Scott H Young

The Power of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated


Zen Garden

Any good self-help book will tell you to be confident. Stand up straight, see past your critics and believe in yourself. I’d like to break tradition and argue the opposite. That humility is a useful tool and confidence can be overrated.

Deluded by Your Own Hype

Whipping yourself into a motivational frenzy may temporarily make you feel better, but it has hidden side effects. The major disadvantages from false confidence are:

  1. Inability to Learn. Too much confidence and you can’t acknowledge faults, weaknesses or ignorance. Learning needs to start from a place of ignorance, and you can’t do that when you already know what is best.
  2. Avoid Humbling First Steps. In this article, I wrote about how “I Suck” moments can create positive changes. The reason is that to get better in a lot of areas, you have to take a step back. A pay cut to work a job you love. Dating failures to find the right relationship. Confidence can actually pull you away from these humbling first steps.
  3. Arrogance Swingback Effect. Faked confidence has an emotional backlash. A tendency of people with low self-esteem is to go from thinking they are fantastic to feeling miserable, all after a minor mistake. Building a house without a foundation won’t create a stable structure. Similarly, building up your ego without the foundation of competence and skills can lead to an emotional collapse.

Humility Is Not Low Self-Esteem

Humility does not imply low self-esteem. If confidence is often faked by positive affirmations about yourself, humility is not created through negative ones. Humility is simply about focusing on the unknown rather than the known.

To illustrate this, take a look at the following diagram:

Confidence/Humility Map

I’m separating all information into three broad categories. The things you know that make you positive, the things you know that make you negative, and the things you don’t know.

Confidence would come from focusing on the positive things you already know. In contrast, humility isn’t focusing on the negative information as it is focused on the overwhelming amount of information you don’t know.

This might sound a little vague, so let me give an example. Let’s say you are planning to start a business. There are three ways you can view the problem:

  • Confident – I’ll be great. I’ve done similar ventures before and kicked ass in all of them. Yay!
  • Insecure – I’ll do horrible. My grade school teacher said I would never amount to anything. Boo hoo.
  • Humble – This is completely new to me and there is still a lot of information I have to learn. Hmmm…

Don’t Ask for Confidence When You Really Need Guts

Confidence, believing things will go well, is a form of delusion. Don’t try to be confident about something when what you really need is courage. Courage is the ability to go forward with something in spite of fear. It is an intellectual conquering of your lower emotional states. I’d suggest reading Steve Pavlina’s manifesto on the subject if you want to learn more.

The best description of courage I can give comes from the book, Feel the Fear… and Do it Anyways. The author describes courage as the ability to know, no matter what happens, I’ll be able to deal with it.

That may sound synonymous with confidence, so I’d like to draw the distinction. Courage is: “no matter what happens, I’ll be able to deal with it.” Confidence is: “everything is going to be great. (because I’m great)”

Social Confidence

Another argument for confidence is that it helps to fake it in social situations. Speakers who admit how nervous they are or guys who complain about their lack of dating skill aren’t likely to succeed. Is a certain amount of faked bravado necessary for social situations?

I’d say the answer is a qualified no. I do believe that faked social confidence can be effective. But the only time I believe that this is useful is when it is masking deeper insecurities. Humility that is based on deeper feelings of competence appears more genuine and is more successful than false confidence.

I believe courage, not confidence, is called for here. I’ve done speeches where I haven’t prepared as much as I should have. Too much confidence resulted in a poorer performance. Having the courage to act looks better than the confidence to boast.

How to Use Humility

The amount you don’t know is far larger than the amount you do. Humility utilizes that space by acknowledging it exists. Here are some ways you can apply humility to improve:

  1. People. Everyone is better than me in some way. More importantly, everyone has something to teach me if I look closely enough. Although I write fairly opinionated articles here, I focus on being more observant in my offline interactions.
  2. Projects. Every project I start has a million uncertainties. Instead of assuming a rigid plan, I leave flexibility to allow new opportunities to come in. Although I have longer term plans for this website, I’m also open to new possibilities.
  3. Passions. When I wrote this article, What Do You Want to Do With Your Life, I was basically advocating taking a more humble stance towards your life directions. Be open to everything and get curious rather than confident.
  4. Productivity. It requires humility to admit you’ve been doing things wrong all along. My traffic tripled in a short period after I made changes to how I wrote articles. That couldn’t of happened if I was too sure of my own methods to change.

