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February 12, 2015
The Theory of Confidence
 
These days the popular brands spend a lot of time trying to sound more human. Conversely, industry people strengthen their “self-brand” by trying to sound more like corporations. Between these two we find the robots.
 
The robots and their cousins the Bots do a great job of not thinking about anything other than action steps, and their strategy seems to be working. They win Jeopardy, they write articles for the Associated Press. “Articles” is perhaps an overstatement; they are more like glorified stock reports. Yeah, they've come a long way since the invention of the thinking machine, and lately Hollywood is all too eager to tell us about it.
 
When they are feeling sluggish they don't question their self worth or re-examine their branding. No, they install new firmware. They grow faster, learn new things, and increase their skill set.
 
From Cosmology to Thinking Machines…I don't know if you've noticed it, but the media lately is making us feel insignificant. No need to stick within the science fiction genre to find the trend. Just look to Emma Stone's award-nominated performance in Birdman. In a short but intense rant, she encapsulates the entire social media construct and its effect on the human psyche.
 
With some corporations building spaceports and others trying to be our "friends," I suppose it’s the proper time to look for larger perspective. To put life in context.
 
Do you think Columbus struggled with these issues?
 
Imagine the sheer volume of negative comments a hashtag of  #TheWorldisRound would have generated in his time. In his day, I imagine it was easier to keep things in perspective. Corporations were focused on one thing — protecting assets. They were not pretending to be your friend one moment and trying to sell you something the next.
 
An industry veteran put things in perspective for me recently. He reminded me of something I had forgotten. He said that if you chose this field as a profession knowing the forces mounted against you, then deep down, you know if you've got what it takes. So regardless of what level of your career you find yourself currently in, the message is clear.
 
At your next interview, cocktail party, or any situation that requires confidence, don't worry so much if you're staying on brand. Questioning, doubting. Pretending your inner soul can be designed by committee will only crash down on your ego and drag you out to sea.
 
To put it in context, really, it comes down to two choices.
 
Either don't think about it at all and pretend you're an evil robot hell-bent on taking over the world, or do as Oscar Wilde suggests: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
 
Granted, you still may not win Jeopardy, but at least your self-confidence will be working in your favor.

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Peter Bossio is an Associate Creative Director/Art Director. He graduated from Syracuse University's Advertising Design program and attended intensive film/video production at Tisch School of the Arts. Peter has been a guest speaker at NYU School of Professional Studies and is president of his local Toastmasters Club. Want to connect with him? You'll likely find him on twitter @PeterBossio in a salsa club or at www.peterbossio.com.
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