Self-confidence

They told me this was a small event, just a few people who were interested in that old movement called “The New Thought”.  It would be a simple talk exposing some of my ideas and theories on quantum mechanics and the process of thought in the brain. Nothing too elaborated.

I felt very confident since a talk with a small group is something you can easily turn into a “chat among friends.” Nothing very complex to do.

As soon as I saw the back of the building where this reunion was taking place something strange began lurking in the back of my mind. This looked more like the backstage of an old theatre, but well, how could I know the way things were handled here, it was a very different country on the other side of the planet and customs were very different, so I didn´t ask anything to my hosts.

Soon we were hastily walking through a very narrow corridor leading to a black door and I was beginning to think this was a very strange place for a small reunion. Something wasn´t right.

Just two steps before the black door, a little lady appear from somewhere with one of those portable microphones and with the grace of a Greek wrestler she attached the little microphone in my chest. “Why do I need a microphone here?” I thought then the little and delicate lady opened the door and almost pushed me in the room, and closed the door behind me.

A bright light blinded me for a moment and when my eyes were able to adjust to it, I realised that was no regular room, it was some kind of auditorium with many, and I mean many, people in it. They were silently staring at me, like waiting for me to say something, when I was about to apologised for interrupting their event by entering in the wrong room. I heard the voice of someone introducing me as the speaker of that night.

While they read a part of my CV, I realised that was not a small reunion, it was a big scale event with too many people (later I found out there were near 2800 people in that place that night) and that changed the whole dynamic for my presentation.

I must confess that for a few moments I felt terrorised by the size of that place and the number of spectators, but using some skills I learnt during my acting career I was able to improvise a lot and deliver my “chat with friends” in an acceptable way.  I think they didn´t record that event so I never got to see the video to see how it “really” happened. But I felt ok doing it and nobody complained about it, so I guess it was not that bad.

Suddenly I remember the words of an actor friend of mine who told me that I shouldn´t feel bad for being nervous before a performance, “…that is the way your brain prepares you to inject adrenaline into your system so you can give your best.”  So I began “pretending” I was used to talk in front of a huge audience in a foreign country and in a language I didn´t speak that well.”

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