Confidence Is the Brush That Paints Dreams Into Reality

In a quaint village in Spain there lived a young girl named Elara and her grandmother, Clara. Despite her innate talent for painting exquisite landscapes, Elara lacked confidence in her abilities, keeping all of her paintings locked in a closet in her room. Only her grandmother knew where Elara hid the key.

One day an esteemed artist visited the village, offering to mentor a promising talent. Elara desperately wanted to seize the opportunity and show this man some of her artwork, but self doubt got the best of her. She told her grandmother she just couldn’t bear the thought of rejection.

The next day when Elara returned home from the market, she walked into her bedroom to see the closet door open and all of her paintings gone! She was frantic. Who could have done such a thing? She called for her grandmother, but there was no response.

Elara ran out of the house, shouting for her grandmother. A neighbor heard her and said he saw Clara walking into town. Elara ran as fast as her legs could carry her, and when she finally arrived at the village square, she was shocked by what she saw.

Grandma had all of her paintings on display and a crowd had gathered to admire the unbelievably beautiful work. As she approached, Elara saw her grandmother speaking with the famous artist! When her grandmother saw Elara, she smiled and introduced her to the man, who said, “So, you are the esteemed artist everyone has been talking about…”

Needless to say, Elara began her mentorship that day. Over the next 20 years, she became one of the most renowned artists in the world. Her magnificent works of art were showcased in museums and galleries everywhere.

At the height of her success, Elara received a phone call to come home to that quaint little village in Spain because her grandmother’s health was failing and she needed to say her final goodbye.

When Elara walked into her grandmother’s room and saw her lying on the bed, she immediately started sobbing, thanking her for displaying her artwork in the town square that pivotal day, and for everything Grandma had done to help her, like buying the paints, brushes and canvases to cultivate her talent.

After a few moments of silence, Grandma motioned for Elara to come close, whispering the following in her ear, “My dear, there was only one paintbrush you didn’t have that you truly needed…confidence.”

Her grandmother then said something Elara would never forget… “Confidence is the brush that paints dreams into reality.”


Last week my son, Brian, sent me a video I thought was insightful. It was by a motivational speaker named Julien Blanc.

In the video, he talks about the difference between situational confidence and core confidence, saying, “Never try to find confidence in your looks because you will lose that in time. Never try to find confidence in external factors either, like money. We call this situational confidence as opposed to core confidence. Core confidence comes from within. It’s something you’re born with. It’s something you have always had. It tends to get buried over time and we lose sight of it, but it’s always there.”

There have been times in my life when situational confidence overshadowed what should have been my core confidence. I was deriving confidence as a result of my achievements. This caused me to try to “climb the highest mountain” and “conquer the odds” in many cases just to prove I could do it. 

I remember once reading these words from Zig Ziglar, “Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.” When I read that quote I thought to myself, “That was me!”

But later in life as I delved into new areas and started unique business models I discovered that I was confident without any past situational success in that type of endeavor. This was core confidence. 

I have come to realize over time, and I expect it’s true with many people, that past successes do tend to make us more confident in having future success. But I have also come to realize that you don’t need past successes to have core confidence that you can succeed in the future. This is evident in confident young children.

I had never thought about situational confidence vs core confidence until watching that video by Julien Blanc. I think it’s a good lesson to share, particularly with the younger generation. Without past successes, a strong core confidence that you can succeed will increase the probability you will succeed. 

A beautiful way to express it might be in these words by Blake Lively:

“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.”

But perhaps Elara’s grandmother said it best:

“Confidence is the brush that paints dreams into reality.”