Why Confidence May Be Just As Important As Capability When It Comes To Success

The internal dialogue of an overly confident student probably goes something along the lines of, "Wow, this test is really easy; give me a harder question."

Or, "Group project? I’ll go with that other smart girl over there." Don’t you kind of hate that person? We all do (unless you are him or her).

Why do they get so far in life? Overly confident people may tend to be, well, pricks.

The person from high school who then went to a top university (and still belittles the smaller colleges) may be hated, but there’s a reason why he or she ended up in this situation, and quite possibly, the person doesn't realize it him or herself.

Scientists at Newcastle University and the University of Exeter found that “self-deceived” people (read: people who are lying to themselves about their competence and intelligence levels) can fool others into thinking that they’re more talented than they actually are.

Researchers also found that classmates and coworkers view people who underestimate themselves as “less able.”

God knows that if I knew about this whole lack of confidence business, I could have saved myself years of being called air-headed and bubble-brained. I partially blame my high-pitched voice and the curse of finding corny jokes hilarious, but otherwise, my lack of confidence got me good.

In the study, researchers discovered that after asking 72 students to rate their own ability and the ability of their classmates, there was a link between the self-deceiving ones' grades being higher than their less confident classmates.

At the end of the course, students who were overly confident from the beginning were again rated better overall. Dr. Vivek Nityananda, research associate at Newcastle University, said in a press release,

These findings suggest that people don’t always reward themselves the most accomplished individual but rather the most self-deceived. We think this supports an evolutionary theory of self-deception. It can be beneficial to have others believe you are better than you are and the best way to do this is to deceive yourself.

So, maybe being smart isn’t the only trait you need to get ahead in life. We have this idea of what a successful person is like based off of higher education or hard work or even talent, when, in actuality, these obstacles aren’t extreme hurdles with the right self-assurance present.

Sometimes, we need to think that we’re better than we are because once we do, we suddenly have this ego. I know there are tons of people we can’t stand who have egos, but many have successful careers.

Sometimes, we need to channel our inner ego, pretend we’re Albert Einstein with killer abs and social skills and own everything. Will it be easy? Probably not.

Regardless, I still have to channel my confident alter ego, and eventually, I’ll be an even bigger boss than I imagined… or, did my subconscious already know that I was smart enough to come up with such an amazing plan? The bottom line is that we all have to fake it till we make it.

Photo Courtesy: Paramount Pictures/The Wolf of Wall Street