Self-Esteem Can’t Be Faked

I think most people would agree with me that deceiving yourself isn’t useful. But I also suspect that isn’t the real motivation to want confidence. Confidence is often equated with self-esteem. Since self-esteem feels good, most people want to be confident merely by the virtue that it will make them feel good.

The problem is that real self-esteem can’t be faked by affirmations and positive thinking. I’ve tried a lot of those techniques myself and the effect is always temporary. The more you build yourself up on false pretenses, the easier it is to crash down.

How do you go about creating self-esteem? The answer is: with a lot of work. Poor self-esteem is really a manifestation of a deeper problem. That problem is you haven’t created a stable inner world that can withstand the storms of the outer one.

Creating deeper self-esteem has mostly come in myself from slowly crafting a life philosophy and understanding. It isn’t easy and I’m nowhere close to being finished. But it is the only method I know of that produces more or less permanent well-being. Whether you choose confidence or humility has little to do with your overall self-esteem.

Exercises in Humility

Where should you go with this information? I think there are a couple things you can start doing to practice humility and see better results:

  • Absorb Your Next Conversation. Talk less during your next conversation and just absorb what the other person is saying. Probe them for information and really learn from them. It is amazing what people know if you stop to listen.
  • Try a New Activity. Don’t be too confident in knowing your likes and dislikes. Try a completely new activity in the next few days. As a quiet introvert, I went to a Toastmasters meeting on a whim. Now I love it.
  • Try a New Method. How do you study? Write? Exercise? Sleep? Socialize? Try something different.

Don’t be too sure you have all the answers or you might not find new ones.


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49 Responses to “The Power of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated”

  1. Quint says:

    I think you are addressing an important point here. There is no technique that can cover up for a lack of self esteem. But humility can’t be faked either. Attempting to “act out” humility without the underlying character leads to people being doormats.

    True humility requires self esteem. It comes from a deep confidence in who you are, and what you are capable of. It requires the courage to stand back when you could stand out.

    As you said, self-esteem come slowly, built on an understanding of self and others.

  2. Scott Young says:

    Quint,

    True. Humility can’t be faked either. But I think humility is an easier jump than extreme confidence. Moving to a state of curiosity and respect is more stable than trying to make yourself feel great.

    That said, it has to be a slow, internal shift. It isn’t about appearances.

    -Scott

  3. Chris says:

    I make a distinction between temporary, emotional, “psyched up” confidence and the more longterm, stable confidence that comes from a logical assessment of your abilities (and concluding they’re good).

    The first type seems more likely to make you feel overconfident and deluded – you’re riding a fleeting, ‘psych up’ high.

    With the second ‘logical assessment’ kind, you’re more likely to have a reasonable idea of where you stand. You may not be the best in the world, but you’re calmly certain of your ability level.

  4. Scott Young says:

    Chris,

    A commenter on this site once made the critical distinction for me. He said that general optimism is better than specific optimism. That is, feeling that everything will work out is better than believing a specific incident will work out.

    I believe the same is true of confidence. Core self-esteem and confidence in your abilities to handle life situations and general skills is better than specific confidence attached to the outcomes of particular events.

    I thought I’d write about humility since it is often seen as a detraction, rather than an asset in Western culture.

    -Scott

  5. Mary says:

    Scott,
    I’ve heard about humility in this vein before, but you nailed the illustration better than any I’ve seen. I’d always perceived it as being meek or timid, almost. Instead, you have put a different picture in my mind….thank you.

  6. Derrick says:

    Interesting post. I think too many people confuse humility with poor self-esteem.

    One thing, though. I think that confidence is essential to achieve the true humility that you talk about. I don’t really fully agree with the definition of confidence you used: “# Confident – I’ll be great. I’ve done similar ventures before and kicked ass in all of them. Yay!”. I think that’s more of arrogance. Confident people would be open to learning new things. Just my thoughts.

