It is possible to be confident and still practice humility. Be confident in the success of the teachable, sure in the power & grace of That which supports you.
In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives - the messages that say it's wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve. We continue to do the majority of the housework and child care. We compromise our career goals to make room for partners and children who may not even exist yet. Compared to our male colleagues, fewer of us aspire to senior positions. This is not a list of things other women have done. I have made every mistake on this list. At times, I still do.My argument is that getting rid of these internal barriers is critical to gaining power. Others have argued that women can get to the top only when the institutional barriers are gone. This is the ultimate chicken-and-egg situation. The chicken: Women will tear down the external barriers once we achieve leadership roles. We will march into our bosses' offices and demand what we need, including pregnancy parking. Or better yet, we'll become bosses and make sure all women have what they need. The egg: We need to eliminate the external barriers to get women into those roles in the first place. Both sides are right. So rather than engage in philosophical arguments over which comes first, let's agree to wage battles on both fronts. They are equally important. I am encouraging women to address the chicken, but I fully support those who are focusing on the egg.Internal obstacles are rarely discussed and often underplayed. Throughout my life, I was told over and over about inequalities in the workplace and how hard it would be to have a career and a family. I rarely heard anything, however, about the ways I might hold myself back. These internal obstacles deserve a lot more attention, in part because they are under our own control. We can dismantle the hurdles in ourselves today. We can start this very moment.
I grew up thinking anything was possible simply because of seeing women in power - like, you know, running the country. Which is a thought that continues to give Americans indigestion... Direction is about having a vision, but the practice of being a director is a con game - a confidence game.
I still get plenty anxious. The weird thing, and the unpleasant surprise for me, of proceeding well into the middle, perhaps even post-prime of my career is that writing books has not got any easier. And that doesn't seem fair. I mean, I've been doing it so surely I should be getting better at it, at least a little bit blasé... And it seems to be working absolutely the opposite. This book [Big Brother] I had no confidence in the entirety of its composition, and I only decided I liked it when I finished the very final draft. This means I'm in a state of semi-misery for a long time. And I can't blithely seem either that's some little game I'm playing with myself because, you know, you can easily come along and you don't like what's you're writing for good reason. Right? So, yeah, it's very anxious making, I don't think it's so much the becoming a little more successful, I think it's becoming slightly more aware of how much has already been written, and just becoming less self-impressed as the years go by. More impressed with some people who are better than I am, but... It doesn't wow me that I can write a sentence any more. It has to be a really good sentence. And... I think that's what potentially leads to paralysis in late career, is a kind of killing humility.Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, on June 11, 2013
Sure, we'd faced some things as children that a lot of kids don't. Sure, Justin had qualified for his Junior de Sade Badge in his teaching methods for dealing with pain. We still hadn't learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you're just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There's the little empty pain of leaving something behind - gradutaing, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There's the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expecations. There's the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn't give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life they grow and learn. There's the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens. And if you're very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last - and yet will remain with you for life.Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don't feel it.Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it's a big part, and sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you're alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.
Is it possible that our world still knows better how to deal with a bandit, a murderer, and insurrectionist than it knows what to do with the Prince of Peace? There is a sense in which an assassin's attempt on the pope's life is less shocking to our world than the pope's forgiveness of him. Is it possible that we would rather deal with raw power that rides on a stallion than with this one who comes on a donkey, with the weapons of love, patience, suffering, and peace? Given the choice, isn't it possible that we would take Barabbas, too?
Princess Cookie’s cognitive pathways may have required a more comprehensive analysis. He knew that it was possible to employ certain progressive methods of neural interface, but he felt somewhat apprehensive about implementing them, for fear of the risks involved and of the limited returns such tactics might yield. For instance, it would be a particularly wasteful endeavor if, for the sake of exhausting every last option available, he were even to go so far as resorting to invasive Ontological Neurospelunkery, for this unorthodox process would only prove to be the cerebral equivalent of tracking a creature one was not even sure existed: surely one could happen upon some new species deep in the caverns somewhere and assume it to be the goal of one’s trek, but then there was a certain idiocy to this notion, as one would never be sure this newfound entity should prove to be what one wished it to be; taken further, this very need to find something, to begin with, would only lead one to clamber more deeply inward along rigorous paths and over unsteady terrain, the entirety of which could only be traversed with the arrogant resolve of someone who has already determined, with a misplaced sense of pride in his own assumptions, that he was undoubtedly making headway in a direction worthwhile. And assuming still that this process was the only viable option available, and further assuming that Morell could manage to find a way to track down the beast lingering ostensibly inside of Princess Cookie, what was he then to do with it? Exorcise the thing? Reason with it? Negotiate maybe? How? Could one hope to impose terms and conditions upon the behavior of something tracked and captured in the wilds of the intellect? The thought was a bizarre one and the prospect of achieving success with it unlikely. Perhaps, it would be enough to track the beast, but also to let it live according to its own inclinations inside of her. This would seem a more agreeable proposition. Unfortunately, however, the possibility still remained that there was no beast at all, but that the aberration plaguing her consciousness was merely a side effect of some divine, yet misunderstood purpose with which she had been imbued by the Almighty Lord Himself. She could very well have been functioning on a spiritual plane far beyond Morell’s ability to grasp, which, of course, seared any scrutiny leveled against her with the indelible brand of blasphemy. To say the least, the fear of Godly reprisal which this brand was sure to summon up only served to make the prospect of engaging in such measures as invasive Ontological Neurospelunkery seem both risky and wasteful. And thus, it was a nonstarter.
One reason why the Enemy found this so easy was that, without knowing it, I was already desperately anxious to get rid of my religion; and that for a reason worth recording. By a sheer mistake - and I still believe it to have been an honest mistake - in spiritual technique I had rendered my private practice of that religion a quiet intolerable burden. It came about in this way. Like everyone else I had been told as a child that one must not only say one's prayers but think about what one was saying. Accordingly, when I came to a serious belief, I tried to put this into practice. At first it seemed plain sailing. But soon the false conscience (St. Paul's 'Law', Herbert's 'prattler') came into play. One had no sooner reached 'Amen' than it whispered, 'Yes. But are you sure you were really thinking about what you said?'; then, more subtly, 'Were you, for example, thinking about it as well as you did last night?' The answer, for reasons I did not then understand, was nearly always No. 'Very well,' said the voice, 'hadn't you, then, better try it over again?' And one obeyed; but of course with no assurance that the second attempt would be any better...I set myself a standard. No clause of my prayer was to be allowed to pass muster unless it was accompanied by what I called a 'realization,' by which I meant a certain vivedness of the imagination and the affections. My nightly task was to produce by sheer will power a phenomenon which will power could never produce, which was so ill-defined that I could never say with absolute confidence whether it had occurred, and which, even when it did occur, was of very mediocre spiritual value.