Confidence is a peculiar beast.
At its most fulsome it can seem repellent.
In some cases it could even prove dangerous – consider the circumstances brought about by the unwavering confidence of Donald Trump or Nigel Farage for instance or the kind of financial maelstrom unleashed by the overconfidence of stock market traders.
Yet as I left Manchester Grammar that July day I felt a great wash of sadness that not all young people will know that sense of self-assurance; that many will spend their lives feeling perpetually on the back foot.
And I wondered whether confidence might be something we can learn at any stage in life.
To an extent confidence is something hardwired into us from birth.
A study of 3,700 twins by behavioural geneticist Corina Greven at King’s College London and Robert Plomin of the Institute of Psychiatry for instance – concluded that academic self-confidence was 50% nature and 50% nurture.
Women meanwhile have a biological tendency to seek acceptance and avoid conflict – while men tend to take more risks under pressure – meaning that in some lights women might appear to lack inner confidence.
But external factors play a huge role in shaping our feelings of self worth.