  7. Kali says:

    Sometimes my conceit decieves me into thinking I’m humble! But, boy is it a blow to actually be honest with myself in real life and discover, wow, I’m not so humble as I’d like to believe. But you also learn things from honesty – namely the importance of compassion, of what you were speaking of, of all that we don’t know. Reading a book last night I came across a definition of humility as “…a sense that history was around them, not within them.” I think this could be useful for me to consider before or I lose myself in emotional ra-ha moments.

  8. [...]   Scott H Young » The Power of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated [...]

  9. Diego says:

    Humility MUST be present to learn. May I suggest the works of Idries Shah?

  10. Gary says:

    Well done Scott,

    Good job taking on the confident ego and self promotion paradigm that people can get caught up in.

    In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins he outlines some of the characteristics of great leaders in business. One of the key characteristics is humility.

    I like the way you describe humility as relating to the action of allowing one to focus on the unknown. I’d suggest another element to that description. There isn’t a focus on the self (thoughts of “I” and “me”) because there isn’t a self image in the mind. There isn’t a self image of being better than anyone else, and there isn’t a self image of being less than anyone else. A person is less fake, and more real when they drop both of those false images. It also makes life a lot easier when they do.

    Thanks,

    Gary

  11. [...] Scott H Young » The Power of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated Humility is the first step to confidence. When facing a new challenge, remember to be humble and teachable. [...]

  12. mak says:

    Courage: no matter what happens, I’ll be able to deal with it
    Arrogance: everything is going to be great (because I’m great)
    Confidence: I can do this

  13. [...] of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressYou must log in to post acomment. [...]

  14. Jake says:

    I respectfully disagree with your article.

    I think you’re blurring confidence with arrogance, or self-delusion. True confidence is neither of these things.

    Have you noticed how it’s often the most talented people who doubt themselves the most? I don’t think this is a coincidence. We’re taught from an early age that modesty is admirable and that it’s impolite to sing our own praises. The result is a generation of adults who doubt themselves and accept their limits.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of the world’s greatest achievers have utter confidence in themselves: Muhammed Ali, Lance Armstrong, Michael Johnson, Tiger Woods, Larry Ellison, Donald Trump…

    I think confidence – not arrogance – is an incredible, positive power in our lives and should be encouraged and fostered at every possible opportunity. Being humble – not standing too proud, not speaking too loud – benefits no one.

  15. Scott Young says:

    Jake,

    Perhaps it is different ways of looking at the same thing. Interesting points.

    -Scott

  16. [...] The Power of Humility – Do I change my opinions? Frequently. Here’s an example where I’ve gone back and forth. Let me state my current opinion for the record: Humble confidence is the goal. Where you are secure and unafraid to take action, but you are completely open and humble to the potential for opportunity and being wrong. I feel the latter is too easily neglected. [...]

  17. Aatash says:

    One of my favorite quotes, that kind of represents finding the balance between humility and confidence:

    “Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you. ”
    -Nicholai Velimirovic

  18. [...] on a related note, here’s another article from Scott about humility. Being humble can open you up to so many new and different things, because you can admit you [...]

  19. Jonathan says:

    That’s a great article dealing with a very important subject. Very important in this day of the me-first go-getting career forwards attitude. What would have made it even better for me would to have not tried to make a pejorative distinction between confidence and humility. Arrogance and humility, absolutely, yes, and most of the example you give of confidence are more in keeping with an American idea of confidence but an English idea of the blow-hard. I see confidence and humility in combination, in fact, describing the same thing when genuine confidence, the confidence to admit ones inner sense of humility speak for itself, is better understood.

    It’s interesting that jake has stepped in with a remark that lacks humility, the “I’m right” attitude. I equate humility more with an “I’m curious” attitude. Although like jake, it’s coming across that I have a great deal of difficulty with showing humility even when I’m feeling it because “I know what I’m talking about” is a bit closer to the comfort zone of wanting to be beyond disrepute that males, like me, find easiest to fall into. I am just realising just what a social dead-beat this belief produces.

    But it does take an expert and well trained mind to understand that genuine humility does not imply pandering to people nor being self-deprecating which is another get-out that people tend to prefer to humility. In effect, it allows the person applying themselves in that way to effectively become showy about not being arrogant. Humility is an interest in the welfare, well-being and persona of other people that doesn’t mean excluding oneself.

