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Confidence and Overconfidence – A Thin Line

Over the years I have observed individuals, businesses, and nations being confident in their thinking and what they do. And I looked at them with a sense of awe. And I wanted to have that in me. Not that I had none, but wanted to have more of that conviction, spirit, poise, self-belief, and that feeling of being comfortable inmy own skin. And then I slowly started to notice that some of them were not just confident but overconfident. They however did not seem to realize it, but their actions demonstrated that. They thought they are demonstrating confidence. But in-fact they were showing signs of hubris. I saw this across the board – many communities, ethnicities, types of companies, and nations. To me, having and demonstrating confidence in everything you do is impressive and needed. But that confidence can quickly become cockiness or pompousness. Individuals, businesses, or nations do not realize it. They think they are confident and are demonstrating strength, influence, and power. However, there is a thin line being confident and being overconfident.

Being confident means, you believe in your skills and abilities. But that has to be from a place of humbleness. Some of the characteristics of having confidence are you are composed, speak, and behave with authority, always willing to learn, are decisive, are willing to listen and debate other points of views even if you do not agree and, lift others. Overconfident individuals, businesses and nations feel superior to others, assign blame to others, make excuses, pass judgment, and have excessive self-belief and thus refuse to accept help from others. One of the biggest traits of overconfidence is that one becomes very defensive of their positions. Other key traits are they have self-doubt because they are insecure, and try to mask it and they not only overvalue themselves but also devalue others.

Everyone can make confidence as their strength – but one must come at it from a position of strength and not a weakness by being overconfident. To avoid being overconfident one of the most important thing one can do is be true to yourself – genuinely assess not just your capabilities but also limits. Among other things include such as being open to feedback, keeping it real and fact based – not be delusional, being modest and not isolating yourself. Having confidence is essential and required. But care should be taken that you do not overdo it. Being confident has many benefits. Some such as increase in self-worth, alleviates anxieties as you do not overthink, improve relationships, and increases motivation and energy. Being overconfident has many disadvantages such poor decision-making, increase in rigidity, unwillingness to compromise etc. I read somewhere that confidence means “I can do it!” while overconfidence means “Only I can do it!” Confidence makes a person listen to others while overconfidence makes him listen to only himself. – How true is that!

A confident person, company or nation is able to look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve – that is the secret sauce.


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