Dear Raj,there are so much of praises of positivity and confidence in your article and in the comments that follow that I am a bit hesitant to chip in a discordant note into this harmony. But I must be myself, otherwise I am just useless. Has anyone met people like N.D.Tiwari, who at the age of 86 made the Raj Bhawan a den for gamboling with girls of one fourth of his age,and A.Raja who swindled public money to the tune of thirty thousand crores ? Have you met hardened criminals ? Have you read of misdeeds of Hitler and Nazis? Have you heard of the speeches of Osama Bin Laden ? Have you heard of the speeches of Obama after he got Osama assassinated ? They all have one thing in common, they are full of confidence in themselves that they can pull off anything. People lose everything they own in stock market being full of confidence that the companies they bet on will outperform all others. I have seen two of my confident friends losing everything in stock market and finally die of heart attack and a third one committing suicide along with his wife. So being confident is not everything; confidence is a double edged sword. It can cut the wielder too. That’s why it is said caution is the better part of valour. E.M. Foster said,” Death destroys life, but the fear of death saves many lives.” So fear of failure also saves many. But extreme fear of failure also can paralyse all entrepreneurship. Maintaining balance is the hardest thing but the most desirable one also. If positivity invented aeroplanes, negativity invented the parachutes. Positivity must be balanced with negativity too. Life can’t exist in either of the extremes.

Thanks Raj for the tag. As always you have not mentioned the author of the passage or piece. You are incorrigible. Lol! But I know from its style it can belong either to Dale Carnegie or Norman Vincent Peele. Some thirty or forty years back I used to read them both very devotedly. They were best sellers then, at least in India they still continue to sell well. I don’t think in America they are still the craze that once they used to be. At a certain point of mankind’s evolution the message of confidence and positivity they preached was very much needed. Not only their books sold in millions but also the authors were in great demand as public speakers too. The western countries in general and America in particular took maximum benefit out of those books. Whoever read the books became confident and confidence is a heady emotion too. It made the people feel better about themselves. Salesmen refused to take a no as an answer from their victims, sorry, customers, to their sales pitches. LoL! Not only common people became more confident, Hitler, Mussolini, Japanese, British, Americans all became confident of themselves. And then the Second World War inevitably began. It took six years to completely douse the raging fire of war. After the death of millions and thrice as many wounded, some thoughtful and sensitive people paused, pondered and found that being full of superficial positivity and confidence is not enough; rather it is a sign of mediocrity. W.B. Yeats voiced the truth correctly in his lines:
“The best lack all convictions, and the worst are full of certainties.” But good sense was again drowned by the heady confidence and cheerfulness brought on by the victories in the Second World War. After all, America for the first time proved its strength and mettle in the Great War on the global stage. It didn’t create a colony for itself but it defeated almost all colonial powers. Confidence was at its apex. Whenever confidence is at its apex, how can a war be far behind? Thus began its war on Vietnam. After a protracted war for long fifteen years, after dropping of Napalm bombs on innocent civilians and after causing deaths of millions and suffering lots of casualties of its own, finally its confidence level dropped to an all time low. Then sanity could find some space to prevail in the minds of some of its thinkers, leaders and general public. The younger generation was no longer as confident as their predecessors. They began to feel disillusioned. Rebel movements like hippies and beatles appealed to them. To differentiate themselves from the old school of thinking they called themselves as “the flower generation”. Albert Camus and Colin Wilson correctly captured the public imagination by naming them as “the outsiders”. They were anti-establishment. Not only they were against their political leaders but confidence boosting books by Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale couldn’t sustain their interest. They were in search of something deeper, they were, in short, after their spiritual quests.

Eckhert Tolle, while tackling a question why senseless events occur, for instance like the Vietnam War, made a very excellent observation. He said that though he did not justify the war, yet he could discern human consciousness taking a radical paradigm shift during such apparent senseless events. Probably those long peace marches, forming miles and miles of human chains by linking hands, overnight sitouts and demonstrations against the power that be and the establishment couldn’t have been possible without the senseless event that Vietnam war was. And also the gradual shift of peoples’ interest towards eastern religions and mysticism happened almost at the same time, may be as a result of their disillusionment.
Pride goes before fall. When your confidence in yourself dips to its lowest, then only surrender happens. You surrender to a greater power knowing your ego’s utter worthlessness. It is almost like experiencing an orgasm. You surrender and awake into a completely different, much happier and relaxing state.
So today’s American youth leaving its Dale Carnegie and Peale have opened themselves to eastern mysticism, Indian, Chinese,Japanese, Sufi,Zen all varieties. Ramana Maharsi and Nisargadatta Maharaj have taken the place Of Carnegie and Peale. In place of confidence in themselves they seek a state of complete surrender to the Self. To me while an average Indian youth is still at the confidence building or boosting stage, out for achieving material benefits or earning money for himself and his family, his western counterpart has become more truly Indian in his spiritual quest and outlook. It is a great shift in consciousness, indeed. It is as if everyone will awaken at his/her own time. There is no such thing as mass awakenings or mass homecomings. But ultimately all will. The Guru sitting in each of us will see to it.
I hope this review or comment on the article you tagged me, has just added something to the content which I felt was left out. Wish you well.
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