What Is Confidence?

If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.

- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Insulted and the Injured (1861)

Podcast of the Day

The meek may well inherit the earth, but right now that looks like it will be a long time coming. As things stand, it is those brash blusterers who strut and swagger their way around the political, social and business stages who seem to be in the ascendancy.
In this new three part series, Laura Barton sets out to examine the increasingly important part confidence appears to play in modern life, at the point when so many of us are beset by problems surrounding our own self-confidence. She speaks with the likes of Stuart Maconie, who argues that, "We've become obsessed with confidence and self-assertion.... it seems to be a new strain in our thinking. Isn't quiet modest competence a better thing?" Over the course of the series Laura examines the key role of our background and education in determining our levels of confidence, teasing out the intricate interplay between aspects including class, gender, psychology and even architecture.

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 podcast The Confidence Trick

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

What’s fascinating is that Kahneman’s work explicitly swims against the current of human thought. Not even he believes that the various flaws that bedevil decision-making can be successfully corrected. The most damaging of these is overconfidence: the kind of optimism that leads governments to believe that wars are quickly winnable and capital projects will come in on budget despite statistics predicting exactly the opposite. It is the bias he says he would most like to eliminate if he had a magic wand. But it “is built so deeply into the structure of the mind that you couldn’t change it without changing many other things”...

Continue reading David Shariatmadari's article: Daniel Kahneman: 'What would I eliminate if I had a magic wand? Overconfidence'  

Further Reading

Confidence is a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in one's self. Arrogance or hubris in this comparison is having unmerited confidence—believing something or someone is capable or correct when they are not. Overconfidence or presumptuousness is excessive belief in someone (or something) succeeding, without any regard for failure. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability. Taken to an extreme, over-confidence can cause problems as evidenced by the famous author Matthew Syed and mentioned here in this reference in regard to sport...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Confidence

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