Do you doubt yourself too much – or NOT enough?

Posted on November 2nd, by Dr Rob Yeung .

I write a lot on the topic of confidence. Some people lack confidence – they are shy and unsure of themselves. And some people have too much confidence – they believe their own hype and may stray into arrogance or narcissism. How can we strike the right balance?

I came across a quote in a recent issue of Vanity Fair by American producer/actress Lena Dunham which resonated with me:

“People will always find something in your work to argue with. Get used to being humbled, shutting out the noise, second-guessing yourself, and realizing that one out of six times those cretins are right.”

Personally, I think that’s a pretty good way of looking at the world.

We shouldn’t always pay attention to the people who criticise and doubt us. Often, we need to stay true to ourselves and persevere with the things we want to do and the way we want to do them. A lot of the time, as Dunham suggests, we therefore need to shut out the noise and stop second-guessing ourselves.

However, that doesn’t mean that our critics are never right. Sometimes the people we dismiss as cretins may have good advice for us after all. And success in life is often about getting the balance right between fending off unwarranted criticism and taking on board good advice. As long as we don’t swing too far to either extreme, we’ll be fine.

What tools and techniques do you use to stay confident but not become arrogant?

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