    It does mean that true humility means having a courageous attitude. My own feeling is that the time when this attribute is most called for and most difficult to express is when I find myself in the company of people who I secretly think are simply better human beings than I am.

    Most people who learn to wear a cloak of bravado end up being trapped in unhappy mediocrity.

    It is interesting that jake’s article cites many people which may have confidence in their abilities. This is crossing a boundary on the possible interpretation of the word “confidence” which isn’t the one given in the article though. Humility doesn’t mean thinking you’re a rubbish human being. I don’t know about the others but Tiger Woods is celebrated for his sportsmanship but honoured for his humility which is often thought of as the definition of sportsmanlike behaviour, as compared to competitive behaviour. Donald Trump has said that the worst thing that can happen in a negotiation is when your potential business partner starts thinking he is inferior. It appears in his book “The way to the top” under the title “Change your altitude”, and by ‘altitude’ he means an attitude devoid of big-headedness. A man I admire, the inventor genius of the world-wide-web, the information sharing protocols on which services just like this internet page are built, describes himself as “A public servant”, now that’s humility! Imagine how much good could be achieved if certain presidents thought of their role more in this way?

  20. Jonathan says:

    I’ve Just read line from the wikipedia definition of the word “courage”, which can be said “Audacity kills”. And goes on to say “Gentleness spares”. I think the value of a word like humility is easier to sell to women, who understand it’s value, than men who’d rather be forthright because they equate it with masculinity. Equate humility to a special powerful form of courageousness and us men may find it easier to follow. You can have, as your rubric for humility “The courage to be gentle”. (you heard it hear first folks! :)

  21. Scott Young says:

    Jonathan,

    Great comments, thanks for stopping by the site!

    -Scott

  22. [...] have doubts that complete confidence is the answer. Yes, there may be some psychological benefits to believing [...]

  23. Henry says:

    in order to protect my future self from becoming corrupted I have decided to focus on being humble throughout this next month.

    Would it bother you to sign a copy of your book and send it to Sweden?
    / Henry

  24. omar says:

    Without belief in yourself you cant possibly be successful. I ve notice once i stop thinking positive thoughts, negative fearful thoughts creep in to my mind, and the only way to erase those thoughts is with positive affirmations of confidenc. Tell me what you think of my comments. THank you.Omar

  25. Jeroen Visser (Netherlands) says:

    Very impressive this article!
    I have read it several times till now and every time I discover new “ways of viewing”.
    I’m still thinking of this extremely, interesting insight: “Humility is not low Self – Esteem” ! (at least in my opinion).

    Thank you anyway and you gained a new admirer.
    The comments are interesting as well!

    Paz,

  26. Shaundra says:

    Wow. Talk about understanding. Where can I find you? :P

    On a more serious note, I agree. Not only with this entry, but all of the entries of yours thats I’ve read. Lovely mind.

  27. Jonny says:

    Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts on this subject. More and more over-confident people are popping-up everywhere but there’s altogether very little competence to be found anywhere.

    Confidence seems to promise all sorts of guarantees in life, but just wait until you run your own business and hire people to work for you; or even purchase your own place and bring-in renters. Wisdom will hit like a chilly ocean wave when these people reveal who they are.

    “fake it ’till you make it” has become something like religious scripture in pop-culture. Too many people rely on how another person makes them feel (whether on a date or in an interviewing room) and not nearly enough time and attention is given to logical, dispassionate and analytical appraisal. This would require knowing precisely what you need without going awry existential; not an easy task. I think the reason people resort to feeling is simply because it’s easier. That’s all fine and well but survival and easy-street? come on, just do the math.

    Yo-Yo Ma, Steve Balmer and Tiger Woods were all asked the same question: What do you attribute your success to? Their answers were unanimous: practice and perseverance. They did not mention an entitled sense of giftedness or self-serving confidence.

    “The Power of Perseverance: Why Talent is Overrated”
    Next blog perhaps?

  28. Len says:

    Very insightful! It is exactly what my teacher taught me when I was still a school kid. It helped me to overcome so many challenges.

    My school teacher said to me once “Not knowing that there are so much that we don’t know is the best recipe for failure.”

