Intrinsic Confidence and Motivation

I remember once listening to a podcast of a “confidence coach.” Yes, a person that tells you how to be confident.

I actually have gotten into the habit of listening to podcasts and audiobooks, especially during my long, sometimes 2+ hour walks. I have found that I absolutely cannot listen to fiction or literature, but I do enjoy listening to biographies or self-help type books. I find these a lot easier to follow than a storyline – I really need to read fiction to enjoy it!

So basically, during one of my long walks, I stumbled across this podcast on confidence and decided to listen.

The main idea behind the coach’s view of confidence was that true confidence must be intrinsic and unattached to anything external. This might actually go against many of our conceptions of confidence, especially in a materialistic or superficial world where our confidence may come from material success, beauty, being popular among colleagues, professional success, or a number of other things.

Yet, according to this coach, true confidence comes from an intrinsic sense of worthiness. This isn’t based on success, wealth, or other things in life that are external or potentially temporary, but rather on a sense of confidence in who you are, intrinsically, as a person.

I likened this in my head to the peaceful protests and subsequent imprisonments of Mahatma Gandhi – this wonderfully enlightened man had gone through many difficult situations yet remained utterly composed and tranquil. Gandhi could have lost (and did lose) everything – his house, his wealth, his titles – yet none of this meant anything to him because his sense of self was not tied to these things but rather to his ideals.

And I truly have found this concept to work for me and be useful. When I am having difficult moments, especially during my endeavor as a translator, I return to my inner core of confidence. Reminding myself of my intrinsic motivations and values helps me to overcome low points and continue to maintain my confidence. As a sole translator, it is admittedly difficult to manage workflow, for example, especially in busy or unpredictable times. This in fact probably remains as one of my weakness points.

Yet my confidence in translating, and in general, comes from the values that I identify with intrinsically. As a person, I consider myself to be playful, creative, a blind optimist, a humanitarian, and loyal to a fault, in addition to my strong sense of justice and desire to lift up the people around me. These values define who I am and my outlook on life, and they give me a sense of confidence, pride, and worth that can never be taken away from me, even if I fail at something.

As a translator, no matter how busy I am, I dedicate myself fully to the document at hand that I am working on. It is important to me to deliver high quality work and to be proud of my work, so that my clients can in turn be satisfied and proud of their work in translated form. I also aim to improve daily, weekly, and monthly and continually address different aspects of running a “business,” even if it is a solo endeavor. This includes finding better ways to assist my clients or make them happier. This also includes finding ways to work more efficiently and offer better turn-around times (my main goal at the present).

But ultimately, I don’t have the desire to expand into a large translation business or achieve a huge degree of wealth or material success – just enough to comfortably satisfy my needs. What is important to me is to fulfill my intrinsic motivations – to make people happy doing something I enjoy, to provide the best quality and service possible, and to offer my services, talents, and abilities to the world. I also genuinely derive satisfaction from helping my clients publish their results and making them known to a larger audience. Certainly, I am just doing the translating (and not the hard work of research), but the idea that I can assist them with this process is very rewarding. To me, these aspects of enjoying the process are genuinely independent of economic reward (not to deny that being able to satisfy your monetary needs is also important).

I believe that sometimes it is important to remind ourselves of the intrinsic rewards that keep us motivated – our ideals behind the work that we do and that are worthy unto themselves.

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