Self-Confidence?  Ego?

A colleague and I led a discussion last night on reconciling the concept of self-confidence with the Buddhist notion of anatta, or “no-self.”  Most of us, it’s safe to say, value self-confidence on some level, and those of us who’ve been lucky enough to come across some of the ideas embedded in Buddhism tend to understand the basic premise that all people are interconnected; when I hurt someone else I also hurt myself.

A couple of months ago I was in the middle of my lesson when the exterminator and one of our building’s maintenance staff knocked on the door.  They come through quarterly, and I was mostly expecting the intrusion.  The exterminator was beaming happy and chatty about finding a fellow musician – he’s a drummer – and he asked me for a demo.  Well, I haven’t played for anybody but Michael and my teacher, and I steadfastly refused.  When pressed again I stood my ground.  But Teacher played along and gave a little demo.  When they left she told me she gets asked that all the time.

I don’t really think I have a big self-confidence problem.  I think in this case I had an ego problem.  What would have been wrong with, “I’m a beginner – here’s how my Twinkle Twinkle is sounding today!”  I bet they would have clapped, and I know I would have become closer to a couple of fellow humans out there.

Thanks for reading.



  1. […] always in the middle of my lesson) and they again asked me to play a little ditty for them.  Unlike last time, this time I did […]

  2. […] her regular duties is to accompany the exterminator on his rounds, and I’ve written about their quarterly interruptions of my lesson.  They have contributed to my growing capacity to “play a little bit” for people, should […]

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