Maybe Humility is the Key, Not Displays of Confidence

Maybe Humility is the Key, Not Displays of Confidence

Confidence is a word that is mentioned a lot, maybe even ad infinitum. Some people think it, or the appearance of it, is one of the defining characteristics that necessitates a productive and fruitful life.

Having confidence in oneself, without arrogance, can make a person comfortable with themselves, and comfortable to be around. Knowing one's value, and what specific good traits they bring to the table is a also definite positive. When true and warranted confidence accompanies other stellar traits like competency and good leadership, it can be a magnet for others to be drawn to, and follow.

And it's probably not unreasonable to say that sometimes we must muster up the appearance of having it, to get through a difficult or awkward situation. Sometimes this is important, because without it, we would miss out on opportunities which we may actually be well-suited to, or can learn to become better doing, if only given the chance. There is such a thing as psyching oneself out, but hopefully confidence wins, vs. caving under pressure.

But in general, is it the most important thing? Unlikely. Especially, false confidence which will only get one so far. The advantages of this run out pretty quickly, as others sniff out the lack of character, skill (or whatever other traits are being displayed.) There are many other traits that are vital - such as expertise, integrity, being respectful and therefore respected. And those things are shown, and earned... with time. There are no shortcuts, no workarounds, no fast tracks to being known as a good person. We can all fail sometimes, but consistency and time are where we earn people's respect, not just by acting confident.

I mention this because I read an article today about therapists and humility (see link below.) And it's not a big leap to extrapolate and relate this to other professional and personal areas of life.

The Takeaways:

Dunning-Krüger Effect:
A phenomenon observed in the 1930s by English philosopher Bertrand Russell whereby the worst performers tend to overestimate their performance, and top performers tend to underestimate. Or said another way, fools and fanatics are often so certain of themselves, while wiser people are full of doubts.

And therapists are no different. "Overconfidence was more typical of those therapists who were rated to be less competent by an independent expert rater. In contrast, other studies have found that it’s the therapists who rate themselves more negatively who are typically judged the most competent by independent experts... The more modest or conservative a therapist’s estimation of their clients’ progress (relative to their clients’ actual improvement), the more their clients’ symptoms had reduced and their quality of life had increased."

"At a time when people tend to think that their value is based on how confident they are and that they must ‘sell themselves’ in every situation, the finding that therapist humility is an underrated virtue and a paradoxical ingredient of expertise might be a relief."

What Does Humility Connect To?

* The willingness to listen is probably central in explaining why humility is beneficial.

* A humble attitude makes a person open to feedback and mitigates assumptions.

* A willingness to self-correct when needed.

* Humility combined with competency creates respect, not ‘losing face’ or authority.

"Is humility a paradoxical component of expertise? Not really: an expert is first and foremost one who continues to learn – and this seems to apply as much to psychotherapists as it does to other professions. As Joshua Hook, a counselling psychologist at the University of North Texas and the co-author of Cultural Humility (2017), and his colleagues put it recently: ‘At face value, humility may appear to be the opposite of expertise, but we argue that humility is foundational [for achieving clinical excellence].’ Taken all together, the growing evidence for the benefits of therapist humility supports the early observation of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, writing in 1859, that ‘all true helping begins with a humbling’.

Maybe Humility is the Key, Not Displays of Confidence

Maybe Humility is the Key, Not Displays of Confidence
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Most Helpful Girls

  • kymberz
    wow. where do you come up with this stuff and where do i even begin my comment/reply? like i'm still stuck in wow. and of course there are no shortcuts, quick fixes or new fad diet - it takes a lot of work to have to bite the inside of your mouth when a blathering idiot is talking nonsense and you have to smile sweetly and nod? that could get ya fired right there so thank goodness i only ever worked with a few of those! but there are times when you don't want to embarrass by correcting and so you have to be quiet. and everyone wants to talk to you all the time because you listen and remember? how much work goes into just that alone? and people keep thanking you and you wonder did you thank everyone enough? and then you remember someone but the person is right in front of you so they need your attention make a note! humility is the only way to truly help and it's not a road for everyone. but it is always nice to see others try. and then you encourage them - c'mon be a butterfly - flap your wings - go be you! and then you thank God and, hopefully, gracefully enough, for such an opportunity! and then you look for the next chance to thank the Lord again. and this time you'll do it the best! maybe. you hope.
    Is this still revelant?
    • kymberz

      thank you sooo much for Most Helpful Girls! it really makes me feel good - makes my entire day actually! so thank you!

  • SecretGardenBlood65
    Good take.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guys

  • SomeGuyCalledTom
    Confidence is the willingness to test our limits and push them further outwards. Humility is the acceptance that those limits never fully go away.

    I like the diagram showing confidence and humility as a balancing act; with arrogance and self deprecation on the extreme ends.

    Its my observation that people tend to overcorrect. The most self deprecating shy guy often grows up to turn into the most arrogant asshole. And vice versa. So i guess the trick is to find balance between the two. Because confidence needs humility, because humility keeps our displays of confidence focused on productive outlets. Without humility confidence becomes unhinged from any sense of natural limits or checks on behaviour.
    Is this still revelant?
  • Butterfly_ch
    My grandmother used to say that humility is the most beautiful of all human characteristics. Sadly too few people value it these days, most people look for overconfident types and humility is mistaken for lack of confidence, lack of competence or shyness.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Lliam
    Many times, I've mentioned confidence as an important trait. I mainly mean that in regards to willingness to take chances and to stand up for oneself. I think of confidence as walking with straight posture and looking people in the eye when they are talking to you. If you don't look confident, you look like a doormat or a victim. And confidence allows you to take chances even if you are afraid.

    When I was young, if a teacher or employer asked for volunteers, I was the first to raise my hand. I found that whatever the volunteer job was, it was almost always better than what I had been doing. And it raised my esteem in the eyes of the asker. I often got promotions that way.
    One time, for example, I was working in a warehouse and the boss asked a group if anyone had ever driven a forklift. I said that I had even though I hadn't. So he put me on a forklift, a forklift operator gave me instructions even though I hadn't asked for any, and I became a forklift operator. Sitting in a forklift and pulling levers was way easier than what I had been doing.

    But I absolutely agree that the willingness to listen is central in explaining why humility is beneficial. A humble attitude makes a person open to feedback and mitigates assumptions. It allows one to self-correct when needed. Humility combined with competency creates respect, not ‘losing face’ or authority.

    Nobody like an arrogant prick, a poser or a blowhard. So humility and a willingness to listen and learn is essential.
  • spartan55
    Very good take, well done. I notice the 'confidence' trait is misused/misapplied pretty often on GaG.
    For me a lack of humility is a deal breaker.

  • Trooper205
    I have a LOT of Humility. In Fact, I'm quite Depreciative at times.
  • SydneySentinel
    I love this message. You are brilliant, my friend.
  • Jjpayne
    I could not agree more! Great message!