We all know that in order to be successful, you have to be confident. You have to have confidence in yourself, your abilities, and that you’ll be able to handle whatever life throws your way.
However, when does confidence become arrogance?
What is the difference between going confidently in the direction of your dreams versus having an exaggerated sense of self-importance?
How do you know when you’re being confident and an inspiration to others versus being arrogant and a pain in the butt to those around you?
Confidence comes from the self-belief that you have what it takes to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals. Confidence is comparing yourself ONLY to who you once were when you first started on your journey.
Arrogance comes from feeling better about yourself as a result of comparing yourself to others who you feel are less successful. Arrogance is actually self-doubt veiled as confidence because arrogant people only feel confident when they have others to look down on.
How To Know If You’re Confident or Arrogant
The next time you feel confident, here are 3 questions to ask yourself to see if it’s genuine confidence or arrogance:
1. Who are you comparing yourself to?
When it’s time to reflect on your past accomplishments, make sure to also acknowledge where you currently are and where you’d like to go. Are you feeling great about yourself because you realize how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned? Or are you defining your success by how much more you’ve done than others?
Confident people only compare themselves to who they once were at the beginning of their journey. They look inward in order to see what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what they’ve learned along the way in order to keep going. They’re honest with themselves and with others that they’ve made plenty of mistakes. They see their mistakes as opportunities to grow, learn, and improve.
Confident people know that it’s useless to constantly gauge one’s success by comparing themselves to others. They know that every individual’s path to success is unique and the only person’s success they need to be responsible for is their own. Confident people focus on the journey and appreciate the process much more than the outcome.
Arrogant people gauge their level of confidence based on comparing themselves to other people. They feel validated not from within, but from seeing how much more they’ve done than others.
Arrogant people often focus more on the outcome than the process. They may have had some extraordinary outcomes as a result of their work, and they look down on those who have not experienced similar high levels of results.
2. Are you willing to fail?
Confident people are not afraid to fail. In fact, they embrace it. Confident people have a growth mindset knowing that if they don’t learn to fail, they fail to learn. Confident people know that they will mess up, and they don’t see failure as an indication of their self-worth. Just because they fail, doesn’t mean that they’re a failure.
Confident people take bigger risks because they aren’t afraid to fail or look stupid. They’re not the least bit concerned about being judged by others because they wholeheartedly believe in what they do. And when one wholeheartedly believes in what she does, she doesn’t have time to focus on others’ judgments of her.
Even when confident people have reached the height of their personal and professional goals, they keep going because they are lifelong learners. They yearn to learn more and be more. They have a humility about them because they know there are not enough resources in the world to be able to learn all there is to know about life.
Arrogant people do not like to fail. They may have made many mistakes to get to where they are now, and they don’t want to make anymore. After all, making mistakes will undermine their feeling of importance and superiority over others. They don’t want to look stupid, so they’d rather stick to what they know and only do what they’re already good at.
Arrogant people fear failure and avoid it all costs. If they fail at something, they feel that they are a failure. If they keep making mistakes, they believe that they must not be good at it. They will drop it in order to find the quickest way to perform well and look smart.
They’re always looking to one up everybody. What better way to do that thanby choosing things to do where they’re guaranteed to win? For the arrogant folk, it is more important to win than to learn. For this set, they’d rather be right than be kind.
3. Do you ask for and offer help?
Confident people understand that it’s not possible to achieve their dreams without the help of others. They are constantly seeking feedback in order to learn how to improve.
Confident people love having mentors and learning from those who have been there before. They don’t see asking for help as a sign of weakness, they see it as a sign of strength.
Confident people embrace their vulnerability and weaknesses because they accept that they have flaws. They know that the only ways to improve their flaws are to accept and embrace them. After all, how can one get better when he’s not aware of what he needs to work on?
The confident ones are also quick to lend a helping hand. Since they appreciate all the help that they’ve received along the way, they enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. They’re not secretive about what they do or how they do it because they know that opportunities are limitless.
Arrogant people think they can do it all on their own and rarely ask for help. They see little point in asking for feedback since they don’t make mistakes in the first place.
They hoard their practices and knowledge in fear that others will steal their ideas. They got to where they are on their own, so others should fend for themselves as well.
The next time you’re wondering if you’re being confident or arrogant, check in with these three questions.
If your feeling of high self-worth is coming from the satisfaction that you’re better than others, the ability to avoid failure well, and the unwillingness to give or receive assistance, then you most likely are arrogant and seem to be the last one to know.
After all, arrogant people lack self-awareness. If you seriously think your confidence has crossed over to arrogance, ask a trusted friend or colleague. Believe me, if you’re being arrogant, they’ve noticed.
If your feeling of accomplishment is coming from within, you’re excited to make your next mistake, and you can’t wait to learn from others, then you most likely have a genuine self-confidence that will take you far on this adventure called life.