Having self-confidence is wonderful and a positive quality to successfully navigate life. Self-confidence is a wonderful asset. It allows us to get past fears and doubts and take control of life and decisions. Those with confidence have a positive and optimistic attitude that is easy to be around. Others typically view a confident person as dependable and admirable. However, as often true, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Overconfidence is a weakness and most would agree that arrogance is undesirable. There are significant differences between confidence and arrogance.
Confidence is not a belief that one is always right or a sense of being unable to fail. True confidence welcomes alternative perspectives and opinions. A confident person rarely will be found lecturing or preaching to others on how they are wrong. Believing you are always right and unable to accept influence from others can make one obnoxious to be around. Confidence is being willing to be wrong and knowing you’ll be ok if you are. A truly self-confident person is able to show vulnerability and admit to past mistakes.
Both the confident and arrogant person is aware of personal areas of strength and ability. However, a confident person has little difficulty seeing others gifts and strengths while the arrogant cannot. Additionally a confident person does not insist on the adoration of others for their skills or abilities. People who are self-confident show it with their actions, not by their words. Self -confidence is knowledge of ability while arrogance insists on sharing successes with others. There is a quiet calm in the truly confident that the arrogant do not posess. If you find yourself constantly trying to impress friends, family or others with your skills and abilities, you have crossed the line into arrogance.
Confidence and arrogance come from different sources. Arrogance is rooted in insecurity – a defense from feelings of weakness that are unacceptable and unclaimed. An arrogant person generally has a skewed view of the world and a warped understanding of themselves. However, a confident person can accept their weaknesses or faults with grace – even though they may not like them.
Arrogant people build themselves up by putting others down - to “win”. Buddhism asserts that arrogance is to judge one’s self-worth by comparison with others. Arrogant people feel good about themselves only through affirming their superiority to others. Genuinely confident people feel great about themselves without comparing themselves with others. Arrogant people tend to bluff their way to success and often have difficulty listening to others. This person will avoid risks or blame others or circumstances if things do not work out as expected.
Arrogant people can and often do have successes but there are significant costs. Relationships are often shallow and superficial or strained. Additionally, professional successes can be fragile due to difficulties in accepting guidance and feedback and impaired abilities to accept and learn from mistakes.
While, not always arrogant, some are plague with an overconfidence that can be problematic. This is most typically seen with inexperience and immaturity. By definition, an overconfident person tends to overestimate the chances of success of an endeavor and underestimate the risks. Because of the self-deception involved, overconfidence tends to make people unable to make effective and successful decisions.
Strive for honest self-acceptance and nurture self-confidence. Beware the pitfalls of crossing the line into overconfidence or arrogance. As with most things in life, the healthy place is always with balance in the middle.