Confidence vs. Cocky


I don’t think there has ever been a better time in my life than right now to discuss the very narrow, and often blurred, line between being confident and being arrogant. Being English, I’ve been brought up to believe that you shouldn’t talk about you’re positive attributes and achievements, and to do so can be rude and arrogant. However, in the last year I’ve come to realise that this has been a hindrance to my life.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been going for quite a lot of job interviews lately. Some of these interviews have been group ones, with team tasks, and some just a normal panel interview. Last year I noticed that my friends who were from a different country were progressing a lot faster and more successfully than I, despite me having higher academic grades. The only difference I noticed was that they were so much forward with their confidence in their ability than me.

It made sense that an employer would want someone who will attempt challenging work rather than someone who doubts there ability at every level. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. Employers only get to base there opinion of you over a short period of time, therefore all they have to go on is what you do and say. If you say nothing, but are silent confident, that confidence may go unnoticed.

For the last year and a half I’ve put my theory to the test and the results have been pretty much unanimous. Since I’ve visibly believed in myself (opposed to just thinking it), the number of opportunities I’ve had in all aspects of my life is incredible. I am now doing my dream job, excelling at university and infinitely happier in myself. All because I turned my back on that traditional value of being confident. 

I will admit that there is a line between confident and cocky and is hopefully one I’ve never crossed. There’s having conviction in your ability and then there’s having an inflated view of yourself. However, the negative attitude surrounding someone who is positive about their characteristics and achievements confuses me. If you’ve worked hard and developed skills and qualifications making you suitable for a role, why are you hiding it like it’s something to be ashamed of? Surely you should be shouting it from the rooftops and be proud, not embarrassed?

It’s a controversial one, but I for one am glad I turned my back on that traditional value, I’m certainly a lot more positive about everything now. Like I said, without believing in my ability I wouldn’t have been as driven at interviews. Funnily enough, my employer stated that it was my drive that made me stand out and got me the job. Aside from that, having confidence has made me happier in general. I’ll try new things not worrying about making mistakes, but if I do, I’ll shrug off then off and learn from them. I belief that I am good enough. If most people want to believe this, why do people have a negative attitude to those who do?

What do you think?