lacking in confidence to earn more than a meager livelihood.

When I first knew him he was one of the most confident men I have ever met. The owner of a lucrative business, which he had inherited, he saw it in imagination expanding until it made him fabulously wealthy. And there could be no doubt that it was a business with great possibilities. As always, however, patience and skillful management were requisite to develop these.

The new owner was a young man in a hurry. Despite his inexperience, he believed so much in himself that he was not willing to take advice from experienced subordinates. He branched out in one direction and another and pressed for results. When these were slow in coming he adopted costly methods of stimulating trade. He refused to acknowledge mistakes. he deliberately blinded himself to them. Others might err, not he. Thus he was forever throwing good money after bad, with the inevitable outcome of disaster.

Disillusion brought with it a reaction that swung the pendulum of his confidence to the opposite extreme. His own business ruined, he was obliged to seek employment. Those with whom he found a place discovered ere long that he had become unduly timid, where before he had been rashly bold. It became necessary to let him go.

Underconfidence is still holding him back, an underconfidence directly attributable to the overconfidence that had hurried him from one wrong move to another.

How often overconfidence breeds underconfidence I would not pretend to say. But it must be of frequent occurrence. And, in any event, overconfidence causes trouble in so many ways that the young man beginning business cannot too earnestly be warned against it. It hinders that infinite taking of pains which many have applauded as the chief ingredient in genius. It warps the judgment, transforming remote possibilities into certainties. Born of conceit, it leads to arrogance, for which the world has no use.

To be confident yet appreciative of personal shortcomings, willing to learn from others, unwilling to act without due deliberation, prompt to profit from one's errors--that is the happy mean to which all young men should aspire.

—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 6, 1919.

Like almost everything else, self-confidence is a habit.

It is formed by persistently choosing to let the mind dwell upon our successes, and in turning our thought just as persistently away from our failures.

Suppose out of the ten things you did today eight were failures. When you come, at the end of a day's doings, to take stock give these eight one good look--don't dodge them, see what caused them and how you may do better tomorrow--and then dismiss them from your mind.

Think of the two things wherein you have succeeded, even if they be of small import. Speak of them. Don't mention the others.

Keep bringing your success episodes up into the light and air, and where they can grow and reproduce their kind. And keep the failure incidents as much as possible in the cellar of your memory, in the dark where they will "dwindle, peak and pine." Sterilize your failures. Asphyxiate them.

Of course, this is easier said than done. What hurts is more easily and sharply remembered than what pleases.

A slap in the face is harder to forget than a pat on the back. Bad things, unpleasant things, ugly things and nasty things have a way of sticking to us; and good, pleasant, beautiful and wholesome things, such is our conceit, we are prone to take as matters of course and pay little attention to them.

But here precisely is where the will comes in. Here is the opportunity for self-training. Here is the secret of improvableness.

For moral slumping is always easy and moral bracing hard. "Smooth is the road to hell," runs the proverb. A person with a flabby will is growing worse every day, just as a man that will not pull at the oars is steadily floating downstream. And a man is never more a man than when we summons up his will to combat a tendency.

As a matter of fact, almost every day for every one of us contains more agreeable than disagreeable things, even the grouchiest of souls. Just take a pencil and paper and set down in one column all the events of the day, big and little, that have gratified you, and in another all that have annoyed you, and, if you are honest in your account, you will find the first column has ten items to the other one.

The trouble is that the one offensive occurrence magnifies itself. The one point on your body where you have a boil attracts more of your attention than the entire, remaining surface.

We love to handle over and over the memory of the thing that pained us.

Well, quit!

Turn around!

Back up!

Except ye be converted (which is a Latinish word that means turned around) ye cannot see the kingdom.

Let the inflamed spots in your recollection alone. When the rebuff, or mistake, or loss, or insult, or slight, or other ugly thing soever pops up in your thinking, look away, direct your thoughts elsewhere.

It is hard to do. But all improvement is hard. The only way to climb any height of culture is to keep on doing a difficult thing until it becomes easy.

And the very heart and core secret of culture is to have the disposition to tackle the difficult things.

—Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 15, 1918.

A desire to succeed is a worthy ambition, but it remains am ambition unless it is controlled and directed by the will. The will is the dynamo that sets the work into action. Now is the time to begin; not tomorrow, or even later in the day. ... Many men often say that they lack confidence in their powers, but if they diagnosed their condition they would find that they do not enjoy their work. If you belong to this class there is only one thing for you to do, and that is to get something else to do. Men of ability do not become interested in a line of work unless then intend to make use of it, and then they absorb themselves in it.

