I’ve had some recent encounters with some difficult folks that have caused me some introspection and examination as to what ‘Ego’ and ‘Confidence’ really are in the human psyche. Freud’s famous interpretation being”...The ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world ...The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions” The ’ego’ being somewhat the moderator between the imaginary dreamscape of the ‘id’ and the over-compensating and zealousness of the ‘super-ego.’ ‘Confidence’ then in this evaluation would have to mean the ‘balance’ that is struck in this finite system of the mind.
There is something of an unwarranted association between these two attributes often confused with one another. This is important to understand, I feel, for one involves the insane assumption of being greater than all others with no substantiation of talent and ability; absent of personal accountability, and the other is genuine belief in one’s own personal greatness as it stands, with no need to belittle others to provide evidence of talent, and no need to compete or compare.
‘Ego’ assumes that it ‘is’, while ‘Confidence’ just is.
In a bizarre set of circumstances, I came across one of the most powerful music promoters in Hollywood. Seeing an opportunity to turn a recovered cell phone of mine into a chance at cementing a business partnership, I decided to try to attempt a dialog minus the punitive ass-kissing that is so prevalent in the Entertainment Industry. When the opportunity was there, I was summarily told that “nope, can’t call me or talk to me anymore. Goodbye” before I could even render a ‘thank you’ for the return of my phone in the first place. And though I had contacted this individual in the past, and they had given their contact information to me to further discuss such possibility, they decided to slam the door inexplicably and without reason.‘Ego’ assumes that it ‘is’,
while ‘Confidence’ just is.
Looking back, I began to evaluate, without personal bias, as to what led to this person’s sharp turn in behavior when dealing with me. A couple of items then stood out. For one, this individual has in their hire, a private nanny who is a musician: a very weak and obsequious young man whom obviously believes that by being a personal assistant to this promoter would allow himself some form of enhanced leverage at furthering his own aspirations. Quite the opposite has occurred: He is treated as a leper by not only the promoter, but by their staff as well. The disdain at which the promoter’s staff spoke of the musician/nanny tells volumes as to the lack of respect unknown artists receive from powerful promoters and their ‘people’. They are treated as discards: useless trash.
The second item that jumped out at me was the staff themselves, who spoke very cautiously to me in regards to the business, and of the promoter. The atmosphere was tight and suffocating to say the least, one individual even went as far as saying that the Promoter was ‘incredibly difficult and unkind’, and used an expletive that I don’t wish to repeat ….
They were scared shitless of them.
The awkwardness they felt in dealing with an ‘unknown’ like me, who seemed very disaffected by this information, was obvious: I had the audacity to come to this gathering and use it as a vehicle to promote myself as an Artist and label. Shit, why not? And I didn’t ask for preferential treatment, and I didn’t bullshit anyone at anytime. In the end, they were dismissive of me, they HAD to be, being the promoter’s little minions that they were..
Because I am confident in doing the one thing above all else, and above everyone else…
Promoters are a tough lot. They have to be. Many of whom in this town hold private functions for celebrity-only clientele, and must be stiff and unrelenting to outsiders. Their very livelihood depends on it. Another powerful promoter whom I know well (I will call him “Matthew”) runs a very tight ship. He is hardcore sometimes, and a bit curt with his approach when he is running clubs and private events. Outside of this, Matthew is one of the nicest folks I know, and is very appreciative of those around him who help his cause, even complimentary for their participation. But when he’s ‘on’, he is fiercely protective of his clientele, hence why he is so successful.
In the final analysis, I came to understand one thing from this weird situation: ‘Ego’ hates ‘Confidence.’
Given their history, the promoter themselves has had one of stellar cruelty, benevolence, hypocrisy and blatant disregard for those not in the celebrity stratosphere. This individual has forged a professional life of conceited disparity reflected not only in my story given above, but in their personal life. The promoter is alone; without a partner and not in possession of the one thing separates the Confident from the Egocentric:
The genuine belief in one’s own personal greatness as it stands, with no need to belittle others to provide evidence of talent, and no need to compete or compare.
I have come to understand one thing from this weird situation:
‘Ego’ hates ‘Confidence.’
What I learned from this as well, is to keep going. Many people in this town fear this particular promoter because of their clout in the industry and the depth of their connections. I do not possess this fear, however. Leverage can also run both ways. In my case I am already self-contained by virtue of my ability to compose and perform music as a band, run my own label, writing informative articles such as this one, and spreading the word through my own channels. The industry is fragmented enough that it has spawned a new apparatus of access that is unprecedented for musicians, and it will be this group that continues to establish the Industry in a new context. The reinvention is already in progress.
Confidence has friends; those who admire them.
It takes confidence to proceed in it in a substantial way, even after being out rightly disrespected by a Hollywood powerhouse. One has to proceed. And not look back.
And sometimes moving forward means to toss back what has been thrown at you, but remaining above the fray at the same time, as I told the promoter in this portion of my e-mail to them:
“Do I want airplay? Sure as hell do.. No lie. Because I am confident in my abilities and talent, I'll accept your 'no thank you' free of any hostility. As you don't need me, I don't need you as well. But is it really about 'need', anyway?”
When confidence is in play, ‘need’ no longer inhabits the self, for it is driven by ‘want’, and want dictates what is perceived to be deserved, not just desired. With ‘ego’ you can cast all who disagree with you aside, and still succeed. With ‘confidence’, the only things that are disregarded are the opinions of those who don’t really know you, and what is absorbed is the ability to self-acknowledge when the information received is valid in advancing your cause, and when your cause is advanced, your success is sustained.
And unlike ego, the success can be enjoyed and shared among others as well as yourself. ‘Ego’ cannot do this, for ego says “I am the best, better than everyone”, Confidence states “I am the best I can be, but I can always do better, for I can allow myself to be human; error, and learn from my mistakes”, while ‘Ego’ makes the same mistakes repeatedly as it believes it makes none.
Ego has 'acquaintances'; people who fear them. Confidence has friends; those who admire them.
Ego is limited by its unwillingness to accept realities about there limitations, while genuine confidence can turn a personal liability into an asset by virtue of its willingness to acknowledge and identify it.
Which one are you?
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