Scott Donald Carper-The Confidence Gap

Author of Book: Russ Harris
Date Read: April 15, 2023

Book Report

Why have I read this book?
I have been thinking a lot about my confidence. I have been obsessed with why I no longer seem to be
as good a public speaker. Maybe I am remembering things with rose colored glasses. But I recall a time
when I was an ace on the mic and needed little or no time to prep (in other words I was great at winging
it). I struggled at the beginning in RDAP. We speak on the mic daily….it feels like a public speaking
course. I could not imagine speaking in front of people more…. It’s been useful. Anyway, I decided that
I wanted to read about confidence and see if that could get comfortable as a speaker again. I had my
dad research the best books about confidence, and this is the book that we came up with. Really glad.

What is the book about?
“The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.” To develop and practice
skills to make us better speakers/more confident human beings requires time and effort. Our minds
usually give us sorts of reasons not to do it. “It’s too hard,” “I will never be good at it,” and so on. When
we get caught up in these thoughts, it’s all too easy to give up – especially if we are afraid of making
mistakes, or not feeling good, or our progress is slower than we would like. This book outlines specific
strategies to help you in situations that overwhelm you (mainly FEAR). I am not going to name these
strategies (you need to read the book). However, I will say they are clever and insightful. Anything you
want to get good at requires practice…. So, the strategies that can help you overcome fear or difficult
situations require lots and lots of practice. This book dispels the notion that self-affirmation strategies
work. When we pump ourselves up our mind often snaps into action reminding us why this idea is
incorrect (so when we tell ourselves we are going to be great, etc….the mind tells us why that is not
true, reminds us of a recent event where we did terrible). Contrary to popular belief our thoughts are
often very negative…and we think the worst rather than the best. “The secret to getting over our fears,
is to form a new and wiser relationship with them.” (Love this)
Negative thoughts are normal, don’t fight them…diffuse them. What matters most is what you do, what
you stand for, the way you behave. This is far more important than stories you believe about yourself.

What have I learned from this book?
I could write a whole report on what has happened to me while reading this book. First the techniques
this book teaches I am using daily…DAILY!!!! It helps a great deal. This book also inspired me to create
an entirely new presentation for the tutoring committee (in RDAP). We just gave the presentation (it
was on “fear,” and public speaking). Obviously, I’m biased but I think the presentation was the best one
given in RDAP. Everyone went nuts and the feedback I received will have me feeling good for a month.
My confidence (for fight now…. I know the true test is time) is at a new high. I really do believe the
techniques work and I am practicing them daily. All these books continue to help me find a response to
what do I want to do with the rest of my life. So far this is what I have come up with. “I want to make
an impact on people’s lives by helping them become the best version of themselves.” It will continue
evolving but that’s where I am right now.