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How to use confidence intelligently?

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Confidence can either be a great quality or it can be a ‘disquality’ to some. For example, foolish people are always more confident than intelligent people. Stupidity has certain confidence to it. Foolish people are more stubborn, and because they are blind, because they can’t see, they rush anywhere—even where angels fear to tread.

A man who is intelligent is bound to have a little hesitancy in him. Intelligence is hesitant. That simply shows that there are millions of opportunities, millions of alternatives for one to choose. Every choice is arbitrary so a certain lack of confidence is bound to be there. The more intelligent you are, the more you will feel it.

So not all confidence is good. Ninety-nine percent of confidence is foolish. Only one percent is good, and that one percent is never absolute. That one percent is always hesitant because there are really so many alternatives. You are always standing on the crossroads, not knowing which road will really be the right one. How can you be confident? Why do you expect to be confident?

All roads look almost the same but one has to choose. It is a gambler’s choice. But that’s how life is—and it is good that it is that way. If everything was clean-cut, pre-planned, pre-fabricated, and you were just given instructions—‘Move right and left and do this and that’—there would be confidence but of what use would it be? The thrill would be lost. There would be no light in life then. It would be a dead routine.

Life is always thrilling because each step brings you to another crossroads… again so many roads, again you have to choose. You start trembling. Will the choice be right or not? How to be rightly confident then? To be rightly confident is to think about all the alternatives and whatsoever you feel is a little better than the others…

Don’t ask for absolutely good and absolutely wrong. In life, there is nothing like that. It is only a percentage; one is only a little better than the other, that’s all. Life is not divided like two polarities—good and bad. There are a thousand and one situations between good and bad. So, just look around objectively, silently, feelingly, see every possibility, unworried, and whatsoever feels a little bit better than others, move on it. Once you decide to move, forget about other alternatives, because they don’t matter now. Then you move confidently.

This is really intelligent confidence. It does not destroy hesitation completely. It uses hesitation. It does not destroy alternatives. Alternatives are there. It consciously broods and contemplates over all the alternatives as silently, as humanly possible. Intelligence never demands anything inhuman.

You have known the wrong road. You are acquainted with wrong now more than before. Now you know what is false; it will help you to find out the truth.


These are the paths. Many are moving to the right; they think it is better. You still feel that to move to the left is better, so of course, there is going to be hesitation because you know that many intelligent people are moving in the opposite direction. How can you be confident? You are not alone here. Many intelligent people are going that way and still, you feel that this is right for you.

Stand on the crossroads, think, meditate, but once you decide then forget all other alternatives. Once you decide to move, your whole energy is needed there. Don’t be split and don’t let half of your mind think about alternatives. This is how one has to use hesitation.

And there is no certainty that you are bound to be right. That I am not saying. There is no way to be certain. You may be wrong, but there is no way to know it unless you go on the road to the very end, all the way.

But my understanding is that one should think rightly. The very thinking gives you growth. You move on the road—right or wrong is irrelevant. The very movement gives you growth. To me, it is not a question of where you go. To me, the most important thing is that you are not stuck, but going.

Even if this road comes to a dead-end and it leads nowhere and you have to come back, nothing to worry about. It is good that you went. The very movement has given you much experience. You have known the wrong road. You are acquainted with wrong now more than before. Now you know what is false; it will help you to find out the truth.

To know the false as false is a great experience because that is the only way that one comes by to know what truth is. To know the truth as truth, the path moves from the experience of knowing false as false. And one has to move on many wrong roads before one comes to the right one.

So to me, even if you are going towards hell, I bless you, because there is no other way to know hell. And if you don’t know hell you will never be able to know what heaven is. Go into the dark because that is the way to know light. Go into death because that is the way to know life.

The only thing that is important is not to be stuck somewhere. Don’t just stand on the crossroads, hesitating, not going anywhere. Don’t make hesitation your habit. Use it—it is a good device. Think about all the alternatives. I’m not saying don’t think, don’t hesitate at all, move like a stupid man and run with closed eyes, blindfolded, so there is no problem and you don’t know that other roads exist. That’s why stupid people are more confident, but they have done much harm in the world. The world would be better if there were less confident people.

So make intelligence your goal and then hesitation, nervousness, everything, can be used in a creative way.

Excerpted from The Cypress In The Courtyard by Osho

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.

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