There is no bigger cliché
in business psychology
than the idea that high self-confidence is key to career success. It is time to debunk
. In fact, low self-confidence is more likely to make you successful. Sure, extremely low confidence is not helpful: it inhibits
performance by inducing
fear, worry, and stress, which may drive people to give up sooner or later. But just-low-enough confidence can help you recalibrate
your goals so they are more realistic
If your confidence is low, rather than extremely low, you stand a better chance of succeeding than if you have high self-confidence. There are three main reasons for this:
1.Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical:
Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases, so they tend to listen to positive feedback
and ignore negative feedback. Although this may help them come across as confidence to others, in any area of competence
(e.g., education, business, sports or performing arts) achievement is 10% performance and 90% preparation. Thus, the more aware you are of your soft spots and weaknesses, the better prepared you will be. Indeed, success is the best medicine for your insecurities
2.Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more:
If you are serious about your goals, you will have more incentive
to work hard when you lack confidence in your abilities. In fact, low confidence is only demotivating
when you are not serious about your goals. If you really want what you say you want, then, your low confidence will only make you work harder to achieve it — because it will indicate a discrepancy
between your desired goal and your current state.
3.Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded: Indeed, people with low self-confidence are more likely to admit their mistakes — instead of blaming others — and rarely take credit for others' accomplishments. This is the most important benefit of low self-confidence because it points to the fact that low self-confidence can bring success, not just to individuals but also to organizations and society.
In brief, if you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally
to accomplish them.