During a recent keynote, I made a case for confidence being one of the defining factors of all successful people we know, and I said….
“It is their inner belief that they can achieve anything they want to achieve, and enjoy as much success as they wish – however they personally define success.”
The speech prompted several questions at the end including this one …
“I am wondering how best to test for the confidence level you discuss when interviewing prospective sales personnel. (If it has not been clearly demonstrated in past performance records). I believe over-confidence displays itself in cockiness and conceit and that amount of confidence is harmful (to me, my company and the salesperson himself) in the long run. Any thoughts on how to test for the “right” confidence level?”
My response …
“There is a huge difference between confidence and arrogance (cockiness). Confident people understand the need to continually learn and expand their commercial bandwidth. They understand what they know, but equally recognize what they don’t know. Conversely, arrogant people think they know it all, and as a consequence, don’t know what they don’t know!”
And that really is the point: Crossing that line from confidence to arrogance is so, so easy.
Humility is, in my view, one of the most admirable and rare traits of the truly successful.
The underlying message of this post is this: It really doesn’t matter how good you think you are, there will always be people who are better, and your ambition should be to emulate them.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about your chosen topic, respect others who know everything there is to know about their chosen topic – being myopic is a very unattractive trait.
Everyone you meet in this world will know something you don’t know – do not be misled by his or her status, because status has no relevance when it comes to wisdom. Some of the most interesting and mind-expanding conversations I have ever had have been with people in very humble situations – they probably couldn’t spell “arrogance” let alone describe it!