Lesson 35: Confidence is attractive, arrogance is not

It can often be difficult to spot the difference between arrogance and confidence.  How can you tell?  What are the rules?  Where are the boundaries?  Who gets to decide where the lines are drawn?  These are all fair questions and simple enough to understand.  Answering them, on the other hand, is far more complex.  You get to decide the answers, but only for you.  We all choose what we perceive as confidence and what we perceive as arrogance but we do not get to decide for others.  Trying to seek the balance can become quite frustrating and it is not always clear how you should proceed.    

I can’t tell you how many times I have been unable to spot the difference.  I know I said you get to choose the rules for yourself, but there is more at stake than your perception.  It is so easy to see it when it is someone else, but like many things in life, we tend to miss it when it is ourselves.  There is a big difference in the way we behave confidently from the way our own arrogance reveals itself.  As far as I can tell, the many times my arrogance has stepped in, it was because I was putting effort into an attempt to display confidence.

By trying to come off as confident and in control, all I was doing was demonstrating to everyone around me that I had no clue.  Rather than having the ability and humility to say “I don’t know” or “I could really use some help,” I projected what I, and I alone, thought was a confident mentality.  In reality, the arrogance that everyone but me saw was a moment by moment episode of “I have no clue what I am saying or doing and I am clearly full of crap.”  You have to pay attention to those around you.  You need to learn to read the room and then move forward with confidence based on what you know, taking the people around you into account.

Confidence is about gaining the belief of others.  Confidence in yourself inspires the confidence of others in you.  It is a powerful feeling and you can tell when people are attracted to your confidence.  They continue wanting to be around you.  They communicate more with you and ask you more questions.  They listen to your answers and then act in a way that shows they were listening.  Confidence attracts other confident people and there is no way to describe the feeling of being surrounded by like minded, confident people.  You just know it.  You can feel it in your gut.  You know that you are in the right place.

Arrogance is another thing entirely.  It may feel or seem like confidence, but it is a false sense of confidence.  It is fake and easy to notice for others.  There is an uneasiness that people will have being around you and whether you notice it or not is irrelevant.  Arrogant people give off a vibe to others that suggests they are better or more important than those around them.  Their opinion is more important because, insert bogus reason.  Not only are you demonstrating to everyone that you are an undesirable person to be around, you are also proving that you are not better than anyone else.  In fact, people will deliberately avoid you because your opinions will not be wanted.  All people will be able to think of is how irritating it is to be around you.  

 It is ok to not know or not have the answers.  Being able to admit that you don’t know is an admirable and attractive quality to have.  Confidence isn’t about being insufferable or a know it all.  It is about knowing your capabilities and being courageous enough to face adversity and change head-on.  It is about understanding that you don’t control life, but you are in control of how you respond to everything.  It is about never giving up.  You don’t have to be arrogant in order to face hardship.  Confidence is knowing that the failures are as important as the successes, if not more so.  Confidence is accepting failure as what it truly is.  Life’s greatest teacher. 

Takeaways:

  1. The difference between confidence and arrogance can be difficult to spot in oneself.
  2. Confidence in yourself inspires the confidence of others in you.
  3. Arrogance is fake confidence and easy for others to spot.
  4. Arrogance makes you undesirable to be around.
  5. It is ok to not have all the answers.

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