You do not need confidence || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Questioner: Sir, sometimes I lose my confidence. How can I boost up my confidence?

Speaker: Dilpreet, how many students are sitting here?

Listener: Around 100 students.

Speaker: Dilpreet is asking, ‘how can I boost up my confidence?’ Now you see, there are 100 students sitting over here. Who is the first one to jump and catch the opportunity? As soon as I asked to put up your question, who was the first one to ask? Who appears to be the most confident of you all?

Listeners (everyone): Sir, Dilpreet.

Speaker: What is Dilpreet asking?

Listener: How to boost confidence?

Speaker: Now that is really strange.

Listener (the one whose name is Dilpreet): Sir, please go on.

Speaker: Yes I will go on. But the point is- do I need to go on? You are already so confident. You do not need my answer, or my support, or any clarity coming from me. You already have it within you. Do you see this? We already have it within us; so many times, on so many occasions. I dare say that on most of the occasions. We already have it within us. But Dilpreet still asked this question. I will say that fact 1 is- Dilpreet already has it within himself, and fact 2 is- Dilpreet is still asking as if he does not have it within himself. Stay with this. Understand this. I already have it, and yet I am looking around for it asking the help of strangers, what does that mean?

I think my voice is not clearly reaching people at the back. Probably, the mike is missing. Where is the mike? There is the C.R. (addressing the class representative). CR, where is the mike? Where is the mike? Let me look around for it in the entire room. Where is the mike? It must be somewhere. Two of you, look out for the mike somewhere there. Can you help me in finding the mike? Where is the mike? Where is the mike? (Addressing the listener named Dilpreet) Dilpreet, where is the mike? I do not see the mike anywhere. I am looking around, and around, and around. I am looking 360 degrees but I am not able to find it. Where is the mike? I am constantly looking outside; I am still not finding the mike. Where is the mike? Such a fool I am. Why am I such a fool? Why Dilpreet? Why?

Listener: Sir, because we have it and still we are looking around for it.

Speaker: Because I have it, yet I am searching for it. That is too bad, to have it and yet to be looking around for it. But then, do I tend to deceive you or does Dilpreet intend to waste our time by raising this question? Do I intend to deceive you? I really do not know that I have the mike. Dilpreet really does not know that he is already confident. I have forgotten. What have I done? I have forgotten. What have I forgotten? What have I forgotten? That I already have the mike. What have you forgotten? That you already have confidence. So let us go into this question of forgetting. Let us not go into the question of finding, because you already have it. The question of forgetting is more important. Let us try to see that why do we forget. A small child does not see that he lacks confidence. Have you seen a six months old child or even a two year old? They are extremely confident. How many of you really dare to cry aloud in a packed cinema hall and that too not once but multiple times, continuously? How many of you dare to do that in a 3 hour movie I will keep crying and shouting?


I thought that there would be at least 2 or 3 of you of that nature. They are always there. I like them more. Anyway, what about a six month old? Does he even think twice? If he has to cry, he will cry. If he has to slap you, he will slap you. You may be the president of the world. You may be mummy or papa or anybody. If he wants to pee on your formal shirt, he will do that. You will not teach him etiquette, morality or ethics. We are all born confident. Aren’t we? How many of you will be very hesitant, introvert, right since childhood? How many of you dared not raise your voice even when you were very small? How many of you did not cry when you were born? How many of you had to take a personality development lesson or a spoken English lesson to cry? We were alright, but then something happened that made us forget that we are alright. We were alright but then something happened which made us forget that we are alright, which made us feel that we lack something, which made us feel that we are short of confidence. What happened to all of us? We are saying that a child is born alright and then something happens to him which makes him feel inadequate, which makes him feel unworthy, which makes him feel inferior or superior, which makes him feel that he needs to become something else. What is it that happens?

Listeners (everyone): Society

Speaker: What happens to the child, which makes him forget his essential nature?

Listener: People become judgmental. They tell us what is wrong and what is right.

Speaker: Right. They want you to confirm to certain codes. They want you to live, behave, and be in a certain way. Right? And if you do not live and behave in a certain way, then what are you told? That you are wrong, you are bad. ‘You need some training in civilization’. ‘We will bring the human being out of you’. ‘You are an animal’. There are so many self-appointed humanizers who believe that their task is to make human beings out of the animals that are born. Would somebody like to give me some specific instance, probably from their own life or from the life of somebody around, as to how a child looses or forgets his innate confidence?

Listener: Sir, suppose a child cries in front of others in a party. His mother stops him from crying because he embarrasses her. So, next time he will not cry or stop himself from crying in front of others.

Speaker: Have you all seen this happening? This systematic program of making the child think that he lacks something continues for very long time. That is why I say, systematic. It is in-built in all kinds of system. In the system of family, in the system of education, in the society, the way media comes to you, the way you approach your examinations. You are good only if you secure a certain percentage. You are not worthy if you could not go to an IIT or an NIT. You are worthy only if you look a certain way. You must have a certain height. You must have a certain complexion. You must be muscular and if you are not that way there is something wrong with you. How many of you faced this situation at some point or the other?

(Most of the listeners raised their hands).

