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The Thin Line Between Cocky & Confident – Which One Are You? | 10 Steps To Confidence

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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jersey shore

Self-confidence is an important ability to have in order to become successful. However, this quality can easily be confused with arrogance because of the fine line that separates the two. On one hand, being cocky is about believing in your abilities related to only one specific aspect of your life. This is a very weak form of self-belief because the moment you step into a different environment, you’ll end up doubting yourself.

As such, confidence is an unshakable belief that you have what it takes to be successful. An arrogant person sees it in reverse: only those who are successful have the right to call themselves confident. If you want to become self-confident without crossing over into arrogance, here are 10 steps to help you get there:

 

10 Steps To Being Confident – Not Cocky

 

#1: Making Decisions

Arrogance can masquerade as self-confidence when a person makes a decision based only on their personal capabilities. Real self-confidence comes from making an informed decision based on a logical set of criteria to help you narrow down what course of action you should take.

Take the time to do your homework and find the root of the problem before deciding what to do. Once all the options are accounted for and thoroughly explored, only then can you truly be at peace with your final decision.

 

#2: Dealing With Failure

The only constant in life is change, and a confident person finds a constructive way to capitalize on an undesirable life event. On the other hand, a cocky person simply falls apart because their confidence is based only on their abilities – and not on how good they are at picking themselves up.

The key to being confident in the face of failure is to use the experience as a lesson which reveals your limitations. Without extracting the truth from a painful loss, you won’t be able to grow as a person.

 

#3: Embracing Imperfection

Although everyone wishes they were perfect, self-confident people don’t hinge their sense of self-worth on this impossible goal. Believing in yourself means being okay with not getting it right all the time.

Rather than focus on never making mistakes, they’re happy knowing that they have the perseverance to see themselves through a crisis.

Arrogant people on the other hand, possess the misguided belief that they must be without flaws; otherwise, they’ll punish themselves for it. As you can see, this is not a good foundation for self-confidence.

 

#4: How Others See You

Being cocky is a dedication to being more successful than everyone else. Arrogance tends to drive a person toward the impossible goal of outdoing the rest of the world.

This kind of ambition can give the illusion of self-confidence. The problem is that self-belief doesn’t come from external factors like other people’s approval. It’s always about being self-referenced. Therefore, a self-confident person only competes with himself and doesn’t depend on the opinion of others for validation.

 

#5: Handling Professional Achievements

Have you ever met someone who’s proud of his accomplishments to the point where he’s practically rubbing it in your face? If you have, you probably found him annoying and resented him rather than being happy for his success.

As mentioned earlier, self-confidence isn’t derived from the external world around you. Operating from this mindset will only frustrate you because you’ll feel inadequate if you don’t achieve 100% of your worldly goals. Celebrate your success, but temper it with a dose of humility. Be more focused on personal growth and not just your achievements.

 

#6: Acting In Social Situations

The problem with being cocky is that people are turned off by the vibe they get when someone is trying too hard to impress everyone in the room. You can’t win people over by trying to be the smartest, richest, or smoothest person out there.

Instead, a self-confident person is comfortable enough to let the other person do the talking. In fact, self-confident people are more interested in what the other person has to say rather than drone on about themselves.

The simple act of truly listening and asking meaningful questions conveys genuine interest. This is the best way to impress people without trying so hard.

 

#7: Dealing with your inner critic

Try all you want, you cannot deny that there will always be that ever-watchful critic observing your every move. When you feel like someone’s breathing down your neck and waiting for you to make a mistake, chances are that you WILL mess things up.

What you need to realize is that this inner critic loves to blow your worst fears out of proportion. Cocky people pay too much attention to this distracting chatter, causing their fragile self-belief to easily crumble.

 

#8: Listening To Others

Criticism can be hard to take, but self-confidence can take the edge off. It’s normal to feel defensive when dealing with a critic; even your body will physically react to it!

As mentioned, arrogance is confidence solely based on one’s abilities. When these come under attack, a cocky person has no other choice but to emotionally lash back.

Being confident in yourself is taking criticism objectively – even if the critic is just being hurtful for the fun of it.

Instead of trying to up the ante, a confident person simply acknowledges what has been said and moves on. Besides, he or she only has time to respond to constructive criticism from people who want to see them improve.

 

#9: Sharing Your Talents

Knowing that you’re good at what you do is only part of being confident. The other part involves being secured enough to share your abilities with the rest of the world.

Cocky people don’t like to share nor work with others – they don’t need anyone’s help. You can avoid being too cocky by simply opening yourself to other people. What’s more, you’ll create enriching relationships with future colleagues in the process!

 

#10: Focusing On The Wealth Of The World

Sharing your knowledge comes from the belief that there’s plenty enough to go around for everyone. Believing in the opposite fuels an arrogant person’s aggressiveness which can be mistaken as true confidence.

However, what really propels them is the irrational fear that they need to take what they can, while they can. This is the worst approach to becoming successful; believing that there’s only room for number one will make you overly competitive and arrogant.

Being confident is being able to relax, knowing that there will always be opportunities for growth and success. In the end, being cocky is only a mask for insecurity that stems from the fear of what will happen in the future. Self-confidence is focused not on the unknown, but the reality of the present and the many opportunities it brings.

 

Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 200 million lives in the last 10 years.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Elaine

    Sep 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I struggle with this. Especially as I am someone who was bullied at work by people who came across as very cocky/arrogant.

    You appear to assume that “cocky” people have ability… NO WAY. the cocky person is an individual who assumes they know something when they do not, who believes they are good at a job when they are not, and so on… Arrogance is not confidence based on one’s ability. Arrogance is confidence based on an ASSUMPTION OF ONE’s ABILITY. The actual ability does NOT exist. Hence, the fact that cocky people may so often also be bullies. On the inside, they feel inferior. This is why cocky people are generally so mouthy…

    We ALL know the saying, “All mouth and no trousers”… and we all know what it means!

  2. thethe123

    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Interesting.

    Now I can proudly say I’m not arrogant AND provide some evidence to those who insistently claim I am arrogant(humble and intelligent is a nice way to go as being self-confident, it provides a good balance, but sometimes you get those obnoxious folk who believe any self-confidence is a form of arrogance)

  3. Anthony

    Feb 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Cockiness is often an issue for college and university graduates going for their first professional position. There is indeed a fine line between cockiness and confidence, and you’ve provided some really good suggestions for how to successfully walk that line.

    Thank you
    Anthony from Job Search Mentoring.com

  4. Alyssa Li

    Feb 7, 2012 at 7:07 am

    haha. I love how you guys used jersey shore in the main pic. This article is great. I will share this with some of my friends who need it haha.

    • Ross

      Jan 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

      I have never realized how cocky and arrogant I am! thank you for the lesson

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