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.
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’.