    I have forgotten how rewarding it was to succeed with humility. Today’s society regards confidence as more valuable than humility. Confidence (not arrogance) and humility should compliment each other.

    Thank you for reminding us of the old wisdom!

  29. Jamie S says:

    I think there are good and bad types of confidence. I think the type of confidence that you are brainwashed to be by the media, commercials, talkshows, dating books, magazines, ect is definitely the bad type of confidence. While there is nothing wrong with believing in yourself (good type of confidence) it is very normal and very human to be nervous in many social scenarios, dating, or anything for that matter. This in-crowd fueled brainwashing to never show any signs of nervousness or uncertainty is so unhuman that it is pretty much robotic.

    I made a success out of my life from a horrible childhood and the keys were the belief in myself, being cautious, believing i could do something WHILE carefully weighing in the potential circumstances and not just blindly believing i could do it not only helped me to succeed in what i do but to be WAY better at what i do then my more confident co-workers.

    I also know many guys who are very confident in themselves but are the biggest bums, losers, and talk a real alot and are good at making talk but when it comes to walk the walk can’t really do much of anything except at having the confidence of making talk. One thing i could never understand especially when it comes to women liking the “confident” guys is how you can just go by their confidence to approach you and make talk with yous but don’t really have the ability to actually do anything impressive at all. How can you like a guy who is confident that he can do anything he wants but don’t have the ability to really do any of it?

    It comes down to this with anything in life, the single biggest factor, in fact a million times more important then confidence is MOTIVATION. You need to be motivated or passionate about something long before confidence can ever be an issue, how can you have a lack of confidence in something if you really don’t want to do it to begin with? You need motivation, then confidence with caution, (after all you have to believe in yourself to some extent, just not overly so), and to be humble, the only people who would disagree with what i’m saying are the ones with bad intentions or the ones only looking out for themselves.

    You can make the choice in life to never do anything because you don’t believe in yourself or have no motivation. You can make another choice where you let everyone else dictate how you act or live or what type of people you should like and put on an overconfident front to impress, or you can make the decision to think for yourself, stand up for whats right, and do something that truely motivates you and go for it. Like anything else in life confidence can never be automatic but has to come gradually over a period of time through experience.

    I find this philosophy works real well for me because most people ask me for advice instead of someone else and even though i definitely am not a very outgoing person i get girls who are after me all the time, without me even trying. Not everyone will like you and you have to accept that as well. I am happy because i am me and not taking advice on how i should act to begin with.

  30. Jamie S says:

    I think your article on this topic was great, you took the words right out of my mouth long before i even heard of you. I was reading other comments on this issue at other websites and was very disappointed in what most of them said about confidence. You hit the nail right on the head with describing the difference between confidence and courage. You say that confidence is: believing you can blindly do something which i termed as (bad confidence) in my previous article, and you said courage is: the ability to go forward in spite of fear, which in my first article i termed the (good type of confidence).

    I noticed how a person on this site and many other people on other sites on this topic say it like: confidence= i believe i can do this and will go forward because i believe in myself, and their definition of arrogence= i believe i can do this because i’m great.

    I always notice that the people who try to sugarcoat confidence as being a good thing when they say confidence is: i believe i can do this, notice what they almost always leave out of that definition: i believe i can do this IN SPITE OF FEAR. According to these confidence pushing pundits if you feel fear that means you don’t believe in yourself, and most definitely NEVER SHOW FEAR OR UNCERTAINY to other people, especially your date or interveiwer for a job.

    Uncertainy and fear are completley normal human reactions to dealing with life in a healthy and productive way as long as they are not too overwhelming. I’ve been working as an electrician for the last 13 years and i work with high voltages in electrical systems and machines alot and when i started to get too confident i almost got killed, several times. Each time i got overconfident and hurried. I learned to have FEAR AND RESPECT for the electricity and not just confidence by itself.

    Its all about getting back on the horse after falling off because you are motivated to, (IN SPITE OF FEAR), like you said about courage. You need confidence: to do it, curiousity: to learn more while doing it, fear: to not do something stupid while doing it, and motivation: to want to do it to begin with.

