You may have heard a version of the ancient Sufi story of the thirsty lion.  These stories are open to interpretation, depending on who is listening, but this one surely tells us about the nature of self-confidence.

The guardian of the waters

There was once a young orphan lion (who had no idea he was a lion) wandering about in a dry wilderness, getting ever more thirsty.  Having been separated from the pride when he was a cub, he had never set eyes on another lion.

Sometimes he wondered if he might be a sheep, or a goat, but when he encountered these creatures in his wanderings he knew he was different from them in some mysterious way.

“I must find water somewhere or I’ll die of thirst” he thought to himself.

At last he found a cave and went inside, simply to get some shade from the noonday heat.  To his surprise, there was a pool of water inside the cave and he immediately went to take his fill and drink.

But what was this?  As he bent his head to drink from the pool he was shocked and horrified to see a magnificent yet fearsome creature looking right back at him.  A powerful looking beast, with teeth to match.  Not someone to be trifled with!

The young lion withdrew hastily.

“This must be the guardian of the pool.  How am I to drink with that beast guarding the supply?” he asked himself.

He padded around the cave for a while, getting more and more thirsty and desperate.  At last he could stand it no more.  “I’ll have to fight him!” he said to himself.  And in an instant he leapt at the creature in the pool, determined to fight it for the water.

Of course, there was no ‘creature’ there but himself, in reflection.

In this way he both learned what and who he was and found that facing fear could get him what he so desperately needed.

One of the greatest benefits of having strong self-confidence is that you retain and build the energy you need to pursue your goals.

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