confidence is just a feeling

Why Confidence is Just A Feeling

Folks on twitter have messaged me with their own arguments about confidence. Even some mental coaches totally disagree with this statement.

I have had a few head coaches as well, one’s that I really respect, disagree with this statement and then I have to defend it on my blog. 

But, I’ll defend it…I’m stubborn. I’m am coachable however, so hopefully that counterbalances the stubbornness. 

Confidence is often cited as the most important part of mental toughness, because it’s the most difficult and it  affects all other skills.

Confidence is  just a feeling.

It’s the second tier on the Hierarchy of Mental Toughness because we do and attempt things that we’ll be successful at and believe that we can do. Belief & trust are also the same concept as confidence and can be used interchangeably. 

So, why is it just a feeling? 

Research has shown that there are four sources of confidence. Physiological states are one source.

How we feel!

  • When athletes or musicians perform at their best, I ask them; what were you thinking about? Their answer………” nothing.”  They were in the moment, in flow.

  • Have you ever finished a workout or a run, looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, “Hey, I look good.” Honestly, you look absolutely no different from when you began, except you now feel different. (i.e., Confidence is just a feeling!)
  • Elite performers all stress that when they are playing their best, the event actually slows down. They feel in complete control.
  • The first thing that goes when an athlete starts performing poorly is the lack of FEEL. Their play or technique may look fine, but if they don’t feel confident, they will search to get that feeling back. 
  • Our prayers are not automatically answered, but we feel better after doing so, or even meditating. We feel at peace. 

Body language doesn’t talk, it screams.

Mental coaches, myself included, teach ways to become confident by changing our physiology, our body language, and how we feel.

If trust wasn’t a feeling, then why stress focused breathing, becoming centered, or good body language?

Another example why confidence is just a feeling is because what happens when we lose it?

When we lose confidence, that our feeling now turns into thoughts.

We just begin to think too much. We no longer trust our instincts, our gut. Instead, we get stuck inside of our own head and try to think our way into right acting.

The real key is still finding a way to win when we are NOT confident! 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.