SELF-CONFIDENCE. That is something not taught in maritime academies. Nor is there mention of it in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Isn’t this odd? How can there be competency if one does not have faith in oneself and his or her ability to do things well?

To assume that the individual has enough self-confidence to work at sea (otherwise, why would he or she enter such a dangerous profession?) is unrealistic. Third World seafarers in particular risk having their self-confidence eroded by overbearing manning agents, despotic foreign senior officers, and a world in which the rights of mariners are constantly violated. May the following quotes serve as inspiration to seafarers everywhere.

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (A New Translation with an Introduction, by Gregory Hays, 2002)

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854)

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (1841)

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.

— African proverb

For there is no doubt that the most radical division that it is possible to make of humanity is that which splits it into two classes of creatures: those who make great demands on themselves, piling up difficulties and duties; and those who demand nothing special of themselves, but for whom to live is to be every moment what they already are, without imposing on themselves any effort towards perfection; mere buoys that float on the waves.

— José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses (1930)

It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.

— William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897)

Do not undertake anything beyond your capacity and at the same time do not harbor the wish to do less than you can. One who takes up tasks beyond his powers is proud and attached, on the other hand one who does less than he can is a thief. If we keep a time-table we can save ourselves from this last-mentioned sin indulged in even unconsciously.

— Mahatma Gandhi, Letter to Narandas Gandhi, July 10, 1932

Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

— George Herbert, English Poems: Together with His Collection of Proverbs Entitled Jacula Prudentum (1891)

The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life and the procedure. The process is its own reward.

— Amelia Earhrt,  The Official Website of Amelia Earhart – Quotes

…the superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this, his work which other men cannot see.

— Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean

To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

— E.E. Cummings, A Poet’s Advice to Students (1958)

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.

— Helen Keller, Address at the fifth meeting of the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, at Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 8, 1896

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