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Old January 12th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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The Difference Between Confidence and Arrogance

I was having breakfast with my friend Todd the other morning at one of my favorite hangouts in Puerto Vallarta. Todd made an observation that he believes there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. He had brought up the subject of confidence a few days before so I assumed that it must be something that was on his mind.

While Todd’s statement had a ring of logic to it, I told him that I believed the opposite was true. He was curious what I meant.

I went on to offer my opinion that confidence and arrogance were poles apart rather than separated by a fine line.

Todd is probably like a lot of Nice Guys who are afraid that if they act too confidently, people might see them as arrogant assholes.

Since they don’t know where that fine, invisible line is, Nice Guys stay well behind it. They keep their candle hidden under the proverbial bushel to avoid coming across as brash or cocky.

Here’s the difference between confidence and arrogance – confident men are conscious, arrogant men are unconscious.

A confident man is aware of his strengths and weaknesses but doesn’t get his identity from either. An arrogant man magnifies his strengths, overcompensates for, or hides his weaknesses, and gets his identity from both.

A confident man is aware of the effect of his actions on others. Though he doesn’t seek approval, he acts with integrity, respect and love. An arrogant man is either unaware of, or doesn’t care what effect his actions have on others. His behavior is often disrespectful, self-centered, and unloving.

This is why I suggest the line between confidence and arrogance is miles apart, not microscopic. The only way a confident man would become arrogant is if he completely became unconscious of self and others. That’s not a thin line. While we all lose consciousness in various ways many times a day, the confident man regains consciousness as often as he loses it.

Here are some other differences between confidence and arrogance.

-- A confident man is secure. An arrogant man is insecure.

-- A confident man is internally validated by his actions, not by the results of his actions or the recognition of others. An arrogant man is externally validated by results and the recognition of others.

-- A confident man is unattached to outcomes (he lovingly doesn’t give a fuck). An arrogant man is completely attached to outcomes.

-- A confident man is able to risk, fail, and look foolish. An arrogant man is risk avoidant and never puts himself in situations that might lead to failure or that might make him look foolish.

-- A confident man is willing to repeatedly do whatever it takes to develop his skills (including accepting repeated failures). An arrogant man will only do things he knows he is already good at.

-- A confident man is teachable. An arrogant man already knows it all and bristles at instruction.

-- A confident man can be vulnerable and ask for help. An arrogant man is closed off to help and feedback.

As I was writing the list above, it struck me that if you removed the words “arrogant man” and replaced them with “Nice Guy,” the profile would still pretty well fit (Hmmmmm, unconsciousness).

Something else about confidence -- it isn’t necessarily the result of being really good at something.

For example a dancer with average skills can dance confidently. Not because he is the best dancer on the floor, but because he enjoys the dance, he is willing to stretch himself, and he is willing to learn from each new experience.

Because he doesn’t compare himself to others for validation, an average dancer can dance with great confidence even while surrounded by much better dancers.

Based on my own experience, most women would rather dance with an average dancer who has confidence than with a superior dancer who is unconsciously arrogant.

Let’s apply confidence to approaching women.

Single guys often bring up the seeming catch 22 of confidence and approaching women. They rightly assert that women are attracted to confident men. They then wrongly assert that confidence comes only from success. Since they can’t be successful without confidence and they can’t be confident until they have success, they will never be able to successfully approach and get a woman.

This fallacy is based on the erroneous belief that you have to be successful to gain confidence. This is far from the truth. Just walking up to a woman and talking to her projects confidence -- even if you aren’t feeling confident. It is action that projects confidence and action that increases the odds of success (a woman isn’t going to go out with you if you never talk to her).

How to become more confident

Here are a few suggestions for becoming more confident.

Build a support system. Find a mentor, coach, trainer, or teacher. Don’t try this on your own. Be willing to ask for the help of someone who can teach you effective skills and give you feedback as you practice these skills.

Be willing to face fears and take risks. Keep doing this until the day you die. Remember, confidence comes from action, not results.

Repetition. Be willing to fail and look foolish over and over again. In many ways, confidence can be boiled down to the awareness that you have done something enough times that you know you will handle what ever happens.

Learn from every experience. There are no mistakes or failures, only learning experiences.

Soothe your anxiety. Breathe and tell yourself that no matter what happens, you will handle it.

Consciously let go of attachment to outcome. Learn to lovingly not give a fuck.

As a confident man, you will walk the planet with purpose and passion. Whether you know it or not, you will be a role model to countless others. Confidence has that effect.

Robert

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Old January 12th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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Excellent post Dr. G. When I feel myself getting angry because I feel I'm entitled to something and others should bow to my wishes and never inconvenience me - that's when I know I'm crossing into narcissistic and arrogant territory.

