Reading time: 4 minutes May 1st 2017

One of the most important qualities necessary for achieving success is your ability to be confident. The more confident you feel the more likely you are to perform at your best. Confidence also makes you a more persuasive person and people are likely to be more attracted to you and rate you higher on all kinds of other qualities.

However, there are a number of issues with developing confidence. Two negative consequences are possible:

  1. If you are over-confident you are likely to miss information because you think you know more than you do.
  2. Others may perceive you as being arrogant and therefore as less likeable.

How do you build enough confidence to perform as well as you can while making sure not to get ahead of yourself or create the wrong impression in the mind of others? Well, let’s define some concepts first:

  • Assertiveness is your ability to stand up for yourself and put yourself on the same level as others.
  • Confidence is the set of feelings that comes from the idea that you are good at something or in some way. It is a feeling of certainty in something you are doing or yourself.
  • Arrogance, to me, is the set of feelings and behaviours that comes from the idea that you are better than others. Not necessarily at a skill but in terms of your overall qualities.
  • Smugness is a form of arrogance which is expressed passively rather than actively.

This reflects how I see each concept. As a result of this, internally, I believe the key is to ensure that you feel confident and certain in what you know and do and, at the same time, you temper this with an understanding of the potential of others and your own flaws. It involves self-awareness and awareness of others. The biggest potential problem to guard against is your beliefs trapping you into not taking in any more information.

In psychology, the confirmation bias in suggests that we look for evidence to support what we believe and we dismiss evidence that contradicts it. It is imperative that we don’t fall victim to the mentality which closes us off from knowledge. Instead, it is a good idea to be confident in what you know and aware that your knowledge can always be updated. Stay curious and interested in different perspective and always willing to revise and adjust as needs be.

Externally, the way you communicate this confidence should be measured. It is important to take into consideration how your confidence might reflect on you. When your body language and voice tone command attention, that’s great. The secret is to avoid putting down others actively or passively. When you listen to others and respect others and search for the positive qualities in others, you will find yourself demonstrating a sense of confidence that avoids arrogance.

Always make sure you are demonstrating respect for other people’s point of view whether you agree with them or not. Be clear, certain and confident in what you are saying but be curious also to understand where others are coming from. Understand too that various cultures value confidence differently and sometimes being too confident in front of others can make you less likeable. This does not necessarily mean you should stop. Rather you might just make sure that you work just as hard on being likeable.

Confidence is so critical to success in the modern world. It is important to develop it in just the right way so that you can effectively keep yourself open to new information and build strong relationships with others at the same time.

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