Aug 15, 2012


If your confidence is low, rather than extremely low, you stand a better chance of succeeding than if you have high self-confidence. There are three main reasons for this:
Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical: Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases, so they tend to listen to positive feedback and ignore negative feedback. 

To be the very best at anything, you will need to be your harshest critic, and that is almost impossible when your starting point is high self-confidence.

Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more: If you are serious about your goals, you will have more incentive to work hard when you lack confidence in your abilities. In fact, low confidence is only demotivating when you are not serious about your goals.

Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded. Although we live in a world that worships those who worship themselves — from Donald Trump to Lady Gaga to the latest reality TV "star" — the consequences of hubris are now beyond debate. According to Gallup, over 60% of employees either dislike or hate their jobs, and the most common reason is that they have narcissistic bosses.

Lower self-confidence reduces not only the chances of coming across as arrogant, but also of being deluded. Indeed, people with low self-confidence are more likely to admit their mistakes — instead of blaming others — and rarely take credit for others' accomplishments. This is arguably the most important benefit of low self-confidence because it points to the fact that low self-confidence can bring success, not just to individuals but also to organizations and society.

In brief, if you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally to accomplish them. It will motivate you to work hard, help you work on your limitations, and stop you from being a jerk, deluded, or both. It is therefore time debunk the myth: High self-confidence isn't a blessing, and low self-confidence is not a curse — in fact, it is the other way around.


  1. Hmm, that seems contradictory. I feel that I have the smart balance between confidence and self-deprecation... I don't see the benefits of low self-confidence, as I have often noted that those with low self-confidence often miss out on opportunity for fearing to try...

  2. I am going to see if my confidence is more than my body.
    Today I am off to the woods. Sherry just asked if it was still raining? I didn't know it had been. OUCH. it has stopped for now. So I guess I had better get to walking.
    From cold wet New Hampshire. Off to see the wizard...

  3. I'd have to say that I'm with Mark on this one. When I think of someone with low self-confidence, I kind of think "spineless," without the ability to speak up for oneself or the realization that they are capable of doing the task at hand. I think it's possible to be self-confident without being an egomaniac. They used the example of Donald Trump, which I think is a terrible example. He's just a jerk. Think of someone like Bill Gates, who seems to be supremely self-confident, but is able to get things done--and get people to do things for him--without being a total asshole! (Although some might argue with that.)

  4. I LOVE the line, " Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases." I know many people who have. It's an endless rut leading to lots of BAD decisions.


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