    You are right about being humble as well, its not about to never stand out and stand proud, its about knowing when to and when not to and that takes courage not confidence. Being humble does not hold you back from acheiving greatness, like that one person said, rather it allows you to carefully evaluate whats in front of you so you can make a decision that is right for you, because we are all different and we all have things that interest us, and things we don’t find interesting. That’s the problem with confidence by itself, you think you should have the ability to do anything that gets thrown in your face instead of evaluating what is worth your while to try to begin with. Some of the most intelligent people in history were very humble. However not every successful person was humble, again every person is different.

    Scott is right, confidence is overrated, it needs to be an EQUAL balance of confidence, curiousity, fear/respect, and motivation in my opinion. It is motivation, not confidence being the big one here, you can’t have confidence without motivation and curiousity can lead to motivation. Motivation, not confidence is the very fuel of your existance.

  31. shubha says:

    Good post. I stumbled upon it today and am enjoying reading every post. Humility is one of the important traits to realize self and its potential. thanks.

  32. tdipaolo says:

    I have been researching the topic of humility because I want to teach my kids about it. However, there is quite a diversity of opinion on what it means to be humble, even among great thinkers and philosophers.

    Your view of the notion is the msot meaningful I have found, but I am still uncertain I understand what the concept means or that “Humility” is what integrates what I am looking for.

    I am looking for the thought that wil allow me to tell my kids how to be in life, how to be in the face of a challenge, in the face of achievement and success, how to be in the company of other human beings no matter where they may seem to stand relative to them.

    This is the guiding principle I am looking for. Does humility encapsulate it, and it is a positive, construtive concept? Or do we need another term to contain the meaning that you seem to refer to in your article, and which is the meaning we are looging for?

    I know what I see in my mind, and what I wish to express to my kids, but I do not know how to say it, and I do not know if “humility” describes it.

  33. tdipaolo says:

    Scott,

    as I re-read your article, it occurs to me that your description of humility under “Humility Is Not Low Self-Esteem”, centered around the “unkown” does feel right, and it is likely one of the aspects of the concept that I am trying to form in my mind.

    But I agree with Derrick and Mak regarding the meaning of confidence. I believe confidence is a good quality. If one says “I have looked at what we have to do, at what the risks are, and at our capabilities, and I believe we can succeed”, to me, that is a show of confidence (trust) in one-self and in others. One may also miscalculate the risks or capabilities and because of it be overconfident and pay a price for the error. But his/her overconfidence is not a weakness per se because the motives and attitude behind are not wrong. But if ones says “I’ve done this before and I can get us through it!” with a self-centered or patronizing manner and without connection to reality, then that is arrogance – not confidence or overconfidence.

    Still, my question remains about humility. Is there a definition of it we all could agree with; is it good or is it bad?

  34. Nell says:

    I love this article. I believe humilty is the calm acknowledgement of our limitations : I acknowledge that I don’t know, I acknowlegde that I cannot. It actally unlocks our personal power and makes us confident. This is why I do not oppose humulity and confidence. I don’t think that a balance should be found between the two. I believe that humility is the mother of confidence.

  35. I make a distinction between temporary, emotional, “psyched up” confidence and the more longterm, stable confidence that comes from a logical assessment of your abilities (and concluding they’re good).

    I think what you’re describing at the end is “self-efficacy”.

  36. Da says:

    This is an interesting article. I was just having thoughts about how confidence is actually overrated, which I have never thought about before…Its kinda like a discovery for me. Then I googled and wanted to see if there are already such discussions. And there you are..
    And I also want to point out that sometimes its not easy for some people to fight the faked confidence, especially when they are around a bunch of “talented” people, who might or might not be actually talented, but give u the impression that they are. Very often what happens in this kind of enviroment is, when u dont stand out even in a faked way, u simply get ignored…
    Anyway, in my personal opinion, its often difficult for fresh people to learn to be humility rather than faked confident…It usually takes time for us to observe and understand what is going on under the surface..and surely at the same time to build up or realize ur own strength, till one point, it comes in a natural way to get there where u can express urself in a humility way with actual confidence inside.

  37. I agree that humility is good. Though it reminds me of a quote: “Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” – Frances de Sales

  38. chloe says:

    Humility is when you know your limitations, and then you have the courage to drop them.

