Confidence vs Arrogance

The constant battle for anyone who is truly good at what they do is to find a balance between coming across as confident or arrogant.  I once had a professor who was reviewing my graduate school application say, “You sound a little arrogant in your application letter…I like it.”

I think most people will praise confidence but might detest arrogance. It is often tough to take one without the other though.

The truth of the matter is, people who are the best at what they do got their because they had tons of confidence. They were constantly telling themselves they were the best. And sometimes that confidence can sound like arrogance. Every professional athlete, Nobel Prize winner, or President of the United States faced adversity at some point in their life. They overcame it and rose to the top because they were confident and probably a little bit arrogant. Confidence is so important. It drives how you present yourself and can be the difference between success and failure. In sports, confident players want to control the game, therefore they do. The players who lack confidence don’t want the pressure, so they don’t get the opportunities to make big plays. It is the same in so many other areas of life – confident guys get prettier girls, confident students test better and as a result get better grades, confident presenters win the prizes (sometimes this can be investment money, sometimes an election). The point is, confidence is important and if it has to come with a downside in the form of some arrogance, I say take it.

If I had to choose an employee for my company or a player for my team, I would always pick the confident candidate that might be tied with some arrogance over the insecure candidate who might fold under pressure. All other things equal, the confident candidate will rise to the top more often.