As much as confidence is an admirable characteristic, how close do we come to crossing the line into something less aspirational? Let’s consider confidence vs arrogance, and how to make sure we come down on the right side of these most similar – and yet starkly contrasting – traits.
Confidence vs Arrogance: the Definitions of Each
Being confident is an elusive quality, and something many of us spend a lifetime pursuing. You can be confident about anything – your abilities, appearance, or qualities – and yet never become cocky in the process.
Here’s a quote that establishes the contrast in one fell swoop:
‘Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself’.
Often the most arrogant people aren’t confident at all, but they use this narcissistic quality to shield their insecurities. After all, if you continuously remind all the people in your life how awesome you are, they’re never going to guess any different – or are they?
A confident person is self-assured. They know what they bring to the table, and they don’t need any external validation to bolster their faith in themselves.
What Does It Mean to Be Arrogant?
Although it’s easy to mistake confidence with arrogance, the two are entirely different.
Arrogance is a selfish, boastful trait where the person feels driven to brag, exaggerate, and publicize their achievements to anyone who will listen – and often to people who have no interest in doing so.
The key differences between an arrogant and confident person are that:
- Arrogant people have an exaggerated sense of their importance.
- You can see arrogance in people who believe they already know it all.
- An arrogant person will argue black is white, to prove their point.
- Arrogant individuals have no interest in listening to others.
- You won’t need to ask an arrogant person about themselves; they’ll jump right on it.
Although being arrogant can come across as an extraordinary sense of self-assurance, the negativity that goes along with that is toxic.
It’s great to think highly of yourself, but when that comes to the exclusion of appetite for learning or growth, it can be self-destructive.
What Is the Difference Between Confidence vs Arrogance?
There are a few key indicators you can rely on to determine whether you or someone you deal with, is arrogant or just confident:
- Confidence attracts other people – if you’re confident, you’re content in your self-worth, and use this to drive and help others.
- Arrogance excludes others and is used as a way to demotivate and demoralize other people.
- Those who are genuinely confident aren’t comparing themselves to others; they’re happy with what they can achieve, and will often follow their own unique path.
- People who are arrogant feel the need to excel over everybody else, often to the detriment of others. Any success will be shouted down with something more prestigious – whether it is true or not.
- Leaders are almost always confident but bring humility and self-awareness to a team. Arrogant people are usually oblivious to their negative traits and struggle to accept any form of constructive criticism.
All told, we can define the differences as:
Confidence = positive attitude, encouragement of others.
Arrogance = negative attitude, discouragement of others.
How to Be More Confident
One of the hardest challenges is checking ourselves and recognizing when our behaviors slide over to the toxic side of the scale.
It takes a great deal of self-awareness to realize that we’re not the best we can be, but likewise, that is the first step to working on our energy and bringing something positive to the world.
Here are a few ways you can work at being more confident, and perhaps toning back your ambitious nature if you worry that at times, you’re more arrogant than needs be.
1. Back up your confidence with achievements.
Anybody can be arrogant about anything, but conviction requires a tangible level of success to feel comfortable. If you’re confident about your skills, then work for the experience and study that will quantify your feelings, and you’ll be more secure in what you have achieved.
2. Listen more than you talk.
Confident people can share their successes with others and are always willing to listen, support, and help.
If you feel confident but worry that you might sip into arrogance at times, think about how you can use your skills to empower other people. Mentor a trainee, run Q&A sessions, or share your knowledge with the world positively.
3. Work on yourself.
If your arrogance is a way to mask insecurities, or you feel that you have to exaggerate your skills to be accepted, that’s more about your lack of confidence than anything else. Seek support or counseling, practice self-awareness, and work out what makes you feel inadequate.
4. Affirm your sense of self-worth, and write down what you have achieved.
It’s easy to forget that small triumphs in life can be the most powerful, so if you worry that you’re becoming arrogant, try affirming the things you are most proud of. Once you rest assured that those positives cannot be taken away from you, you’re in a much better place to educate others and share your experiences.
As we have seen, there are some big similarities between confidence vs arrogance that can sometimes easily be mistaken for the other.
However, there is a world of difference between feeling in control of your life and empowered to use that for good, and feeling trapped in a cycle of arrogance that isn’t going to lead anywhere worthwhile.
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