The man who enters body and soul into his work is developing self-reliance, for his work for the time being permeates his whole soul. Concentration will show you how to appreciate yourself and your work. ...

You should get as much joy from your feeling of self-reliance as a swimmer gets in struggling against the waves, sometimes letting them rise up and pass over him like a caress and again plunging them and taking them headlong. ...

The man who succeeds certainly fights. He either fights obstacles he meets or he fights his own weaknesses and usually both.

Great ability is not so much a superior intelligence as it is generally thought to be, but a will that shows complete self-control. If you control your will and your best thoughts, you have controlled yourself, and in short almost the whole universe. The man who lacks courage cannot inspire others any more than himself. His feeling of timidity is contagious, while a courageous man inspires dozens of others along with him to do their best. A great deal of talent is lost every year because of this lack of courage. Almost as bad is the man who has courage by fits and starts. He is courageous today, only to lose heart next week.

—Irwin Ellis, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 4, 1912.

Confidence is among the most important qualities of life. With it you achieve your daily and long-term goals. Without it you become critical, cynical, and go down in defeat. The primary, practical principle in CONFIDENCE BUILDING IS: LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN!

Too often we confuse confidence with bullheaded stubbornness. It is NOT confidence when you ignore what people are saying about and to you. It IS confidence when you evaluate what is being said. It is NOT confidence when you are totally unaffected by what they say. It IS confidence when are you unshaken and admit you could use some help, learn something new, or correct a direction. Confidence purifies the mind, while stubbornness pollutes one's thoughts. Confidence inspires, while stubbornness saps your strength. There is a vast difference holding a firm position out of enlightened confidence and bullheadedly hanging on in order to save face. We must confidently be learning, growing, adjusting, changing and LISTENING if we are to live in confidence.

Tragic bullheadedness (which in its final form is really a lack of self-confidence) triggers in people fear, which automatically moves to hate (it usually does). Hate is devious in its methods of destroying confidence. Thus the vicious cycle! When we LISTEN, really listen to each other, there is growth, new understanding, acceptance of others and what they do, achievement with integrity, caring out of genuine concern, motivation that springs from a pure attitude, and victory which leaps from power-producing confidence.

—Benny C. Boling, Eugene First Christian, Eugene, Ore., Sept. 11, 1977.

Without self-confidence the race is lost before it is begun.

You know yourself better than others know you. If you have no confidence in yourself, how can you expect those who know less of you to have any?

Self-confidence cannot rest on bluff. You must know that you have some ability before you can possibly have any confidence in yourself. ...

You can have no confidence in yourself until you know that you are capable of controlling yourself. Therefore be sure that you are the master of all your habits and that they are not the master of you. In other and better words, "He that conquereth himself is greater than he who taketh a city." ...

Self-control is the basis of self-confidence, and without self-confidence we can do nothing surely. And the world is crying out for men who can do one thing surely.

—Ralph T. Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., May 11, 1913.

Let me come to my own defense that there is a vast difference between humble self-confidence and cockiness. The self-confidence of which I speak is that which is developed through training, experience, study, trial and error, so that finally, a man may come to the place where he can say: "I simply know I can do this certain thing."

This self-confidence of which I speak is not the cockiness of childhood; it is the expression rather of matured knowledge. I am not speaking of either the cockiness of the brash adolescence nor the over confidence of childhood. I am speaking of that mature certainty which comes through training and experience.

Life is like the old-fashioned spelling book. We master each page as it comes and we discover that the last page is no harder than the first.

It is self-confidence, born of competence, rather than either luck or cockiness, that will carry us through.

—J. Richard Palmer, Five Smooth Stones, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 5, 1955.

You never worry over problems and obligations which you are confident of being able to meet. ...

Those of you who have a tendency to worry over what tomorrow, next week or the coming month may reveal, need more self-confidence, and herein is the cure for that kind of worry.

As strange as it may seem, self-confidence is largely a matter of the imagination. When you imagine that you are self-confident you have it, and when you imagine that you are not self-confident, you have lost it.

Let us suppose, for instance, that a dozen of your friends were to secretly plan to play a mental trick on you, by applying the power of suggestion.

The first man would drop in on you in the morning and apparently, incidentally tell you that you are a little pale and that you should see a doctor.

An hour later the second man comes to see you and says something similar to this. What do you suppose your feelings would be at night by the time the twelfth man called on you?

Repeated suggestions--here is a real power to reckon with, whether they are helpful or otherwise. They have an unconscious influence over you, whether given to you by others or being ideas of your own, which is autosuggestion.

