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“Always act like you’re wearing an invisible crown.” ~Anon

What’s the difference between confidence and arrogance? Can you be too confident? When does confident become cocky?

To think about those questions is to invite consideration of the flip-side of the confidence coin, the word “humility.”

What, exactly, does it mean to be humble?

Some people believe humility means self-effacing; the fellow that hangs back, or is soft or quiet.

How about this: Humility is an accurate assessment of one’s worth, skills, or talents.

Or this: Arrogance is an overblown assessment of one’s worth, skills, or talents.  And the reason it is overblown is because the person doesn’t really feel as confident as they would like you to believe they are.

There are two sides to the confidence coin: your “real” self, and your “ego” self.

The ego-self is completely concerned with this question: Am I good enough (i.e. worth enough) in this relationship, situation, etc., to be accepted, noticed, approved of? That’s it.

We all know people who are basically insecure: the guy who always has to have the last word; the gal who corrects others on grammar or pronunciation in public; the boss who micro-manages—all examples of ego-driven behaviours.

The ego-self needs constant stroking like an adolescent; the authentic-self desires only an occasional pat on the back.

The ego-self compares and keeps score; the real-self is too busy being to bother.

A key indicator? Real confidence is rarely received as defensiveness by others. The only reason to become defensive is because you feel threatened.

A truly confident person doesn’t feel threatened by someone who knows more, makes more, or is more highly placed (i.e. “better than”).  On the contrary, they welcome the opportunity to learn from them.

The real-self doesn’t compare, it contrasts, and is birthed when we believe we’re “good enough” as we are, even as we desire to improve.

Real confidence carries its own invisible crown.

But everyone else can see it.

“Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”  ~Norman Vincent Peale

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