The million-dollar question posed by success psychologists, public relation firms, and single youth alike: what is the difference between confidence and arrogance?
Why is confidence so sexy while arrogance is such a turn off?
How come some people get cheered on for being cocky while others are publically torn down for the same behavior?
Is it okay to be cocky as long as you can back it up?
Let us start with the topic of arrogance. How is arrogance defined?
Close your eyes for one minute and think of three different instances where an arrogant person really bothered you. My choices included: a bully, a know-it-all authority figure, and whenever Donald Trump’s vocal cords begin vibrating.
What does the three things you chose and the three things I chose all have in common? Simple. All six cases made either you or I want to walk away or to attack the arrogant person in question.
And that is essentially the definition of arrogance: attitudes or patterns of behavior that communicates to others, “get with me, shut your trap, or fuck you”. Displaying arrogance is issuing a warning or challenge to viewers that you are here to elevate yourself and you don’t mind doing so at the expense of others.
From an evolutionary psychology standpoint, arrogance triggers in others a caveman-type decision-making response: submit, flee, or beat you into your place.
An arrogant person is a taker. He or she, either intentionally or unintentionally, demands that other people hand something over: resources, support, freedom of thought and expression, autonomy, free will, etc.
Now I want you to think of that one confident individual whom you will have no trouble in following to the edge of the world. Is that person a taker or a giver? I presume the person you chose is a provider, a protector, and one whom leads from the front.
Confidence is defined by the faith you have for your abilities, beliefs, capacities, and judgments. From a social standpoint, confidence is your ability to outwardly project self-assurance.
Before we go further, we must realize that there is disconnect between the English language and the language of psychology. The English dictionary may define the word ‘confidence’ in two bullet points. The psychologist, however, has a wider spectrum of possibilities to define, categorize, and interpret this subject.
By my definition of confidence above, an arrogant man can also be classified as confident (albeit an unstable and unattractive variation). I believe that arrogance can be interpreted as an unbalanced, corrupted form of confidence. Arrogance is the ‘dark side’ of confidence; easy and quick to implement and very seductive to use (Yes, I am very excited for VII).
So what then are the characteristics of the ideal confident person? What type of person can become this confident leader-type that attracts followers universally, regardless of culture? How is that person different from the one whom is arrogant?
The answer is that the true confident leader assures other people of his or her vision WHILE offering them the freedom [or the illusion of freedom] to disagree with no relational repercussions.
The confident one attracts strong, intelligent, and loyal followers. The arrogant one attracts the ignorant, the opportunists, the option-less, and the weak-willed.
The confident one is democratic. The arrogant one is tyrannical.
The confident one seeks to persuade, to educate, and to demonstrate. The arrogant one seeks to control and suppress thought.
The confident one listens, learns, takes responsibility, and grows. He or she invites constructive criticism. The arrogant one expects the world to be forcefully bubble wrapped to hide from his or her insecurities. They surround themselves with yes-men.
The confident one understands that there is much to improve upon in all aspects of life. He or she takes risks, endures possible humiliation, and constantly pushes past comfort zones. There is little time to brag. The arrogant one improves only in directions that insure continued dominance and then makes sure that the world sees it. Arrogant people might not ever fail but then again, they never really try.
The confident man provides intelligent, beautiful, talented, and equally confident women the excuse to liberate undergarments. In doing so, he sacrifices neither class nor empathy; the partners of his standard would not allow so regardless. The arrogant man gravitates to the insecure, manipulates the confused, carves notches above his own bed, and then propagates a perverse ideology that all women innately desire to be put into their place.
The confident woman gets shot in the head by the Taliban, gets right back up and into their faces, and fights them by promoting education. The arrogant woman puts on a pound of make-up and exists for the thrill of belittling other women and unworthy suitors.
Whom will you rather follow? Who will you rather become?
Stayed tuned for further articles on the topic of confidence!