How Confident is Too Confident?

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Robert Orozco

In the Greek myth, Narcissus the Arrogant becomes obsessed with himself and dies, then a daffodil grows in his place (Photo Courtesy of Robert Orozco).

“Overconfidence is a flimsy shield,” is a well known and very useful quote when it comes to discussing the hubristic nature of man. Such as in the story of Narcissus, where the myth shows how overconfidence can be the downfall of man. In the strive for respect and validation from other people, it is expected for someone to walk the fine line between confidence and overconfidence, as well as making sure not to be underconfident. But after attempting to walk this fine line, the question soon arises, “What makes someone under or overconfident versus comfortably confident?”

“Overconfidence is linked to inexperience. You become less overconfident when you go through a trial and error process,” said Wade Hampton High junior Cannon Bedenbaugh. 

“I think overconfidence stems from not being truly prepared and relying on previous wins,” says my father, Robert Orozco. 

While these quotes seem to validate each other, people who continuously throw themselves into social situations all the time shouldn’t be overconfident if what they say is true. This just doesn’t prove to be true. In fact, through personal observation of a variety of social situations, it seems that these “extroverts” still seem to be too cocky. Simultaneously, “introverts” tend to hold back due to underconfidence, missing the bar and also missing out on potential social experiences. In both instances, each group seems to be missing out on something important: a happy medium. 

“Confident is knowing when to stop and who to brag to,” said junior Corey Golec. 

This quote seems to validate the desire for a happy medium and can be applied to both overconfident and under-confident people. “Overconfidents” can apply this rule and learn to be quiet sometimes, and “Underconfidents” can apply this rule to speak up more and learn who you can share achievements with. However, this rule is not always easy to apply and pick up on.

I normally tend to consider myself a fairly humble person, with a few “overconfident” tendencies. However, after asking around to my friends and close ones, I learned something new. My family views me as more underconfident, while my friends view me as overconfident. After some thinking, I have come to the conclusion that your confidence is dependent upon your environment. When dealing with my family, I soon realized that I held back a lot of stories and achievements from them because they are all older. In my eyes, they have already achieved so much that my achievements seem negligible in comparison. However, when around my friends, I tend to share my hidden achievements and appear as overconfident. It’s a hard line to walk, and I obviously still find myself unable to find said happy medium.

Overall, in our search to find the happy medium of confidence, we tend to majorly miss the mark, at least I do. But everyone has his/her own definition of overconfidence and underconfidence, so in order to deal with this problem as a community, we need to address this difference and come to an understanding. While confidence is important, being confident in your level of confidence is just as important.