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How do I get confidence? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Question: How do we have confidence in us?

Speaker: We are born confident. Do you know that when you were a small child, you were so confident? Ever seen a kid; six months, one year, two-year old? Look at the level of confidence he has. That kid hardly ever has any doubts. If the kid wants to slap you, he will slap you; immensely full of confidence. There is no guilt, no complex in the kid. You may be wearing the best of the clothes, finest quality of suit, just acquired from the market, if the kid thinks that your suit is better suited to be his diaper, he will use your suit as a diaper. With no remorse, it will use your suit, color it. Yellow and black and whatever and then laugh at your face. (Laughs ) Ha! Ha! It won’t even bother to say sorry to you. Right? Nobody is ever born with fear. None of us were born afraid. Today we are afraid. Is that not so? Fear is not our nature. Fear has been given to us. We have picked it up. From where?

Listeners(everyone): From outside.

Speaker: So, now the kid is growing up. And what does the mother say? (Speaking in Hindi) ‘So jaa, nahi to baba aa jaayega’ (Sleep, otherwise the bad man will come). Do you remember Gabbar Singh? What did he say? (Speaking in Hindi) ‘Yahan se 50 kos tak jab koi baccha sota nahi hai to maa kahti hai. (Asking the students) Kya kahti hai?(Students speak in chorus) ‘So jaa nahi to gabbar aa jaayega.’ (Whenever a child does not sleep, the mother threatens him by reminding Gabbar’s name). Now fear has started coming. Now, confidence is being lost. Fear is given to you by the family, by the society, by the education, by the media, by the friends. Fear is not your nature. Fear is implanted into your mind.

Do not ask for confidence, just ask for freedom from fear. How do I get rid of this fear? You will get rid of this fear the moment you see that you are not afraid but somebody is trying to make you afraid, that this fear is external, alien, foreign. Just as you picked it one day, another day you can drop it back. It is not what you are. It is what you have. And if you have it, you may as well not have it. Give it up!

‘If you do not do well in your class tenth exams, there would be a great problem.’ And the teacher is well-meaning it. ‘If you do not study, you will fail.’ The teacher does not say that if you do not study then you will not enjoy the subject. There is a great difference between these two statements. Statement 1- If you do not study, you will fail. Statement 2- Study so that you may enjoy the subject. In the second statement, there is no fear. In the second statement, there is an invitation to joy. Study and there is joy in it. But what does the teacher say? ‘Study, otherwise you will fail.’ Do you see how fear is given to us by education? Do you see how fear is given to us by the family, by all these movies that you see, by the literature that you read? All these factors keep coming into your mind. And then when we are afraid, we ask for confidence.

Do not ask for confidence; just see what fear really is. Fear is a thought given to you by the society. Fear is a thought of incompleteness given to you by the society. The society is making you feel that there is something missing in you, that you can lose something; and that is fear. Something bad may happen, something bad may happen in the future; that is what is fear. What are the bad things that may happen in future? What are the bad things? What are you afraid of?

Listener 1: Attendance.

Listener 2: Accidents.

Listener 3: Unemployment.

Listener 4: Grades and failures.

Speaker: Now, out of these 5-6 responses that I have received, half were about jobs, job security and employment. Where is that fear coming into your mind from? Were you born thinking of a job? Was that the first thing that you said to the doctor? ‘How early can I get a job please? Take me to an employment agency. Keep the milk away. I am doing something important.’ Who planted this fear of unemployment in your mind? Society and these movies, all that you keep hearing in the home and all the pressure that a particular cousin has landed. ‘A nice job of ‘X’ lacs.’ All these things about CTC and packages that you hear with wide eyes. ‘I am also supposed to do that and if I don’t do that; I am finished.’ That’s how fear is implanted in the mind. Otherwise how is it possible that you have just cleared your class twelfth exam, you are sitting in your first semester which has not even begun properly and so concerned about employment, jobs and what not? Do you understand the process of fear?

Fear is a thought given to you by somebody else. You have that right whether to take that thought or whether to drop that thought. You have that power. Exercise that power. ‘If I do not want to be afraid, nobody can make me afraid.’ You have allowed that person to make you afraid. Do not allow him. Nobody can terrify you without your permission. Do not give them that permission. And then you will never be afraid.

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

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