Confident and successful is quiet. Insecure and unsuccessful is loud.
There is a quote from one of my favorite movies — American Gangster — when Denzel Washinton’s character gives some solid advice to his flashy brother. He says the loudest person in the room is the weakest person in the room.”
We all know that guy. When he is clearly jealous about something someone has or accomplished, he’s he first one to shoot him or his successes down. He’s seething with jealousy and envy — rather than working to succeed himself, it makes him feel better in the short term to put that person down. It’s the same reason people say the guy in the red Ferrari is compensating for something.
In the business world, this rule is well known. When you’re loud and vocal about something — especially something you’re insecure about — everyone knows it’s because you’re not confident and trying to protect your ego on that topic.
There’s a huge difference between someone who vocalizes an opinion or arguement in an intelligent and concise way — versus someone who is the loudest person in the room that thinks volume and length is what makes their words meaningful. They think they’re acting confident and strong when in fact, they are showing people exactly what things they are most insecure about and talking loudest about those topics. It makes you weak.
The exact subject you’re loudest about is what everyone knows is what you’re the most insecure about and hence, you become the person people avoid on that particular subject.
The guy who is most vocal and loudest about making lots of money is probably the guy who is the most broke. The person who posts the most inspirational quotes on their Facebook wall is probably the person who hasn’t achieved any of those accomplishments.
The guy who constantly brags about being cultured and traveling is probably the guy who hates his life so much that he needs to run away and travel constantly — and look down on people who don’t.
The girl who knows she married a loser is the first and loudest person to put down everyone else’s spouses.
It’s classic and transparent but the person doing this fails to see their own projected insecurities and continues to do it, diminishing and eroding their worth to others every time they open their mouth.
They constantly project their own insecurities on to others in an attempt to make themselves feel better about whatever is lacking in their lives. They hate their job so they always talk about how much their love their career. Their husband is a loser so they always talk about how great he is.
They think that by pointing out certain things about themselves or others, it makes them look like a confident and vocal person — but what people really see is just a loud and obnoxious insecure person who compares, complains and comments on everyone and everything, making them extremely unproductive and someone people avoid talking to.
Talking to this person is useless because it accomplishes nothing except providing a short term ego boost on behalf of the offender. They hope that being loud enough, they can convince themselves and others that they are strong.
It explains, in part, why one of the universal traits of losers is that they constantly talk, talk and talk.
It is a mistake that I see people make daily and it hurts them more than they realize.
Being loud doesn’t accomplish what you think it does
Being loud and vocal about something — most of the time — doesn’t accomplish what you think it does. The loud, insecure person believes that by yelling, vocalizing, taking over people and typing in ALL CAPS is making their point better heard and taken seriously.
When someone loudly blurts out “my career is awesome” it is actually saying “my career sucks and I need to say it’s awesome so me and others think I’m happy.”
Being loud rarely makes you heard — It almost always does the opposite. It makes whatever you have to say come out as cheap and shows others you’re just trying to “compensate” for your own ignorance or lack of confidence.
The insecure Guy’s response is obvious
Let’s say 2 guys are having an argument on whether or not college is a necessary requirement for success. Let’s say the insecure guy, Mike, went to college, got a masters and a pHD — but he’s unemployed and insecure at the fact that he spent a fortune on useless degrees. He can’t accept the idea that he made bad choices so rather than change, he needs to defend his bad decisions constantly to himself and others.
The other guy, David, is confident. He didn’t go to school but he’s a successful entrepreneur and has everything that Mike doesn’t have. He is far more successful than his pHD-educated friend and even though he didn’t go to school, is secure in his choices and confident about his abilities.
The way they approach the argument can tell you a lot about why one guy is a winner and the other a loser.
Mike will be loud. He is insecure at the fact that he got into tremendous debt for education and is not as successful as his uneducated friend. So instead of arguing the merits or points of each side of the argument, he attempts to use cheap tricks to “win” the argument.
His definition of winning the argument isn’t changing the other persons mind but rather, making himself feel better about his situation and validation his life choices as good ones. It’s just another opportunity to make himself feel better. From the start, he is already at a disadvantage because his goal in the argument is completely internal, so the way he approaches the argument is going to reflect that losing attitude.
It is obvious how Mike will argue because we know his intentions. He will resort to cheap tricks like these:
- Talking loudly and raising his voice
- Strengthen his arguement by adding more words or projecting them louder and stronger
- Not letting anyone else get a word in
- Talking a lot without making a point
- Getting angry or frustrated
- Not asking any questions and instead just spitting out every “answer” he could think of in rapid fire
- Getting off topic
- Getting emotional or putting people down
- Making comparisons or pointing blame
- Try and convince themselves that whatever opposing point to their own is stupid or “insert other irrelevant insult here”
- Starting out every phrase with “I know” or “I am sure” or other phrases that start with me, me, me
- Trying to say as much stuff as possible as fast as possible
- Using big words or scientific “smart sounding” phrases to sound like he’s right
- Repeating himself over and over in different words
Sound familiar? If you truly do believe your argument and have something worthwhile to say, you don’t need to use these cheap tricks. To an insecure person who lacks confidence, their goal isn’t logical. His idea of “winning” the argument isn’t actually convincing others his opinion is correct, nor is it to get his point across. Instead, to the weak person, the goal is simply to make themselves feel better and a little less insecure. It’s really obvious. They talk loud and too much. They overcompensate. They “say it before you can point it out.”
