I try not to use the term “over confident.” Cocky is bad and ego is the enemy, but confidence… you just can’t have too much of it!
• the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
• the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
• a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
• conceited or arrogant, especially in a bold or impudent way.
There is a big difference between being confident and being cocky. The idea that you can have too much confidence is something you should get rid of and instead separate confidence and cockiness. Confidence is a good thing, you don’t need a certain amount of it, you need as much of it as you can get. Cockiness on the other hand is a bad thing. You don’t need any of it. I associate cockiness and ego together. You don’t need to be known as a cocky person with a big ego. However, being a confident person, that’s a whole different story.
A great perspective on the difference between ego and confidence comes from Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the Enemy”
“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”
Success breeds success… AKA, success gives you confidence, which in turns helps you to have further success. No one wants to surround themselves with cocky egotistical people. But confident people, that’s a game changer. Give me confident people all day. Give me people whose confidence is based on past success. Give me a confident person, who has put in the work and now has “firm trust” in who they are and what they are capable of… that’s the kind of confidence I like around me.
As we see above in the definition of confidence, “confidence is firm trust.” When is comes to learning how to compete, a powerful perspective is “train it and trust it.” This means you put in the hard work of training in your sport or area of interest and then when it’s “game time” you are able to trust it.
Having a “Growth Mindset” is vital when it comes to confidence. The belief that one can get better and isn’t stuck is paramount to gaining confidence. “I’m just no good at math and that’s just how it is” is not the kind of attitude that leads to confidence. “I’m struggling with math right now, but I know with the right help and effort I can improve” is the kind of growth mindset that allows someone to have the crucial element of “I can get better” that makes for real confidence.
Some of my favorite synonyms for confident are: belief, faith, hopeful, positive, bold, fearless, trust and unafraid. Those are the kind of qualities we could all benefit from not only having more of, but to strengthen the ones we do have.
If you know a young person who would benefit form having more confidence, reach out to me and let’s talk! Instilling confidence is my passion! firstname.lastname@example.org
I highly recommend the booklet “Playing with Confidence” By Bruce E. Brown.