Does Self-Confidence Influence Success, or Is It the Other Way Around?
You've got something—you just have to work on it.
Let's get this out of the way: Just because you think you're leader material doesn't mean you'll be a good one by default. In fact, a lot of people might think you're a douchebag.
That doesn't mean that self-confidence and success aren't connected. But, as any analyst worth his salt will tell you, a definite answer to the question of which leads to which is pretty impossible to come by.
So what comes first, really, in this chicken-and-egg situation?
Confidence leads to success?
The thinking is simple enough: The more confident you are, the more encouraged you'll be to work on achieving success. Belief in oneself is an excellent motivator.
But there are plenty of stories where people with low self-esteem surprise themselves. These underdogs beat the odds to come out on top of much better competition. And because it happens all the time, surely that means that confidence doesn't reliably predict success, right?
…So success leads to confidence?
This is about as accurate as the previous assertion, which is to say, sometimes. It's true that people who achieve a personal measure of success experience a boost in confidence—like your basketball-loving buddy who thinks he's a shooter just because he once hit a half-court shot.
There's a catch.
Most seem to agree that both statements are true; it just depends on how the person processes his feelings and emotions. In many cases, it's cyclical—confidence leads to success, which in turn inspires more confidence.
However, too much confidence can negatively impact your performance. Being cocky, for example, could result in a mindset of belittling others—clearly the makings of an overconfident douchebag.
But there is one quality that can actually lead to an increase in both self-confidence and success.
Here's the secret.
Awareness of one's competencies is a valid indicator of self-confidence and success. Basically, all you need to know is this: "You've got something. Work on it."
If you've got the smarts, play them up. If you've got the looks, bank on them. Find ways to work your magic—bust out your inner gentleman, spritz on the bold and fiery fragrance of Axe You, walk tall and act with conviction, show your funny side by telling a joke—and you'll be swimming in confidence and success.
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