The Wardrobe

November 14, 2013 Post Comment Uncategorised

Casually watching Twitter posts scroll up
can often be a source of amusement, interest, and occasionally a spur into
experiencing connective ideas.

And thus it was, this morning, as my attention was
caught by one of those time-worn phrases of the self-development lingua franca, namely:-

More Confidence – Improve Your Performance”

Now many phrases such as this are bandied about like
mantras, and, as is general with mantras, there is usually a pivotal word, a
keyword if you like. Rather like a hook on a clothes hanger, the pivotal word
should be strong enough to hold the structural weight of the other words in the
phrase as well as the implied meaning, the message in the phrase.

Of course the motivated recipient of the message
will also be making use of it by draping their needs, wants and emotions over
this linguistic hanger. And they’ll put it – perhaps over laden with all that
“raiment” – into the wardrobe where they keep all their phrases, mantras,
couplets, snazzy quotes, and other verbal investments.

So what is the pivotal word, for you, in that six
word phrase that caught my eye?

Well, I expect if you were to rank them in importance 1-6 then
No.6 would be “Your” – and the top two would most likely be “Confidence” and
“Performance”. Stands to reason, doesn’t it?


Of course when it comes to meaning, there are a
number of other things going on that enable us to apply some make-up to the
phrase, make it a bit more catchy, a bit more showy – some foundation perhaps
or something personal like a little I-liner.

“More” here presupposes that you’ve already got “Confidence” and “Your”
aims the whole “Performance” shebang
specifically in one direction.
“Gain” and “Improve” look like the two-edged power sword of the
phrase, dripping with motivational positivity. Increase this and be better at that,
it seems to say with a swish of the blade!

Yet – is it BE better, or DO better?
This poses a conundrum as to what “Performance” means for you, and for each of

Is performance something we do – in certain circumstances – and then return to normality of the
everyday hurly-burly?
I happen to see “Performance” as being something permanent – a 24/7 activity –
all that that normality is. There are
specific highlighted acts and scenes within our lives – but they are all part
of performance. It is the way we are, the way we are being. Of course, you may
hold a different perspective, rather like I did in previous years.
Neither of us is right or wrong, yet whichever perspective we hold right now
colours the way we view the phrase “Gain
More Confidence – Improve Your Performance”
; and weaves subtle threads of
our personal warped view of the world into the weft of the words we read
or hear.

This brings me to the one word I’ve yet to elaborate
on – “Confidence”.

It is a mental construct, of course – you can’t buy
it off the shelf in a shop, or grow it in a pot. Though its curious, isn’t it,
that I get asked for it a lot, by clients who want some or who want some more!
You can bet that if it was a
tangible commodity, then someone – indeed lots of people – would be selling it
because there are millions of people out there clamouring for it!



Confidence is nothing more than a barometer, a
measure of the level, of our security.
If I am lacking confidence in something, I am unsure – or insecure – about its
suitability for the task. “Will this
barrier hold back the flood waters? Well I’m not 100% confident it can – more
like 60%.”

Similarly if it is someone, or ourselves, then we
are insecure about their, or our own, ability in certain areas, or actions. “I need more confidence,” is merely our
way of saying “I need to be more secure
about my capabilities.

However, “I need more SELF confidence,”
feels somewhat different, doesn’t it?
This feels like I’m talking less about what I feel I am capable of and more
about just me and the way I am. The way I am BEING in the world.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, confidence
is still just all about the Barometer
– the measure of security.

For us all – security
goes deep, right back to when we were babies. In our early childhood we perform in amazing ways – learning from
an innate perspective about our bodies, controlling our movement and balance,
the ability to communicate, and all about the myriad of things in the world
around us. We don’t learn how to learn, it is just in our nature. We are
precocious discoverers, curious of the mysteries and joys in all experience –
utterly confident.

Until, that is, we encounter something or someone
that gives us our first encounter with the barometric readout of our security.
We shy away, there is a reticence in our body language, and we become guarded,
unsure, in our behaviour. If we can already talk we go quiet, we are wary –
looking out for ourselves, for our security. We’ll reach out for comfort – in
whatever form that might be. For Comfort = Security. Once we feel secure and
comfortable we come out from behind the safety of the mask of wariness.

And, as we grow up, our “Comfort Zone” for anything
still means Security. And our level of Security we label as Confidence. So when
we want More Confidence, is it that we want to
widen, deepen and broaden our Comfort Zone? Seems to be so, doesn’t it?

However – beware the Comfort Zone! For here’s the
If we want to Improve our Performance we’ll need to step
outside the Comfort Zone.


Now there’s a thing we need to remind ourselves
about the metaphors in our boudoir – the beds we make for to lie on, the
full-length mirrors we admire ourselves in, the tallboys that hold our bigs and
smalls, maybe an ottoman nobly standing four-square, the dressing tables that
house our adornments and beautifications – and particularly and especially,
the wardrobes for our outer clothing.

Whether they are edifices that fill a corner, or
spaces behind sliding doors – there isn’t a soul on Earth who has not got a
Except perhaps young children – gosh, I wonder why THAT is?!

Until recently my wardrobe had a lot of stuff
hanging in there that I hadn’t worn for years – yet I can still remember all
those earlier times when I’d reach in, get dressed up to the nines and feel
like I was the bee’s knees. Everything we have serves us well, or so we think –
until the moment that it doesn’t!
“Why am I keeping this junk?” I’d
ask, and then come up with that classic answer that all hoarders of clutter
use, “It might come in useful someday.
I’ll keep it for a rainy day just in case.”
The thing is, since I’ve hung
it up the rainy days have come and gone – and it was never used anyway. For
many of us, our wardrobe – like that – is a kind of Comfort Zone.
It contains lots and lots of familiar clothing, with sentimental attachments.

There might be things we’d like to change in our
lives, perhaps improve to help us feel more confident as we stride out into the
world. Yet we want to hang on to the Comfort Zone at the same time. “Yes, I’d love to have that fabulous new
outfit – but I need to hang on to these things that seem to say so much about
who I am as well.”
Yet, consider this when wanting to change – what are
these old things saying about us, and just who are they speaking to?

There was an interesting notion going the rounds,
about the human body replacing itself every 7 years. Well there’s a certain
truth about cell replacement and regeneration, however it is a fanciful notion
that any cyclical or total physical metamorphosis takes place for us. Still,
through the mists of metaphorical curiosity I’m more than happy to grab hold of
the idea that for something new to come in to our lives, then something old
needs to be shed. If the car park of our life is full then nothing can move in
until some cars leave. The same in/out routine applies to our Wardrobes.

So I performed a clear out, confident that what I
have left just relates to my life here in the current moment. No more did I
need the hipsters, the bell-bottoms or the flowery shirts, and I severed all my
kipper ties.

So what linguistic raiment is hanging on the rails
in your wardrobe? Does a snappy Tuxedo of Confidence lurk in there amongst your
favourite suits? Have you got some worn out and ill-fitting mantras, or some
garb in the fashionable colours and material from days of yore?

And if it should be that you have a Curiosity, watch out for MY next Twitter post! It could well read –

More Confidence –
Clearout Your Wardrobe –
Improve Your Performance”