They don’t care about making a point — although they probably think they are. Instead, they just want to be heard and say as much as possible, as loudly as possible because they don’t understand that talking more and louder doesn’t make their words any better. It just makes them look weak.
The secure and confident person argues differently
To a confident person, they know what points they want to communicate and understand that less words with more weight are far more valuable than lots of words with little weight.
They do the opposite of what the insecure person does because they are confident in their opinions and have no interest in “forcing” others to think like you do. They don’t have to because they don’t need to force anyone to do anything. They don’t need to make themselves feel better like the insecure person so they stick to what’s relevant and in turn, people take them seriously.
To a secure and confident person, they don’t perform actions or say words simply to inflate their sense of self worth. They would rather win an argument, achieve a task, or achieve a goal — rather than prop themselves up temporarily at the expense of others.
When you’re losing an argument, you’ll eventually start yelling because that’s the last resort after you’ve exhausted all your options. The insecure person starts everything they say at this level. They start out losing.
Did you ever notice the biggest losers tend to be the biggest talkers? The loudest talkers? It’s because they believe that if they’re loud enough about something, that something — or lack thereof, won’t be noticed be others.
A secure person approaches the argument completely differently:
- They aren’t loud or over bearing
- They stick to the subject at hand and make their points clealry
- They don’t make it personal or emotional
- They ask questions and try and see the other points of view instead of blabbering on and on about their single viewpoint
- Tbey don’t judge others
- They don’t try and hide behind big words or phrases
- They don’t repeat themselves over and over because they don’t have it — because they know they’re being heard
In the end, it’s just easier for a confident person to get their point across because it’s something they already believe in themselves.
Insecure people are shaky about anything they say or do, so most of their energy is spent on trying to convince themselves they aren’t a screw up. In other words, their goal is to feel better, not to get something accomplished.
It isn’t just true in the business world
My wife’s friend got knocked up while still in school because she wasn’t employable. She hitched herself to a total loser who was a constant complainer living in his mom’s basement because he was too entitled to take any jobs that he felt was below him.
Evey chance she got, she would constantly and loudly compare her boyfriend to other couples husbands and state how he’s such a catch. She would randomly proclaim how she’s so lucky to be knocked up by such a great guy. She would constantly point out how other people who got married were making the wrong choices and even told everyone that getting knocked up without a job and future to some guy she met 2 months ago was adventurous and YOLO — and all sorts of other crap. No one ever accused her of messing up her life. They didn’t have to. She already knew. That’s why she was so loud and vocal about how she was makin smart decisions.
Everyone knew she was messing up her life and these choices she made were idiotic. She knew herself the best but to make herself feel better about her situation, she would constantly give unwanted relationship and life advice to people who didn’t want it. She would always compare her man tonher friends husbands and say anything and everything to make herself feel better.
She would post endless Facebook quotes about great relationships and brag on and on about how she was such an open-minded person and mother. She would post pictures and grand statements about how she was winning in life and she did this all the time, voluntarily.
No one accused her of being a failure — although everyone knew that she was messing up her life — but no one made her have to defend herself. But she did anyways thinking she was cleverly convincing herself and others by talking loudly.
After a while, people naturally started ignoring her. If she has a great guy and successful life, she doesn’t need to keep telling people that. Instead of believing her, they just assume the opposite must be true. Being loud didn’t convince anyone she was successful except for herself.
No one is impressed
Talking loud and too much isn’t going to get you far in life. When you talk too much and without substance, your words become cheap and something people don’t want to listen to. When you’re loud, people assume what you’re saying is worth very little and they assume you’re loud because of it.
I have yet to meet anyone successful in any level that is loud, obnoxious and rude.
The truly successful people I know are all reserved and when they speak, people listen because it’s genuine and not meant to inflate themselves up.
People want to listen to and seek out those who listen and when they speak, say meaningful things that are concise and have a purpose. They don’t need to resort to playground tricks to be heard. They don’t have to because people want to listen to them and their words are meaningful.
Don’t be the guy who people never seek out for advice or counsel because they know 99% of their words are simply said to make themselves feel better. They’ll avoid you and you’ll never make it anywhere in any part of life by being loud and obnoxious. Turning up the volume on a bad song doesn’t make people like that song. If it’s a crappy song, the volume level doesn’t matter. The opposite is also true.
As interesting and feel-good as your words are to you, they aren’t worth a damn to someone else unless you’ve proven your words to be worthwhile. Don’t assume people will listen simply because you have something to say — and certainly don’t assume they’ll take you seriously if you can’t even be confident in yourself.
Truly successful people that stay successful don’t carry around huge gold money clips with hundred dollar bills. They don’t need to. The ones that do are doing so because they need to tell everyone they are successful — and that doesn’t work very well.
All the millionaires I’ve met are confident in their own accomplishments. They don’t need to constantly tell people they’re doing well. They don’t need to convince themselves or others on their accomplishments because they’re real.
The next time you run into that guy in a meeting who has to talk over everyone else, take note on those things he talks most and loudest about. Chances are, those are the exact things he is least secure about. He’s fooling himself and no one else.
The louder the person, the weaker they are.