Confidence and arrogance - two very different, very conflicting things.

Hello, hello, hello.

Today we’re going to talk about this idea or state or, perhaps most accurately ‘feeling’ called confidence. I believe that confidence is probably the most valuable thing in the world. It’s what makes the difference between excellent and very good, it’s the difference between an A* and an A, a first and a 2:1 – and often the difference between “they’re hired” and “I’m not sure, liked them, there was just something I couldn’t quite put my finger on”.

Before I get to 'ranty' conceptual stuff let me make it really clear what I mean in the paragraph above. Have you ever seen the film ‘Limitless’? If not maybe you’ve seen the film “Lucy”? Well, I highlight these two films as they both have protagonists with a kind of “super brain power”. In Lucy the film ends up getting caught up in its own concept and losing itself. In Limitless it gets quite Hollywood by the end and the finale is pretty dissatisfying, BUT the point still stands that in both those films “regular” human beings suddenly gain extraordinary ability to think, communicate, work, achieve and without any specific physical enhancements they are able to do incredible things because their brains are working in a “super” way. In these films both the “super powers” are caused by some kind of magical new drug.

In my opinion genuine, true confidence can have this sort of effect on you. I believe that whoever wrote these stories would have based them on the feeling that true confidence can give you. It can leave you feeling superhuman, totally present and entirely capable to achieve whatever it is you decide to. It’s also magnetic, people who are truly confident are the people in the room that you naturally want to talk to, and they probably want to talk to you, because confidence normally means you’re not trying to tell people about you, but more likely learn about them.  

So what is “true confidence” – for me, real, genuine confidence comes from knowledge on a certain subject, experience doing a certain thing, skill, hard work, fearlessness, truthfulness, feeling secure, rooted, being talented, mastering something, feeling loved, feeling supported.

Weirdly, confidence is tied up with arrogance, these two, very different, very conflicting things, are somehow often tied together. My view is that arrogance is born out of not knowing something, having a lack of experience in something, not feeling skillful, not having put in enough hard work, feeling fear, feeling insecure, feeling lost, feeling alone.

SO, after what is a long intro where does this leave us? How is this relevant to grads looking for work? Well I’m not sure there’s anything more relevant.

If you’re looking for work your whole mantra should be about feeling confident during the whole process. What’s difficult about this is that the whole process can sap your confidence. Job descriptions are often poorly written and have long lists of “requirements” that might put you off. Often the application forms ask questions that leave you wondering “what did that mean?” Interviews feel new and alien to you, even just the questions that people ask during the interviews feel weird, ‘business language’ feels strange and the whole thing can quickly make you forget how great you are.

So how do you make sure that you’re feeling confident throughout the process? How do you make sure that you’re never freaked out? That you always interview really well? That you always come across as confident and never as arrogant?

The answer is so simple you might question it. You are 100% honest with 100% of the people you meet 100% of the time.

If you do this you guarantee that you’ll come across as confident because you’re showing that you're confident enough to expose yourself. You’re confident enough to let other people decide what they think of you, not tell them what you think they should think. You’re honesty will automatically make you an attractive future employee, it’ll make you seem truthful, reliable, consistent.Don't forget what I said earlier about confident people being magnetic, being the people in the room that naturally have people wanting to hear what they've got to say.

As a graduate your experience is always going to be limited, you’re looking for your opportunity to gain experience, people are assessing you on potential. Your potential will really show through if you’re completely honest with everyone, always – and you’ll seem confident, because you are confident enough to be 100% honest, 100% of the time.

See you next week!