Many times the so-called inferiority complex is simply the unconscious influence, in the form of harmful suggestions, repeatedly fed to one in childhood, until the subconscious accepted them as true. The result is that the man (or woman) is timid, shrinking and lacking in assurance--a childhood-suggestion-hangover.

Since the cause is rooted in suggestions of the wrong kind, the cure is likewise found in suggestions also–in suggestions of the right kind.

—Julian Pennington, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 13, 1935.

Everyone has had experiences, no doubt, of some sort, revealing the potency of suggestions, but when the same suggestion is repeated many times it becomes a powerful influence.

Suggestion, however subtle, when repeated many times, has an accumulative force that is far reaching. Suggestions when self-administered and repeated until the thought becomes monotonous to the conscious mind then slips into the subconscious and becomes literally a part of the personality.

Suggestions coming from others, when constantly repeated, will, in like manner, in the long run control you, unless you employ the precaution with which to insulate yourself against them.

We have all seen "in-laws," supposed friends and others apply suggestions with repetition for the purpose of breaking up families.

There are vampires who actually give vent to their nature, being the most dangerous users of this law, but they can do no damage where the facts are known.

—Julian Pennington, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 20, 1935.

There are thousands of people who seem to be drifting--not interested in tomorrow--being more pawns of fate, as it were, on the chessboard of life. And yet this state of being cannot come until they allow themselves to get into this state of mind. ...

Go to your library and delve into the lives of the leading men and women of history. Too often you find that just before the dawn of their success, they experienced long, sad hours packed with despair and gloom. Go out on your porch, during the noon hour, and sit there with your eyes closed for 15 minutes, while the rush of the day passes your door. You will experience a peculiar sensation.

[This] author conversed with a man who was born blind. In spite of this terrible handicap, and in spite of his financial hardships, he is a graduate of a southern university, and is making a living by practicing law.

When we meet people who have succeeded in spite of almost insurmountable difficulties, it causes us to sense the fact that too many times we have magnified the things which hold us back.

—Julian Pennington, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 30, 1935.

One of the best ways to insure an even break is a confident start and a good, game finish.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Feb. 10, 1920

You can believe in yourself without using a megaphone.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 22, 1922.

Confidence is based on the knowledge that, in addition to skill, one is trained and ready for the test. It takes nothing for granted.

Conceit takes everything for granted. When confidence becomes overconfident it turns into conceit. A contender can be confident without carrying a swelled head. Confidence is based upon knowledge of the conditions. The man who doesn't train and still expects to keep on leading the procession isn't confident but conceited.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Aug. 9, 1922.

As between overconfidence and lack of confidence, the middle road of taking nothing for granted leads to fewer annihilations.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., June 27, 1924.

There seems to be something of a puzzled turn as to the nature of the thin line which marks off confidence from conceit.

This line is extremely thin. Naturally the confident person must have his share of conceit, and the conceited person is usually confident enough–at least upon the surface.

The ringing war cry of John Lawrence Sullivan–"I can lick any blankety-blank in the world"–is a complete mixture of both.

There is a difference, however. Confidence, as a rule, is based upon the knowledge that one has trained and prepared for the drama at hand.

One is rarely confident if he knows or thinks he isn't ready for the showdown.

Conceit is usually bristling with confidence, but it isn't always justified confidence.

There is bound to be a blend between confidence and conceit, a certain amount of overlapping. Conceit and overconfidence are also two well-known running mates.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 16, 1925.

Human accomplishment reaches its highest degree of proficiency when accompanied by an unwavering belief that ultimate achievement is possible. This belief in man and his ability to do is known as confidence. ...

From the standpoint of the individual there are essentially three kinds of confidence. The first is confidence in myself, to think, to be, and to do that which I consider worthwhile. This is the force which spurs me on to put my native and acquired powers into action. Second, there is the confidence I have in other people, in their integrity, their honesty, their ability, their strength, and their judgment. Confidence in others is based upon observation, reputation, or credentials; is founded upon the principle that people will usually do as they have done; and presupposes that their acts are a reflection of their sense of values. Third, there is the confidence which others have in me, and this it is which greatly molds my way of life depending upon: (1) my opinion of the other person; (2) whether his confidence in me is well founded or misplaced; and (3) whether it is strong or weak. Any of these factors may be either positive or negative, and may work in either direction.

