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Debunking Myths 4 – There’s a Fine Line Between Confidence And Arrogance

tightrope
Arrogance. It’s the thing that separates the can-do’s from the can-do-way-better-singlehandedly-with-my-eyes-closed’s, and it’s the quality that rubs you up the wrong way faster than an amorous Edward Scissorhands.

Common perception is that there’s a fine line between being confident and being arrogant, when in fact the gap between them is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

But I have to admit to times when someone’s screwed up or dropped the ball when I’ve been known to say, “Yet another reason why I should run everything”.

The thought that I could have done it better, faster or with less of the smelly stuff hitting the fan leads me to a place of hubris, where I elevate myself to a place of peerless effectiveness and achievement.

Let me tell ya, I’m good, but I’m not that good.

Even worse (and I hope I haven’t been guilty of this one) is when people prioritize bluff and bluster over content and insight, preferring to pull the wool over peoples eyes rather than own up to a mistake, tell stories and point fingers to paper over their own cracks and be happy to dodge responsibility until it’s time to claim a victory.

This “bluff and bluster” flavour of arrogance is nothing more than hiding behind an edifice of effectiveness out of fear that you’ll be truly seen, a thought that strikes terror into many of us. The natural defence mechanism to the fear of being seen is to build protective walls that stop you being vulnerable, and the arrogant paint those walls and use bluff and bluster to try to persuade people that how those walls are painted are who they really are.

In this way, sometimes the people with the highest opinion of themselves are often the ones with the lowest self-esteem.

So when I see people talking about someone who’s “too confident”, bordering on arrogance or erecting a massive tower in their name in the centre of Hubris, the capital city of the land of Arrogance, I’m keen to debunk the link between the two ideas.

ARROGANCE IS NOISY AND NEEDS OTHERS TO EXIST.
CONFIDENCE IS QUIET AND NEEDS ONLY TO BREATHE.

Confidence is round and whole, and establishes a foundation of trust based on that roundness and wholeness. Arrogance is dissonant behaviour that’s disconnected from that foundation, based instead on the need to prove your worth, gain recognition or establish control.

Being “too confident” doesn’t start straying into arrogance. It’s not even possible to have too much of it. To operate from confidence will always be plenty; there’s no 110%.

Control, recognition, status and validation are phantoms that can lead you into arrogance. You don’t need to chase them.

You’re just peachy without them.

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