Showing your weaknesses… with confidence

I want to tell you something I know about confidence.

“Masa, you’re not good at seeking help from others,” my good friend once told me. She was spot on; it is indeed the case that I tend to avoid seeking help from others. I believe I did get better at it, but I was rather bad. The whole story is probably much more complicated and something even I don’t know completely, but one of the reasons behind it was simple: I used to think that asking for help was a weak behaviour and I didn’t want to show my weaknesses to others.

Some, like my past self, might think that showing no traits of weaknesses is the way to become confident. That is, in their way of thinking, one can be recognized as a confident person by looking strong and impressive. A confident person doesn’t ask for help!

But is that really the case?

These days I’m inclined to think that showing weaknesses is a confident behaviour, unless it’s overdone. On one hand, a good way to do it is 1) to acknowledge your weaknesses, 2) to be casual about them, and 3) to show them with honesty. On the other hand, a bad way is to do it with the intention of getting attention from others.

There might be various defintions of confidence, but one I have in mind comes from how the Japnese word for confidence (Jishin) is written in Chinese characters. If we translate the two characters used to write this Japanese word, the Japanese word for confidence literally means self trust. Believing in yourself – I like that.

Whether you like it or not, your weaknesses are part of you. Imagine they are like your little babies. I’m sure you can be nice to them and won’t hide them from the world.

I know it can be scary to show up as who you are, which inevitably includes your vulnerable side and your weaknesses that belong to it. But just show up anyway. These elements of you do belong to you; believe in them – in yourself no matter what. I’d say that will lead you to be more confident about who you are.

There are a few more things about confidence, but I’ll save them for another time…


This post was inspired by the following talk given by Brené Brown at TEDxHuston. It’s a great talk and I highly recommend it. I have some other ideas for blog posts inspired by this talk as well. Stay tuned!

Photo: rolands.lakis