Confidence vs. Arrogance (the Confident vs. the Arrogant)

In today’s society these seem to be synonymous when describing someone. The lines between the two have been blurred as many people portray their self-worth and self-belief in a way that makes you cringe instead of being inspired. So what’s the difference?

Dictionary.com defines confidence (in this context) as — belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.

Dictionary.com defines arrogance as — offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Looking at those definitions it is obvious which one causes inspiration in others and which one causes people to compete against one another rather than themselves.

At first glance, and from the outside at least, confidence and arrogance seem to be similar. Self-assurance, belief in oneself and their abilities are manifestations of both characters, but that is where the similarities end!

Self-confidence evokes the same in others, it is infectious, it spreads and inspires, turning inspiration into great ideas and opportunities. The Confident has an abundance mentality and encourages others by helping them. Arrogance is the opposite, it is posturing, it is fake, it is used to make the Arrogant feel better about themselves by making someone else feel inferior, the smaller they make people feel the bigger they feel. Arrogance is the destroyer of confidence in others.

This has much to do with a person’s frame of reference (Frame of reference theory, Marsh 1990) and whether it is internal or external. As the names suggest, people with an internal frame of reference look inwards for validation. This is a definite characteristic of the Confident. Their belief in themselves allows them to be confident, it is not affected by what others feel or say. The external frame of reference is a characteristic of the Arrogant, they look outward to make themselves feel validated. This is why they posture and put others down to validate themselves.

Confidence builds relationships, with women, in the work place and with friends. The Confident are infectious, they attract attention while being down to earth and who they are. Arrogance repels attention and spoils relationships. The Arrogant are more concerned with how they come across to others instead of paying attention to what others are saying. The Arrogant don’t listen to what you have to say, they are just waiting for their turn to talk.

The Confident are comfortable out of their comfort zone. They are willing to try new things, they understand that no one is going to be a world class surfer the first time they get on a board. They are happy in themselves and their abilities and know what they are good at. The Arrogant will not try new things, instead they will put others down who enjoy surfing or make excuses as to why they don’t want to try. Sometimes the Arrogant will try, but give up when the going gets tough.

Confidence breeds determination and determination breeds confidence!

Confidence is based on past experience, so therefore you become more confident the more you try something, the more you practice it.

Confidence = Practice + Time.

So if you lack confidence in a certain area, do more of it, do it again and again until you know you can do it. Enlist the help of people who know what they are doing, you wouldn’t go skydiving without an instructor would you? You will be surprised by the amount of people willing to help if you just ask.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Confidence is an important character trait of the Modern Gentleman. We as Gentlemen should breed our own confidence in order inspire it in others. Ask yourself “Am I happy in the way I treat others?” and “Does my behaviour inspire others?” It is important to reevaluate ourselves and our actions. Make a habit of being confident!

Confidence can be built by consistent practice and the application of skills learned from that practice. Practice not only makes perfect, it also builds confidence!


This article first appeared on Gentleman’s Evolution