  39. You know Scott, you and I think the same. I’ve written an article about this:

    http://www.socialnatural.com/2010/the-myth-about-confidence-how-to-truly-build-confidence/

    My definition of confidence is it’s nothing more than the absence of fear. You can be confident for one day, but that doesn’t mean you will be confident the next. Being skilled in whatever you’re doing is much more important, than way, you will have the skill to back up that confidence every time.

  40. vitor(Portugal) says:

    I did enjoy your article.
    It was very useful to me and very appropriate, specially today. Humillty is self knowledge. When You know exactly what you are. Is not when you thing you are more than what you are(pride) or less than what you are (low self esteem).

  41. Brian H says:

    I agree with your take on humility. It’s the difference between a performance and mastery mindset, or preserving the ego versus focusing on others. I like the distinction of; wanting to improve or prove yourself.

  42. Sydeny S. says:

    I agree with Social Nature. Plus, confidence is also in context and circumstantial, as it works like faith. Our culture tends to prop up this magical “fake” confidence sort of similar to what Mr. Young mentioned. Confidence is not the end all (especially like the law of attraction) be all, not like skill, ability, or actual value to something. Confidence is not going to put someone who only weighs 140 pounds and only runs 5.3 speed into a competitive pro league or college football team, and has very low stamina, typically stands a small chance of making it in such an environment. ON a more extreme side, what if someone wants to fly like Superman. All the confidence and mental barriers taken away is not going to make that happen. Superman can do it in the comics, because it just is.

    In given circumstances, when it comes to having a certain physical appearance, your confidence is irrelevant to people’s stares or discrimination treatment, if you are disfigured, have a certain skin tone (simply darker skin or even a more rare blue or purple skin), a transsexual or transgender person, you might dress a certain way, like in goth or like a circus clown, or if you are in an uncommon religion with an unusual manner of clothing. You could have all of the confidence and ability in the world, yet you can still suffer from overt discrimination when it comes to service, finding a job, getting in people’s favor, shunned by your own family, or not be ridiculed behind your back. Sometimes, you do not necessarily need confidence, you just to be in a better circumstances, in this case, maybe a better community or society of people, which allow you to be yourself without barriers. I’m sorry, but confidence does not cure all.

    I agree with what Captain Kirk said to Charlie X in an episode of Star Trek, “There’s million things in the universe you can, and there’s million things you can’t have.”

    You just cannot have everything you want, or desire. That’s just the way things are, like reality manifests things, like death, tragedy, frigid weather, and ruined azaleas.

  43. BottCluck says:

    Really I think confidence and arrogance are the same thing. The only way to have true confidence all the time is to be truly delusional all the time. All confidence exhibits at least a mild level of arrogance. Really, I don’t get why people place such importance on how they feel about the unknown instead of just living your life.

  44. Sajid says:

    Dear Scott

    I discovered humility 6 or 8 months ago, many people miss the magic that is contained in humility. Humility is the path of spiritual growth.

    Arrogance is a bane and it is insidious, we delude ourselves by calling arrogance, confidence or pride. The Universe humbles arrogant people on a regular basis. However, one has to have eyes to see that. Moreover, many so called successful personalities quoted in the comments have been humbled.

  45. Raja says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article.
    I’ve a problem of constant fear & vulnerablity (being a HSP & disturbed childhood). I’ve strong feeling that if I could develop humility from within, I willl become much more fearless.

    But I’m not able to find enough research & studies on internet, done on Humility & how to cultivate it.

    Could you help me to give some guidance & exercises, how can I practise humility ?

    regards,
    Raja

  46. Tony says:

    Hello,

    Humility is a powerful state of being. Humility replaces the focus on self with a focus on others ,but does not deny the self in any way. False humility and self esteem is easily recognized by others. A heathy genuine person seeks a balance .

  47. To All Contributors,

    First and foremost, thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge of the subject matter. I’ve learned a great deal from my fellow professionals which I will put into practice.

    I have forgotten how rewarding it was to succeed with humility. Today’s society regards confidence as more valuable than humility. Confidence (not arrogance) and humility should compliment each other.

    Thanks..!!!

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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