What would the world look like if people had less confidence? In his new book, author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic contends that if people had less confidence, they would begin each day better prepared, there would be fewer arguments and mistakes, company leaders would be less corrupt and we’d all be more competent.
This certainly goes against other assertions that confidence is the cornerstone of any successful person’s life, but Chamorro-Premuzic contends we too often downplay things like talent and hard work.
Recently, Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at the University of College London, discussed his book, “Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt” with Anita Bruzzese.
AB: You say that successful people like President Barack Obama and Sir Richard Branson did not become great successes just because they have confidence. That appears to fly in the face of everything we understand about how we need confidence to be successful. Can you explain?
TCP: There has never been any evidence for those claims in the first place! If you look at the actual research evidence you will see that the correlation between self-perceived and actual abilities is marginal, meaning that confidence is almost totally unrelated to actual competence. Yes, Obama and Branson are no doubt very confident, but there are millions of people in the world who are as — or even more — confident without having achieved even 1% of what they did.
A second important point is that confidence is more influenced by actual competence than vice-versa; so, while it is true that many exceptional achievers are confident, their confidence is a realistic consequence of their actual accomplishments. The simple truth is that achievement is mostly the product of hard work, and people who work really hard do so because they are aware of their limitations – when you feel that you are super competent you will not have any incentive to work hard.
AB: Is there such a thing as having too much confidence? If so, what is the result?
TCP: What do you think? Most fights, accidents, wars, health epidemics, addictions, and financial problems are a direct consequence of overconfidence. Furthermore, excessive confidence threatens self-awareness and self-knowledge. Most (read more here)