When you are confident you trust that your chosen course of action is the best one for you. You trust yourself, your abilities and your team. Confidence is not expressed through blind faith but rather through informed self-belief and determination. With confidence you are able to reflect critically yet positively on yourself, express your talent and skills without hesitation, express enthusiasm without fear of embarrassment or fear of failure. With sufficient confidence you don’t feel the need to make excuses, you put your problems into a greater perspective, you make better decisions, manage change better, manage conflict more appropriately, are more valuable to your team, you accept help more readily, help others more readily without concern that you are giving away your intellectual property. You become more resilient and bounce back from mishaps and the effect of random, unexpected events more easily.
Can you embrace trial and error?
When you are confident you embrace more trial and error and can use either success or failure as a motivator. Confident people go beyond doing what is expected of them and move on to giving a memorable performance. Whilst some people access confidence more easily than others, all of us can build confidence and some can even develop supreme confidence.
Ali was supremely confident
Mohammed Ali’s Mental Toughness prowess was displayed in his supreme confidence. He expressed his confidence through self-belief and he expressed it loudly. He was famous for saying “I am young, I am strong, I am handsome and I can’t be beat”. In a television interview with Michael Parkinson he claimed “I didn’t just want to be champion of America, but also champion of Russia, England and Europe. I wanted to be champion of the world, but not only world champion, I wanted to become the best champion ever – so I kept on working until I did”. Ali’s statements of supreme confidence sound outrageous and could be interpreted in some circles as arrogance not confidence. But arrogance must not be confused with confidence. Surely if a person does what they claimed they would do, why would they be labeled as arrogant? Ali’s statement should also remind you that nobody can outwork you – nobody!
So was Hank Macgregor
You may recall, many years ago in 2004, Hank McGregor came to Cape Town to compete in the Berg River Marathon Canoe race. Before the race he was interviewed by the local press, who it seems, mainly took an interest in him because of his father’s extraordinary water sport achievements. His father, Lee McGregor, had acquired national colours in Canoeing, Swimming, Yachting and Surf ski paddling. I don’t recall the exact way the journalist framed the question to Hank but it went something like: “Hank, your dad was an amazing sportsman and great canoeist, how do you think you are going to do in the Berg River Marathon?” Hank’s reply was recorded in the newspaper: “Well, I am feeling pretty confident, I think I’ll win”. Hank not only won the four day, 227 kilometer race. At the time of writing he has won it for a record nine years in a row.
At that stage some people may have interpreted Hank’s claim as arrogant or over confident. But how could it be? He was only expressing what he knew he could do. Is the fear of being labeled arrogant possibly the reason why so many people struggle to express confidence? It should not be the case, but I think it often is.
How is arrogance different to confidence?
Arrogant people look down on others and are characterized by the way they are constantly correcting other people’s grammar or showing them their flaws. This is their way of bolstering their self-belief. Confident people have a self-belief that is not linked to putting others down. They use their talents to succeed at the task at hand. In some cases an arrogant person may have more skill than a confident person, but the confident person will tend to draw on composure more than an arrogant person can.
Opportunities increase or decrease depending on confidence. Are you over confident, under confident or supremely confident? Can you tell the difference between arrogance and confidence?