And yes, I agree with your assessment of Nice Guys being egotistical and arrogant as hell. At one point, I genuinely thought I was superior to most of the human race and couldn't figure why people didn't give me the love I deserved - I'm such a polite, fantastic guy, they owe me (especially women)!
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Old January 13th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boricua View Post
Excellent post Dr. G. When I feel myself getting angry because I feel I'm entitled to something and others should bow to my wishes and never inconvenience me - that's when I know I'm crossing into narcissistic and arrogant territory.

And yes, I agree with your assessment of Nice Guys being egotistical and arrogant as hell. At one point, I genuinely thought I was superior to most of the human race and couldn't figure why people didn't give me the love I deserved - I'm such a polite, fantastic guy, they owe me (especially women)!
I know, it is interesting for us Nice Guys to entertain the idea that we might be arrogant when we try to hard to be humble. Also like it is such a shock when we find out how dishonest we actually are.

Robert
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Old January 13th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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After reading this it seems to me that confidence is fueled by positivity whereas arrogance by negativity.
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Old January 13th, 2012, 06:15 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Yes, Dr Glover, I agree confidence and arrogance are miles apart.

Confidence and arrogance spring from two opposite sources. Confidence is the outpouring of a secure heart and a spirit with a clear identity. Arrogance results from an insecure heart that lacks identity. Confidence is rooted in security. Arrogance is rooted in insecurity.

In fact, confidence and humility lie along the same axis. Confidence is what pours forward from a truly humble spirit:

"For a humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact, he is not afraid of anything, even of himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence..." -Thomas Merton
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Old January 18th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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I used to dance, therefor you metaphor of dancing make a lot of sense for me to understand what is confidence. Thanks.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 10:26 PM
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confidence/charisma

arrogance/ignorance
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Old July 4th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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friendly strength

Hi guys,

I really enjoyed this post... thanks Dr G - A lot of your points really resonated with me... As a recovering NG who is rediscovering his masculinty I have struggled to reconcile certain aspects of this process. I'm a strong believer in Buddhist principles, and at times I've found it hard to see how these can co-exist with, for example, learning to be less conflict-avoidant and learning to assert myself and impose my own needs and desires when appropriate...

At the root of this is the impulse to compensate for fears and insecurities with a drive to dominate others; it is fear-based anger and the desire to achieve a sense of strength and safety by imposing myself... Sometimes I may find myself in a situation where it is necessary and appropriate to stand up for myself, even to confront someone on something... The question however is whether I am acting from a place of calm, serene security or from a place of fear-driven anger (which so often manifests in arrogance) The thing i've discovered, is that I can assert my own strength and position in relations with others, and even confront and impose myself (again, when appropriate), without ever bearing the other party any ill-will. In fact it can come from a very loving place.

I used to think that, in my relations with others, I had to choose between being either the dominant alpha male or the 'love-everyone-unconditionally' hippie... In truth, I have found that, once I avoid slipping into what I call the 'fear-anger circuit' that is so often based on misperception and/or festering resentments, I can also relate to others from a very loving and respectful place, without feeling my love necessarily has to be reciprocated... This feels like a more authentic love, as it not based on some sort of covert contract (and the concomitant fear) whereby I expect people to love me back in return for me loving them...

While I'm still learning, and have a long way to go, I can now see that compassion and kindness dovetail very neatly with a strong, confident persona... The Buddhist values of equanimity, non-attachment and self-mastery actually work in perfect synergy with a strong, masculine and even alpha-male outlook... This is what people often refer to as 'friendly strength'..

I hope you're all keeping well today...

All the best,
Lucas
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Old September 13th, 2012, 02:08 AM
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I know, it is interesting for us Nice Guys to entertain the idea that we might be arrogant when we try to hard to be humble. Also like it is such a shock when we find out how dishonest we actually are.
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Old October 6th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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I've been on this forum for a while now, and I always passed over this article because I thought I knew the difference. Man, i was wrong. I like how Dr.Glover pointed out the difference between being good at something and being confident. This is quite eye opening for me.

"confidence comes from actions, not results" - Great stuff.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 01:02 AM
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Needhops - thanks for the reminder. I need to re-read this post at regular intervals. It happens to be perfect for an issue that I'm grappling with at the moment.
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Old October 20th, 2013, 12:38 AM
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The similarity between arrogance and confidence:

They are both better than being a Nice Guy.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 04:43 AM
michaelrussell michaelrussell is offline
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yes, i agree.. the level next to confidence is arrogance...
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Last edited by michaelrussell; September 18th, 2014 at 12:00 AM..
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