Why the best confidence is built

workAt Unstuck, we were recently inspired by this story about Girls Build, a summer camp in Oregon that teaches young girls to complete elaborate construction projects using (big, intense) power tools like drills and chopsaws:

Girls wear hard hats and tool belts wrapped twice around their tiny waists. They’re divided up into stations, working on everything from pouring concrete planters to shingling the roof of a sandbox. With every project they’re learning they have the power to turn a pile of raw material into an actual structure.

Like most summer camps, the goal is to help children develop their skills, be it social or physical. But the idea of learning to build something sturdy and awe-inspiring struck us as a poignant metaphor for something else — namely what it means to become confident.


We often think of confidence as a naturally-occurring phenomenon (perhaps in terms of those annoying people who can effortless swagger into a room or deliver a speech in front a room without seeming nervous). But there’s a danger to that kind of self-confidence, which is also attributed to traits like arrogance, stubbornness, or a failure to listen to and learn from others.


The best kind of confidence is more like being able to build a sandbox out of raw materials; it requires experience and patience and, yes, some occasional maintenance once the job is done. And for all the emphasis on innate self-esteem, those who know better truly understand that confidence is the product of positive thinking and trial and error: Consider this piece of advice from Oprah: Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness. 

In other words, consider confidence to be a project that’s in progress. Here are some tools to help you build:




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