Time for a provocative topic. Just to justify myself, I didn’t come up with this myself. Someone was gripping to me about her partner and obviously his confidence self at times especially when it comes to fixing stuff around the house, ticked her off. Once again, this is not me! Enough of justifications and let’s look at whether it’s true and if so why.
My belief is that self-confidence is hard to build though perhaps not for everyone. But let’s try to define confidence so that we are clear on it.
Confidence is your trust in a single ability. Confidence is area-specific. On self-confidence is well putting your confidence in yourself, which is one big area. However, if you have confidence in your ability to play the guitar, it does NOT carry over to other areas. If you can play the guitar really well, but have never stepped foot in the gym, it doesn’t matter how confident you are in your guitar playing abilities. You will not be confident in the gym. Some people mention about core confidence, which is not area specific.
Core confidence is your trust in yourself, and in your ability to learn a new skill. Core confidence comes from years of struggling, overcoming obstacles, and building skills. Why? Because if you spent years grinding and hustling to develop one skill, you know that you can use that same work ethic and determination to build another skill.
Confidence often times gets confused with self-esteem, but in reality they’re two entirely different things. Confidence is your trust in yourself to perform a certain task; self-esteem is how highly you value yourself. It’s how much you respect yourself and how much you love yourself. Do you feel like you deserve success? Do you feel like you’re lovable? If not, then you likely have low self-esteem. A recent paper published in December in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology confirms that there is a difference between the genders, as men tend to have a higher self-esteem than women, especially during the teenage years and early adulthood. Interestingly, the gender gap appears a lot more marked in Western countries. “Individualistic, prosperous, egalitarian, developed nations with higher gender equality had larger gender gaps in self-esteem than collectivist, poorer, developing nations with greater gender inequality,” Wiebke Bleidorn, professor at the University of California, Davis and the lead author of the study, told the American Psychology Association. A little redemption for me the Asian guy.
So the science folks start to put this on testosterone and that confident men typically have a stronger flow of it. Just like a rolling stone, the more confident you are, the more testosterone is produced. Neuroscientists are uncovering evidence suggesting that when men take testosterone, they make more impulsive and often faulty decisions. Before you start checking out your hair growth to determine your testosterone level (another piece of wonderful advice from my best friend), try this quiz out if you are confident.
A ball and bat cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat is a dollar more than the ball. How much does each cost?
The immediate reading is a dollar and ten. Easy! A dollar for the bat, a ten cent ball, the wrong answer a high percentage of people give. In his book Irresistible, marketing professor Adam Alter reminds us that humans are naturally “cognitive misers” that will always choose the path of least cognitive resistance. People prefer to think only as much as necessary to reach a just-acceptable conclusion. Miserliness makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, because thinking is costly. Humans constantly take mental shortcuts, Alter writes, to reduce our cognitive load. Apparently testosterone comes into play, at least on Nave and Adler’s research subjects, who were, on average, 35 percent more likely to make the intuitive mistake on the cost of the bat and ball. These men were also rushed in their bad judgment and gave incorrect answers faster than the men with normal testosterone levels, while taking longer to generate correct answers.
A bat and ball is one thing; stocks quite another. One hundred and forty male traders were given a testosterone boost in another study. Men with boosted testosterone significantly overpriced assets compared with men who got the placebo, and they were slower to incorporate data about falling values into their trading decisions. I hope that the housing crash was not caused by this!
Confidence is a wonderful quality to cultivate. But perhaps blaming it on gender or people, let’s focus on the outcome and quality of decisions. Because confidence when combined with blind enthusiasm, disasters are to be expected. So think carefully before taking any large next steps. It might be a little bit conservative to some but best no to rush into things. But once you have decided stick with it. Be confident. Say to yourself, I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away away and take your best shot at it. Belief in yourself is the first step for success. The results are worth it for everyone.
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