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Saturday, December 2, 2017

That Old Devil Confidence

Although this post may be a bit whiny, it would have been far worse if my daughter hadn't called just before I approached my laptop. You can thank her for saving me from myself via a comment, if you decide to continue reading.   

How many of you battle over-confidence and its closest relative, arrogance? No? How about the flip side, i.e. the immobilizing insecurity that sometimes plagues people who struggle with confidence? My search for a sane and sustainable level of confidence is rarely off my already full plate. It's utterly exhausting. Maybe one of you can offer some useful insights to dislodge me from today's monkey mind, prompted by a perusal of the NY Times "Notable Books of 2017". A few disclaimers first.

* I know the list is subjective.

* I also know the NY Times doesn't hire just anyone to compile these lists.

* My frame of mind was above average before reading the list: Good night's sleep, beautiful day, I'm looking forward to my playing gig tonight. Ready?

I read the list. Of the fifty novels noted, I've finished three. How does the confidence gauge look? OK - at least I've read a few. Seconds pass. Of the three, only one ("Ill Will" by Dan Chaon) would have made my notable list. Confidence level dips toward empty, fast. Next question to self: What did you miss in the other two novels, Pat? Phone rings. Daughter rescues blogger from prolonged navel gazing and you from an insufferable post.

OK, bring on the insights. That is, unless you're a walk-on-water-never-struggle-with-the-balance-between-confidence-and-insecurity type. And don't forget to thank my daughter.


  1. I recognize a call for help when I hear one. You seem to be questioning your book selections and having a feel for “what is good”. Surely you jest! Consider that I’ve read eleven of the fifty “notable” fiction titles of 2017 mentioned by The NY Times. But I would recommend only five of these novels/short story collections to you or to other people. What does that tell you?
    Concerning this self-confidence issue, perhaps you’ve been hanging with the wrong crowd. I swear by the MCL Headquarters book discussion group. These people can fix you right up. More goes on there than you’d imagine.
    P.S. Thank you, Alison. Your father appreciates you more than you realize.

  2. I threw my "should do " list out a long time ago and I'm much happier. Imagine what you've gained in knowledge over many with what you have accomplished.

  3. I'm so confused. What does self confidence have to do with your book choices? I've read some horrible books from that list but I just assume it's their problem for read g more into this book than there really is. Same with movies. Movies shown at small close knit theaters. Some f those movies have zero enticement yet the people attending will read someth Ng into it that really doesn't exist. Like wow man! Nope not a thing to do with your self confidence. And Pat, you have never lacked in self confidence.

    1. Sandy; Sorry for your confusion. Unfortunately, I don't share your view that it's "...just their problem for reading more into this book than there really is..." And that's where the confidence piece enters. Anyway, thanks for your belief (however misplaced) that I've "...never lacked self confidence". That's a multi-hour conversation right there.