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Confidence check a good idea

Confidence check a good idea

Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 6:20 pm

The Messenger 02.01.12

Confidence is a lot like chocolate milk. A little bit is wonderful, but too much can make you sick. I remember that time in fourth grade when several friends gave me their chocolate milk. I thought their generosity was a great blessing. It was a banner day. But after math class, things turned sour. For me and for the janitor. Confidence is a lot like that. A little bit makes for a sweet life. But too much confidence can bring utter ruin.
I’m writing this column from the Dallas Airport. I’ve learned a lot of things about life from watching people at the airport. For example, this 20-something guy sitting next to me is trying to impress the girl in the pink shoes who is sitting across from us. But it’s not working. He’s going down in flames.
Is he good looking? Yes. But the girl has an expression on her face that looks gravely familiar. Yeah, it’s almost identical to the expression on my face when I told Mrs. Smith I was feeling a little queasy after math class.
Why does the girl look so sad and unimpressed? It’s simple. The guy next to me is a little too confident. He’s selling himself like a used hot tub on eBay. He just told her he plays guitar in this band and they’re on their way to Houston to play at a big club there. He believes the place will be packed out all weekend. They cut an album this year and it’s available on I-tunes. Oh, and he’s also been on TV before.
But the girl in the pink shoes is just staring at him. She’s not saying a word. In fact, she’s eating her Subway sandwich in a way that makes us all believe that she doesn’t even care if she gets mayonnaise on her face. And I think all of us at Gate 18 suspect that his TV debut had nothing to do with his band. I have a feeling he appeared on a local news broadcast because he witnessed a chubby guy steal a DVD player from Target.
I know for certain I could help the poor guy but I fear he wouldn’t take counsel from a middle-aged stranger. Plus, he hasn’t stopped talking long enough for me to tell him that the plane is on fire and he should have bailed out 10 minutes ago.
 This young man needs to learn an age-old concept which would change his life. He needs to learn the art of the question. He’s so busy selling himself that he hasn’t really communicated with the girl in the pink shoes. He hasn’t asked whether she’s traveling for business or fun. He hasn’t asked what she studied in college or whether she’s from the south originally. He’s been busy telling her about himself. His self-confidence isn’t just brimming. It’s overflowing onto the floor and making a big mess. And no one at Gate 18 has a big enough mop.
Spending some quality time with this young man has taught me that we all need to do a confidence check now and then to make sure our perspective hasn’t soured. Here’s a question to ponder truthfully. Do you think you’re better than most people? If you do, well, it’s a sure sign you’re not.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger.  For more information, visit her website,

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