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David O. Russell: The Confidence Game

Feb 25 2014, 1:04pm CST | by

Confidence is a cloth with many colors. That thought came to me as I was listening to David O. Russell speaking to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air as he was discussing his award-winning...

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22 weeks ago

David O. Russell: The Confidence Game

Feb 25 2014, 1:04pm CST | by

Confidence is a cloth with many colors.

That thought came to me as I was listening to David O. Russell speaking to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air as he was discussing his award-winning trilogy of films – The Fighter, Sliver Linings and the latest, American Hustle. Each film is about characters reinventing themselves because they are not satisfied with themselves. The degrees of self-invention range from a fighter trying to overcome his past, a bipolar man seeking normalcy and a hustler seeking a better outcome.

As a writer and filmmaker Russell himself says he has struggled with re-invention. He once wrote scripts for hire now he seeks to tell stories that he himself connects with and can portray on the screen. That takes confidence. Especially when things fall apart. He says you need to trust yourself.

This, as Russell says, is especially true in the parenting of his son who is also bipolar. For his son, Russell must be like a rock, a foundation that his son can trust. And to a degree so too must the actors in his films trust him. Russell tries to see the movie through the eyes of each of his characters – which as he notes make them overly long before editing. So too is Russell’s habit of auditioning for his actors. He wants to persuade each of them that he will do his best to enable their characters to tell their own stories on screen.

Russell radiates confidence himself, even as he perseveres through hardship, and in the process he instills confidence in the people who collaborate with them. Reflecting on the theme of American Hustle, which garnered 10 Academy Award nominations, Russell says, “You say to yourself, ‘Well, I can do this.’ Whistling in the dark, you know what I’m saying? That’s a great skill to have. There’s going to be many a day where you’re going to need to whistle in the dark or you’re just not going to make it.”

Confidence can be magical, but it does not emerge from thinking happy thoughts. It emerges from making a conscious choice to persevere. Russell quotes Jack Nicholson who said, “It’s good to incline yourself upwards because it’s too easy in this world to incline yourself downwards.” That is, make my best stand and in the process do what I do best.

Confidence is critical to an artist. Without a fundamental believe in oneself you would never muster the courage to present your ideas – be they words, pictures, films or dramatizations – to the outside world. All great artists get knocked down more than once before they succeed. They have the courage of their convictions, often steeled by a drive that points them in a single direction, to persevere.

What leaders can take from Russell and his artistry is that believe in oneself is essential to providing direction for others. If you don’t believe in where you are going, why should anyone else follow you? If you don’t have a good idea for where a project is headed, then how can you ask others to join in? And if you don’t have faith in the organization then how can you people together for common cause?

A self-confident leader does not have all the answers. In fact truly self-confident people are so centered that they not only want collaboration they understand that it’s their responsibility to bring out the best in others. They bring upon themselves to do what’s best by providing resources and support, but most importantly they get their people to believe in themselves so they can do their best work.

To adapt Napoleon’s famous quip about hope, leaders must be instillers of confidence in others. They must connect with people in ways that encourage experimentation as well as diligence. They must believe in others so they can help them believe in themselves. So often teams that go through the motions catch fire when a new team leader comes on board.

What has changed? The leader seeks to bring out the best by enabling people to think and do for themselves in line with team objectives. This frees individuals to focus on doing their best not second-guessing themselves or their leader.

We call it confidence.

Source: Forbes Business

 
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7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Raky ...
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Update
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7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was br ...
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Update
8

7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakya ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
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7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Dat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

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Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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8 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Moh ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mill ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Schem ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Da ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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