Taylor SwiftMany actors, musicians and other performers seem to be very self-assured and confident, though some admit that is not always true. Some psychologists note that confidence can have negative aspects – and low confidence may have benefits.

Her fourth album “Red” had opening sales of 1.21 million – the highest recorded in a decade, and Taylor Swift has had two million-plus opening weeks.

But in an interview in front of a college audience for a tv show she commented: “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval. I have a terrifying long list of fears. Literally everything — diseases, spiders… and people getting tired of me.”

Will SmithAnother example: Will Smith has said, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”

Read more in post: Talented and insecure – gifted adults, self esteem and self doubt.

Confidence is based on self esteem, which is basically positive self-regard, a realistic acknowledgment of our abilities and value as a person. So shouldn’t we actively strive for high confidence to help us live better and realize our creative talents?

In his article Confidence and Creating creativity coach and author Eric Maisel, PhD writes about various stages of creative expression, and says “Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments – the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work.

“For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.”

An upside of low confidence

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, PhD, is a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and a visiting Professor at New York University.

A summary of his book Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt says it “reveals the benefits of low confidence (including being more motivated and self-aware)…”

One of the reviews on his site ww.drtomascp.com:

“Maybe you have always intuited, as most sensitive people do, that all the talk about boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem is not the answer to success or happiness. This charming and thoroughly fact-based book will give you the evidence to back your wisdom that being kind and competent works best.” – Elaine Aron, PhD, Author of The Highly Sensitive Person and The Undervalued Self.

Here is a brief audio clip in which psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson interviews him:

This is a brief excerpt from The Science of Thriving conference – with free live presentations (September 16-20, 2013) and recordings during and after.

Hear more excerpts in post: Thriving In Work and Life: An Online Conference.