“It pays to be overconfident”
That’s according to a recent study that claims overconfidence leads to higher social status and “peer perceptions of social and task skill.”
I can’t help but have a gut response that says, so many people can see right through that overconfidence or are just put off by it. But even if we accept the research, does that mean we should always trick ourselves into thinking that we’re the best?
Not according to psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, says straight up, don’t be too confident. He sees overconfidence as the trait most likely to lead to terrible decisions. In a recent interview, he described overconfidence as:
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
So, then, what are we left to think? If we’re super confident then we may get the respect of our peers, but make bad decisions. If, on the other hand, we doubt ourselves constantly, won’t that impede our drive and damage our self-image?
It seems, once again, that what we need to do is strike a balance. Find that middle ground between:
extreme self-confidence that can cloud your judgement
extreme self-doubt that leaves you powerless
There’s a huge space in between, where you find the confidence to tackle challenges, and at the same time the questioning necessary to find the true best solution.
The Balance Challenge is all about making decisions that work best for you and the people around you. Finding the right balance between confidence and questioning can help guide the way.