Self-Confidence or Arrogance?
Self-confidence and arrogance are often times confused with each other. However, arrogance and self-confidence cannot be further from each other. Individuals who are arrogant build themselves up by putting down others. They operate with an infallible attitude that protects their egos in such a way that perpetuates their arrogance. Where arrogant people look for others to build themselves up, self-confident individuals look inwardly to boost their confidence.
Arrogance and Feeding the Ego
Arrogance is a condition where we overfeed our own egos with rhetoric, mostly from our own thinking or the praise from others. Arrogant individuals are constantly seeking the approval of others to bolster their own positions. I remember when I was starting my career in the military as a cadet. I was insecure, which is one of the cornerstones of arrogance by the way. I remember the head Marine Corps Officer in the unit having a meeting with me and letting me know that I should join the Marines instead of going into the SEAL Teams, since SEALs had a much higher attrition rate than Marines. He also stated that if I were to fail in SEAL Training, I would be headed to a Navy ship instead of a guarantee of becoming a Marine Officer. The answer I gave him was one of the most arrogant answers of my life, and I am not proud of it. I told him, “Why should I settle for second best when I have a chance of becoming the best?” Needless to say, he told me to leave his office and never had another conversation with me again.
Self-Confidence and Killing The Ego
Self-confident individuals are humble, quiet, and get the job done not for themselves, but for the betterment of the organization, family, workplace, or team that they find themselves in. Self-confident individuals train for their respective mission and build internal metrics that they use for measures of success. They do not rely on the adoration of others to bolster their own egos. Self-confident individuals have successfully suppressed, or even killed, their own egocentric views and dependence on others. It is safe to say that we all want to work with self-confident individuals. They are easier to work with than arrogant individuals, and perform at a more competent and lower emotionally charged level as well. So how do we rid ourselves of arrogance?
Arrogance is something that we all fight with because we all, to some degree, have some insecurities. In order to rid ourselves of arrogance, we must become more self-reflective and self-aware. You can start with an After Action Review for your day. How many times did you talk about yourself during the day? Did you listen to others and genuinely interest yourself in other people? Refrain from talking about your accomplishments or even thinking about how good you are at something. Pursue excellence instead of pursuing a “win at all costs and tell others about it” attitude. Learn everything there is to learn about something and execute with flawless excellence. Do this without celebrating outwardly or trying to gain the approval of others. This will bolster your self-confidence, while at the same time detracting arrogance an limiting your chances of slipping down its slippery slope. One last thing, keep yourself in check by accepting you new confidence with a high dose of humility. Self-confidence, if left untamed, can lead to over confidence and then arrogance. I should have simply thanked the Marine Officer and walked out of his office, without putting down the entire Marine Corps by elevating myself beyond his attainment. I look back on that day as a lesson to improve. I am sure we have all had days like that.
“Lean into it!”
Self-Confidence or Arrogance?