Confidence, defined as how good you believe you are at something, and competence, defined in the same way, overlap by only 9%. Being confident in one’s abilities is not the same as having talent. It’s safe to assume you have a plethora of real-life examples that demonstrate this point. For example, if a leader suddenly becomes very popular despite having no real skills, this is a red flag.
While everyone enjoys the idea of increasing their self-confidence, the connection between that and professional success is frequently oversimplified.
A healthy dose of confidence, on the other hand, goes a long way, and overconfidence doesn’t help at all. This is yet another fundamental issue that is frequently overlooked. A healthy dose of self-assurance can inspire reasonable risk-taking and push one to explore new territory. Meanwhile, it can help you recognise your own limitations and more accurately assess the dangers. Someone who is overconfident in themselves, on the other hand, is more likely to be arrogant, self-deluded, inexplicably pleased with themselves, and unaware of their own limitations, dangers, and risks.
Finally, keep in mind that how you see yourself reflects how others perceive you. The internal one is intended to inform you whether your capabilities match specific problems and challenges by detecting and increasing your awareness of those threats. The internal mechanism is designed to alert you if your abilities correspond to the problem or challenge at hand, such as crossing a busy intersection before the traffic lights change, applying for a new job or promotion, or asking someone out on a date.
The external one is all about convincing others of your abilities. Even though self-assurance is essential for professional advancement, it is frequently stolen by imposters, fraudsters, and con artists. It is not a coincidence that con artists and confidence have the same etymological root. To win over voters, a salesperson may pretend to be confident in order to make a sale, and a politician may boast about their accomplishments or exaggerate their level of expertise. Both strategies aim to increase the candidate’s chances of being chosen. Using confidence in this way to make others believe you are competent can help an actor get ahead at the expense of everyone else, especially those who were hoping for competence but got confidence instead.
There is a healthy balance to be found between “faking it until you make it” (the selfish and unethical choice) and being filled with self-doubt (the existential neurotic choice).
Ideally, three distinct approaches would be used.
Find a way to strike a balance between your confidence and your actual competence.
Improve your self-awareness and knowledge rather than your confidence, as the latter is frequently stifled by the former. For the simple reason that being aware of one’s own areas of expertise and ignorance is always beneficial. If you are dissatisfied with the gap between your desired and actual state of competence, you should have an incentive to work hard and close it. If, on the other hand, you insist on believing that you are more knowledgeable and capable than you are, you must rely on the fact that others will share your delusion for it to come true. This is because your delusion will eventually come true if it spreads.
Don’t “hang yourself out to dry” about your flaws in front of others; instead, work on them behind closed doors.
If your level of self-assurance does not match your level of actual competence, your best bet is to appear insecure on the inside while maintaining an appearance of moderate confidence on the outside (as discussed in the first point). This is the best recipe for working on your flaws and weaknesses in private, preparing as much as possible, even if it means overpreparing (which is far preferable to underpreparing), and not disclosing your uncertainties and uncertainties to others.
It is critical to remember that other people are notoriously poor judges of our competence and, more importantly, incompetence. Keep this in mind at all times. Even if you are aware of areas for improvement, it is best not to broadcast this information unless absolutely necessary. If you are asked, “What is your greatest weakness?” during a job interview, for example, you can still demonstrate your competence while remaining humble.
MANAGE YOUR PERFORMANCE ANXIETY AND YOU WILL BE OK.
Anxiety and tension are natural (and human) reactions to high-stakes challenges such as career-defining promotions, job interviews, and client presentations. This is because people’s best and worst characteristics tend to emerge during times of extreme stress. Following a few simple pieces of advice can help you reduce the amount of stress in your life. Telling the audience you’re nervous and even apologising for it is one way to connect with them and make them feel for you. Having this in common can help you connect with them on a deeper level. Furthermore, if you want to impress them with your drive, explain that your anxiety demonstrates how much you value the opportunity.
It should also go without saying that practising in front of an audience can be beneficial. Practicing what you want to say or do will help you become more at ease with the subject and improve your performance. Even if it’s just to film yourself and review the footage, you should do it as often as possible. After all, improving one’s level of competence is the single most effective way to boost self-confidence.
Remembering that there are people suffering from real problems, such as hunger, poverty, war, abuse, and so on, can help remove some of the fake existential angst associated with #firstworldproblems, such as difficult career challenges. Remembering that there are people who suffer from real problems can help to alleviate some of the manufactured existential dread associated with #firstworldproblems. And, if possible, put yourself in a mindset where you are looking forward to the challenge of the task at hand. In any case, you should take advantage of the situation because it provides an opportunity. As a result, your overall performance is likely to improve.
Finally, regardless of whether you have low or high self-confidence, it is always better to calibrate toward more accurate levels of self-insight and self-awareness by looking outside of yourself rather than focusing on your own thoughts and feelings. We often associate self-awareness with intense introspection and self-consciousness, but the best way to improve in this area is to become more open to other people’s perspectives. You don’t need to spend a year in an ashram or attend a meditation retreat to discover your true self. Basically, pay attention to what other people are saying, especially when they are taking the time to provide you with accurate and honest feedback on your performance, and do so even if it means confronting aspects of your reputation that are unsettling to you.
Following this advice may not result in a belief in yourself on the level of a fairy tale, but you can be confident that you will be able to build a level of confidence that is grounded in reality and grows as you gain more skills.
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