Confidence is very important for a couple of reasons. First, confidence is a big component of motivation.  Confidence, or the belief in your ability to accomplish a task, can affect motivation in four ways:
  1. High confidence can increase motivation. If you believe you will succeed, you are more willing to give effort because you believe it will be worth it. You believe the reward will come, and the reward justifies the effort.
  2. Low confidence can decrease motivation. If you don’t believe you will succeed, then why even try? It would be pointless and a waste of time because no reward will justify the effort.
  3. High confidence can sometimes decrease motivation. If you are overconfident, you may believe you will succeed no matter what. You may stop trying when you are winning by a large margin. This is called complacency.
  4. Low confidence can sometimes increase motivation. If you don’t think you will win the upcoming tournament, this may motivate you to improve so you’ll have a better chance to win.

The goal is to use confidence in your favor, to maximize your level of motivation. Motivation requires the balance of being confident and being humble. Being confident ("I'm the best") motivates until it leads to complacency. At that point you need to be more humble. Being humble ("I'm not good enough yet") motivates until it discourages you. At that point you need confidence.

Confidence also is important for peak performance. Being confident during a game helps you trust your muscle memory and play "loose". If you are not confident and fear making an error, you may not trust your muscle memory, play "tight", and therefore not execute well.

So whether you are having trouble finding the motivation to work hard, or are playing too tight/nervous in games, increasing your confidence may be your solution. But some people think that you can’t control your confidence. Some people even think you are either born confident or unconfident. This is not entirely true. Confidence can be actively cultivated just like motivation. You can can draw confidence from your preparation, your past success, the success of people similar to yourself, or from your special skills/talents.

Lastly, don’t believe that confidence must only come from winning. If that were the case, how could you have the confidence to win your first game if you never won a game before? It’d be impossible.

In later posts, I will write about ways to improve confidence for motivation and performance.