The individual who recognizes the indispensable value of self-confidence may be one who possesses little of it, but who sets about to acquire it quickly when the realization for the need of it comes upon him. The result in such a case is likely to be false confidence which exhibits itself in undue bravado, and extravagant statements of unsubstantiated superiority. It usually arises from a sense of insecurity or inadequacy, and may be accompanied by scanty or faulty knowledge of the situation to be faced. The person who puts on a front of false confidence is like the frightened cat who arches her back and bushes her tail in an effort to appear ferocious. The enemy, the adversary, or the competitor may be intimidated temporarily but there are no results of permanent value within the individual himself.

It is true confidence which carries through to victory and success, and the individual or nation who would reach those goals must find the ways to create and acquire it in abundance. True confidence arises fundamentally from a sense of strength, power, or ability, either within oneself or immediately available. The little child finds confidence in the nearness and the handclasp of mother or father; the athlete finds it in his muscles and vivid memory of repeated practice; the artisan's confidence comes from his proved skill; and the aviator derives confidence from the power he knows lies in his plane and his knowledge of how to control it.

The feeling of strength, so essential to true confidence, is greatly augmented by a sense of being right. The mere conviction that one is right goes a long way, but to have a background of proof for that conviction has an ever more far-reaching effect. This means preparing for the task to be undertaken whether it be cultivating a field, building a house, [or] piloting a ship. ...

When confidence created from such fundamental sources exists in one individual it is likely to be engendered in those about him, especially if they are concerned with the same cause and seeking to accomplish the same or similar ends. Furthermore, it grows unbelievably in the individual himself and in the group with each added success. The winning team wins more easily as long as their confidence continues to spring from its original source.

The person in authority over others has a special duty in the matter of maintaining confidence. If he is to fulfill the full responsibility of his position and be most effective, he must have the confidence of his staff or force and when this breaks down deterioration sets in. ...

The leader needs to remember that confidence is established by demonstrated superiority in planning and thoroughness in execution. He must bear constantly in mind likewise that favorable recognition from superiors, co-workers, friends, and observes in a potent builder of confidence for the man at the bench or in the ranks. Similarly the leader's own confidence is strengthened by the support and approbation of his staff. ...

True confidence which is conceived in humility, [and] born in sincerity ... will be victorious.

—Dean M. Schweikhard, Industrial Arts and Vocational Education, Milwaukee, Wis., May 1942.

Self-confidence is largely a matter of self-acceptance. You have to realize what you stand for and what you really want out of life.

—Art Tucker, Spanish Fork Press, Spanish Fork, Utah, Dec. 2, 1971.

Confidence is the result of trained competence. We win self-confidence when both our successes and our failures are growing points. Paradoxically, you have to get your mind off yourself in order to believe in yourself. It is our devotion to something outside ourselves that relieves us of self-consciousness and enables us to be ourselves.

—Harold Blake Walker, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., December 1954.

There seems to be in all men a tendency for self-satisfaction. We think that what we do is all right, no matter what others think or do. ...

While a certain amount of faith in one's lot in life is wholesome, and is perhaps better than a chronic dissatisfaction with everything we have, and a longing for something we have never tried, it is also true that this feeling can be carried to extremes, and may become a detriment to our growth in all right directions.

Self-satisfaction keeps the mind from reaching out after newer and better things, and closes the very channels through which improvement in our lot would naturally come.

Every man ought to test himself on this point, and to see to what extent he has allowed this feeling to govern his attitude toward things outside of his own limited field of experience. Let him compare his own possessions, business, ideas, policies and achievements with the best of similar things in other fields, and be prepared to admit the truth frankly when the others are better.

—Waldo Pondray Warren, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, July 26, 1907.

The disposition to give up too easily has been the cause of many a man's failure. Some men will get an idea which they regard as a good one and well worth working out They will begin the preliminary investigations about it, and as soon as they find it does not work out easily, or involves conditions they did not think of in the first place, they give up the whole idea. "A good idea," they say, "but too much bother to work it out."

It does not take many actions for a man to form a habit of giving up easily in places where he should not give up at all. The effect of one such needless relinquishment of a good purpose is not unlike the case of the man who says, "I can't." To admit defeat once makes it doubly hard to nerve one's self for a second endeavor. And to admit it a second time puts one still further back, often leaving a man in a worse state of mind than if he had not undertaken the task at all.

It is, of course, not wise for a man to be bullheaded and think that every plan must be carried through regardless of the obstacles that are met with. It is a wise man who knows when to back out of a poor bargain or when to stop work on a plan that is found to cost more than it is worth But this does not excuse the man who merely lacks backbone to carry out his good intentions when unexpected conditions are encountered.

—Waldo Pondray Warren, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Oct. 17, 1907.

The habit of victory depends upon the state of mind.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., May 24, 1935.

Every day is a day of destiny for the man who believes in himself.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 12, 1941.


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