Most of us. Dilpreet, probably, you too have faced such a situation at some point of time. Not only do we become victims of such situations, we also perpetuate such situations. We internalize the views of the society. If I am dark-colored, not only do I think that there is something missing in me, but I also think that there is something missing in every person who is dark-colored. So, I may be a dark-colored mother who has suffered all her life, thinking about her complexion, but I will still not wake-up. When my daughter is born, I will tell her that you too are unfortunate because you are dark-colored. So, we are not only victims, we are also predators. We are perpetrators of all this foolishness. In all this lies the word ‘becoming’ at the center. You must become something else, in order to feel good. How many of you want to become something? Something that you are not right now. Right now you stand at a particular point. How many of you want to go away from this particular point and ‘become’ something? Now friends, you do not understand that this quest to become something is at the root of all feeling of unworthiness. If I want to become something, then obviously, my mind is saying that I will be good when I become ‘that’. I will be worthy, I will be beautiful, I will be respectable, when I become ‘that’. Naturally, that means that right now I am not worthy, not respectable, not good enough. And if you keep feeling that you are not good enough, can you be confident Dilpreet? Please understand this. Anybody who wants to become something would always be suffering from an inferiority complex. Because only the one who feels inferior wants to become something else. Because only the one who feels inadequate, incomplete wants to become something else. But the mind is a trickster. It says, ‘when you become that, then you will be confident’. Try to become ‘that’ so that you can be confident. Try to get a particular hair-cut so that you can feel confident. Now, you do not see that you lack confidence that is why you want that particular hair-cut. Anything coming from lack of confidence cannot give you confidence. Why do I want a particular hair-cut, a particular hair-style? So that I can feel confident in front of my friends. Where is that desire to get that particular hair-style coming from? Lack of confidence. How can something arising from lack of confidence, give you confidence? It is just not possible. But we all have been brought up thinking that way. In fact, even the quest for confidence, that I must be confident is something that has been implanted in your mind by the society. We started-off by saying that the child is very confident. It is not very accurate. The fact is, the child does not even think that he is very confident. We may think that he is very confident, but the child is just being himself; just natural. If you ask the child, ‘are you confident?’ The child will say, ‘what is confidence?’ ‘Go away, who bothers about confidence’. The child is not even confident, he does not need confidence. You too do not need confidence. I assure you that I am not confident at all when I am speaking to you. Honestly, I am not at all confident when I am speaking to you. That does not mean that I lack confidence. That just means that the word ‘confidence’ is not applicable at all at this instance. I am not even thinking of confidence. How many of you are listening to me confidently? When you are listening to me, are you listening confidently or you are just listening, attentively?

Listeners (everyone): Just listening.

Speaker: Just listening. Right? Do you need confidence? Do you need confidence to listen? If you do not need confidence to listen to me, why do I need confidence to speak to you? But it has been implanted in your mind that confidence is something essential and you must have confidence otherwise, there is something wrong. You are not man enough. You are not brave enough. I do not have any confidence right now, really. I am just speaking, in a flow, in attention, being with you, looking at you, trying to be together with you. Who has the time to think of confidence? And if I start thinking of confidence, I cannot speak. I am sure Dilpreet was not thinking of confidence when he spoke. Dilpreet, were you thinking of confidence? Now, it is quite funny. He asked a question about confidence but he was not thinking of confidence. Had he been thinking that let me gather a little bit of courage, let me be more confident, then I will ask the question, then he would have just been thinking. You do not need confidence. You need to just get up and speak. Who needs confidence? You are good as you are. You lack nothing. It is just that you forget that you lack nothing. Will you remember this? You lack nothing but you have forgotten. You have been made to forget.

HIDP is not about giving you something external. We just help create a climate in which you can remember that you already have it. Your essential nature may have been covered by the layers of dust of opinions of others, conditioning, misconceptions. All this dust might be there, but what is essential, what is important is already there with you. We cannot supply it to you, and you cannot supply it to me. All you can do is remember that you already have it and then, clean away the dust. Because this dust has been on me for a long period of time, some of the dust may have firmly stuck with me, it requires some external effort to totally clean away the dust. If something remains soiled and dirty for a very long period of time, then it requires some effort to clean it. Cleaning is one thing, and getting it from somewhere else is totally another thing. We will make all the effort to cleanse the mind, to rid it from all the dust that it has gathered from a long period of time; from family, society, media, education, corporations, friends, religion, from so many places. We will try to clear that dirt away but that does not mean that we will borrow our mind from somewhere.

Remain firm with the conviction that you already have it, and when you know that you already have it, then blowing away this dirt becomes very easy. Then you know that this dirt is of no value. Others can supply this dirt to me; sometimes forcefully, sometimes in ignorance, sometimes deceptively. We will not search for confidence. When you come to deliver your presentations, when you come to perform your role-plays, you will just be spontaneous. You will not try to ‘act’ confident. Will you remember this? Not only in the classroom, outside as well. HIDP is not something that happens only in the classroom, it is about your entire life, the entire canvass of your life. We will not try to put on a mask of confidence. We will not believe that this is how a confident person behaves and I must also behave in that way. ‘Oh! he speaks so aggressively and fluently, let me also speak in this manner’- this is often what we call as confidence. Let us not fall in those traps. ‘If I speak softly, I will speak softly. There is nothing wrong with this’.

How many of you speak softly?

(Some listeners shyly raise their hands).

Up! Raise your hands. Up! There is nothing wrong with speaking softly. Do not try to emulate someone who is very loud and speaks in a proclaimed manner. There is no need.

How many of you do not like to mingle much with others?

(Some listeners raise their hands).

Up! There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong at all. Even I do not like to mingle with others.

How many of you are not really extroverts?

(Some listeners raise their hands).

How many of you do not feel at home in social gatherings and parties?

(Some listeners raised their hands).

It is alright. You are good. Let nobody tell you that you must be like somebody else.

How many of you think that appearance wise you look quite ordinary, average?

(Again, some of the listeners raise their hands).

You are beautiful. You are wonderful. There is nothing wrong with you.

In your campus, there are different type of flowers, grass, and trees. They all look different. Right? Who has the right to tell them that one is more beautiful than the other? HIDP is not there to convert a Daisy flower into a Rose flower, or to convert that little blade of great into a big, imposing tree. The grass is beautiful in its own way; the tree is beautiful in its own way. There can be no common benchmark or standard.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: You do not need confidence || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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