Good morning Beautiful people, how are we? Trust your excellence quotient is increasing daily? Welcome to today’s e-Boost but just before we get into the meat of today’s post, let’s have some blognews:
– Some of you were asking how frequently the CEO Memoirs will come up on the blog. The CEO Memoirs will come up fortnightly on Wednesdays as explained here and here. Please click here if you missed the first CEO Memoir.
– The next CEO Memoir comes up this Wednesday, 16th March, Yipee! And our guest is the CEO of Cogito Ergo Sum… lemme stop here for now, you’ll find out more on Wednesday *winks* don’t miss it.
Now onto today’s gist, we remember the central focus of this blog is to help us imitate and exhibit the excellent nature of Christ on all fronts, till it becomes our norm and lifestyle. Today’s topic seeks to address the thin line between pride and self-confidence. It is written by our first blog guest-writer, Adeyemi Adeyelu, please sit back and enjoy.
In secondary school, I belonged to the category of students who almost never voluntarily answered questions in class (particularly Chemistry class). I would avoid making eye contact with the teacher and allow other students do the talking. I also never volunteered for any debate, I just could not find a way to contain the “what ifs” within me. It was not a matter of lack of ability as I was one of the best students in the class and was regarded as the best student in Chemistry and some other subjects. It was a confidence issue, I lacked self-confidence.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines self-confidence as “Confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities”
One of the synonyms for confidence is assurance. We can therefore define self-confidence as: “Assurance in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities”
I am sure there are some of you who had (or are still having) experiences similar to what I shared above. You are always scared of falling short so you never bother to try, you always have that gnawing feeling that others are better/more qualified than you. I have seen people fail to apply for opportunities they would have excelled at just because they didn’t believe they could cut it. I have also heard cases of people who decided not to attend job interviews/tests just because they felt others were more qualified. Self-confidence is so vital because it expresses itself as so many other important traits – courage, determination, fearlessness, strength, aplomb, poise etc. It will enable you fulfill your potential, who knows how much better I could have become if only I had more confidence in myself?
After God chose Joshua to replace Moses as head over Israel, He commanded (not just an admonition but a command!) him to be determined and confident (Joshua 1: 5-9 GNB). In other words, God commanded him to be confident in his ability to deliver as a leader because he had divine backing. Why would God command him to be determined and confident? Because God knew he would be unable to succeed as a leader without those attributes. It also applies therefore that it can’t qualify as sin if God commanded it.
When you lack self-confidence, you are invariably deprived of some of the most useful weapons for life’s journey. A man without self-confidence is like a fully armed warrior who constantly doubts whether his sword will be sharp enough to do damage and decides to engage in battle with bare hands. There are many who interpret lack of self-confidence to mean humility, nothing could be farther from the truth. There are also many who interpret self-confidence to mean pride, this is also untrue. There is a thin line between pride and self-confidence. As we go on, we’ll be able to identify this thin line. We’ll also see that what most people think is self-confidence is actually pride.
Pride is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as:
“A feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by others”
“A feeling that you are more important or better than other people”
“A feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.”
The world generally defines two kinds of pride (almost funny but it is true): negative pride (the first two definitions) and positive pride (the third definition). Positive pride is also sometimes interpreted to mean a sense of dignity and self-esteem. Our focus however, is on pride as a vice so we will only bother with the first two definitions.
Pride ultimately affects our relationships with God and our fellow man and the Bible has a lot to say about it. First, the Bible says that pride always breeds strife (Proverbs 13:10, GNB). This is because pride undermines and undervalues other people. Also, pride thinks it is defeat to seek counsel or concede. The Bible also says that a proud person is arrogant and inconsiderate (Proverbs 21:24, GNB). Unfortunately, the proud often forgets that destruction is the predefined end for pride!
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
There are many “points of intersection” between pride and self-confidence, that is, both pride and self-confidence may be expressed in similar ways. Most times, it may be impossible to differentiate a self-confident person from a proud one; it may be near impossible to tell the difference between acts inspired by self-confidence and acts motivated by pride. For example, both self-confidence and pride may outwardly manifest in poise, courage, fearlessness, esteem and positive affirmation. Also, both character traits are sometimes influenced by past experiences. The person who lacks self-confidence may be in such a state because of past failures while the person who exhibits pride may do so because of past successes. In what ways then does pride differ from self-confidence?
- What should immediately strike you when you look at the definitions of pride above is that pride is primarily concerned with how we view other people and how they view us. Comparison and egotism are the fuel of pride! A proud man always needs to be better than other people before he feels good enough. Pride says “I feel I am better than the others” while self-confidence says “I feel I am competent enough to excel at this task”. Pride always measures itself against other people, not against any standard.
- Pride belittles other people to exalt its position! Pride always finds a way to put down other people’s efforts in order to appear more excellent. It could be as simple as “She passed her exams but I am sure I would have done better”. The self-confident person is sure of his capabilities and does not need to talk down what other people have achieved or are achieving.
- Pride appears motivated by competition but is in essence only motivated by an opportunity to outdo other people. What this means is that pride only puts in its best efforts only when there is an opportunity to outshine other people. For pride, it is not so much about excellence and mastery as it is about being perceived as the best. So, for example, it may not matter to a proud person if he fails an exam as long as (a) perceived competitor(s) fail(s) too!
- Pride appears to be confident but is actually a sign of insecurity and fear. It is often driven by a need for validation
These are some of the ways in which pride differs from self-confidence. So check yourself, have you been putting down other people’s accomplishments in order to appear excellent? That’s not self-confidence, it is pride. What motivates you? Is it the desire to be excellent or the desire to be better than your colleagues? Our image of a proud person is that of a loud person who runs his mouth at every opportunity and walks in a certain manner, this may not always be true as pride is so subtle and may appear innocuous sometimes. To play on words a little, there is only a thin line between pride and self-confidence but that thin line is a wide one.
Thank you so much ‘Elder’ Yemi, for this insightful piece to increase our e-Quotient! God bless you always.
Adeyemi Adeyelu is a Software developer with a difference who enjoys writing and sports analysis (he’z also very camera-shy, so please manage this ‘bright’ pix of his, hehe). You can read more of his works at Yemi Adeyelu notes, follow him on twitter @yadeyelu or contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wishing y’all a Fruitful and Fulfilled week ahead. Much love..