Confidence beats Talent

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” ~  Samuel Johnson

I once read somewhere that confidence will always trump talent. Is this not so very, very true? How many people have you come across during your lifetime that just carries an air of confidence about them? Whenever these individuals enter a room, they just exude confidence. What they know and say, might not necessarily carry so much weight, but it is HOW they say it, that ultimately clinches the discussion in their favour. I’m not talking about people who arrogantly through their weight around and when they leave the room, leave people rolling their eyes. I’m referring to those individuals who have the ability to attract attention with their mere presence. Where does this confidence come from?

Here’s a story for you. Jake is a hyper intelligent individual. He has practically aced every test or exam he’s ever taken. Academically speaking, not many can keep up with him. Unfortunately Jake does not have a significant amount of self-confidence. This results in him withholding his opinions during meetings and prevents him from chatting to his superiors on a frequent basis.

Joe works with Jake.  Joe is not nearly as intelligent or talented as Jake. But Joe has a significant amount of self-confidence. This results in him speaking easily and frequently to key decision makers in his organisation. He speaks with posture and belief and believes so vehemently in his ideas, that he gains the support of those he speaks to.

Now…the question to you. When a management position opens up in their organisation, who do you think is more likely to be promoted…Jake or Joe?

Yes – Joe will undoubtedly have the edge. You see, you can have the brightest brain around, but unless you can relate your ideas to those around you with conviction, confidence and belief, your chance of success is very limited.

Now even though the little story above is purely fictional, it is not unrealistic. I have worked with numerous individuals with high levels of confidence who have achieved great feats, mainly due to their high levels of self-confidence. These are the kinds of people who you are ‘surprised’ to hear, have just been promoted, have just landed a high-profile job or contract, who have since you’ve last spoken risen to the top of some company.

According to a study that was done at UCLA, spoken words only count for 7% during actual communication; the rest is about tone of voice and non-verbal communication, including body language.

So this established the importance of non-verbal communication, but this is purely external, beneath the surface there has to be something more…

These non-verbal signs ultimately emanate from the belief that the communicator has in his/her idea, coupled with the belief they have in themselves. If you don’t really believe in something you’re trying to sell or in your abilities to deliver on the promise, your body language will not be one of confidence.

Sometimes people get confused between confidence and arrogance.  Arrogance is a feeling or showing of self-importance and contempt or disregard for others. Confidence is however the belief or trust in yourself (your ideas, suggestions, proposals) or in the your ability to act.

Arrogance excludes all other opinions or suggestions to the exclusion of your own. Self-Confidence believes in ones own suggested course of action, but does not necessarily exclude advice from others.

So…believe in yourself! Believe in what you are communicating, selling, promoting. Even if you don’t ‘feel’ confident. Fake it till you make it. But once you make it—then deliver! Then you have do make good on your promises, otherwise your words would have been empty and people will never trust you again. Unless there’s a deeply rooted sincerity underpinning your confidence, your external behaviour will merely be superficial and false and people easily  will see through this.

All of this does not mean that Talent is not important. You need to cultivate the talent that you have, but you need to couple the talent that you do possess, with confidence in your abilities…together they will work to your greatest advantage.

If you have not had the opportunity to gain self-confidence as a child, why not start now? Go one step further, why not teach this to your children? Think of creative ways to build their self-confidence.  Play games, read books, take them on outings…all the while commenting in a positive manner about their observations, their personality, their peculiarities…things that will boost their confident. But always be truthful! Children will spot the difference between a genuine comments and a fake one a mile away.

Leave a legacy through your children, by helping them believe in possibilities!

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.”  ~Henry Ford

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy”   ~ Norman Vincent Peale


~ by Danie van den Berg on 02/02/2010.

2 Responses to “Confidence beats Talent”

  1. I am busy reading a book, The Charisma effect, in one of the chapters I stumbled upon the following:

    Confidence conveys power; power to influence and affect people’s
    thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Exude it and you will be more
    likely to make the kind of impact you want than if people see a lack
    of self-assurance.
    Broadly, confidence means you feel sure of yourself in certain
    situations, but not necessarily all. It has particular relevance to
    interpersonal communication where it directly affects the strength
    and impact of your verbal and non-verbal behaviour.
    Even Winston Churchill was not always entirely sure of himself
    and complained bitterly to his wife Clementine that, despite being
    prime minister, he felt inadequate and without a strong impact
    when dealing with important people and particular actors on the
    world stage. In his case, he was such a powerful figure that his
    Charisma Effect and his audiences’ expectations helped disguise
    his occasional lapses in confidence.

    • I agree with this! “Confidence conveys power”…and somehow people flock to powerful people like moths to a candle.So even Churchill believed in faking it till you make it :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: