The Self-Confidence of a $20 Tip

One Sunday afternoon I went to pick up a ride (I’m an Uber driver for the uninitiated here) from a sports bar. Guy got in with a big bag of food and he was real friendly though I could tell he’d had a few drinks. We didn’t have far to go but I had the radio on and he said turn it up and I did and we started singing along to what was playing, “Do Ya” by the Electric Light Orchestra. Then after that song was over, I heard the opening chords to the next one and with a self-confidence I rarely, if ever exhibit, I said:

“Oh, I got this.”

The song was ‘I Touch Myself’ by The Divinyls. If you’ve heard the song you know it’s pretty hot though with no bad words so it can be played on the radio. So I start singing along and my voice is doing pretty well and yes, I was driving at the same time. Then we got to his house and we’re still jamming along to the song but just before the break comes in, he suddenly goes, “Oh shit!”. Then he slaps something into my hand, grabs his bag of food, and gets out of my car and runs up to his house. I open my hand to see what he’d slapped into it and it was a $20 bill. Yes, I got a $20 tip on a $5 fare just for singing a song with a confidence that was like a glitch in the Matrix for me.

Yet as I look back on that moment now, I’m beginning to think I should have this confidence in myself so much more than I do. This in turn begs the question: why have I never had any confidence in myself or my abilities?

I could answer that it’s a long story and give you the highlight-reel. Instead, I’m going to take a different direction on my answer and talk about something I’ve been reading about for a few years now.

A few years back I read about ‘imposter syndrome’. My summary of it is when you feel like you’re just acting like you know what you’re doing when you really don’t and that eventually people will find out and throw you into the pit of despair to be eaten by giant swamp rats. This feeling is caused by a lack of self-confidence in your abilities and knowledge and it does have long and twisting roots that can be hard to work through. For a long time, I was puzzled by this explanation because I always felt like I never knew what I was doing and that people knew it and felt sorry for me and that sooner or later I would end up in the pit of despair.

I think the bigger question here is why do we feel like this? I mean, the assholes of this world, most of whom really don’t know what the fuck they’re doing at all sure as hell don’t suffer from this awful feeling. But these are the same assholes who will try and pick at your self-confidence so you’ll slink away or just shut the fuck up and let them run wild as assholes. I think this is why so many awful people get away with so much fucking shit and it has got to stop.

Yesterday I had a thought come into my mind: I’m so freaking tired of having a mini anxiety-attack over the smallest shit. I know it’s just my slightly screwed-up brain chemistry being improperly conditioned to this response. But I also realize a lot of my anxiety comes from a lack of self-confidence. I do know what I’m doing a lot of the time, and that I can think on my feet and react accordingly if I have to. And most of all, I know there’s nothing wrong with that. And best of all, if someone ever decides to mouth off at me about this and say I’m an ego-centric bitch I can be all Zen-calm like The Dude and say, “Yeah, well, like, that’s your opinion, man.” Or be more like The Dude’s friend Walter and tell them to shut the fuck up. (last two sentences reference the movie, ‘The Big Lebowski’ if you don’t know what I’m talking about)

So my message to anyone reading this here is: have confidence in yourself and what you can do and learn, and don’t let anyone shit all over it and try and take that from you. Self-confidence is not something that can be taken from you despite what you might think. And if someone doesn’t like that, they can go to Hell for all I care. Because no matter what you do, whether it’s making a damn good cup of coffee, dressing and feeding yourself, driving your car without causing an accident, or programming a computer not to blow up the world, do it well and do with a confidence that you will hold on to no matter what some asshole says or does to you otherwise.

Live your life like you know all the words to a really hot song and you can sing it with a pretty good voice. And maybe just maybe, the world will give you a version of a $20 tip.

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