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To wonder how some people become so supremely confident and full of themselves?

(120 Posts)
MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 16:28:19

And I mean this as a genuine question. I am fascinated.

I know a few people that are totally uber confident; they think they are more beautiful than others, and that they are totally great and that they are always right. Think along the lines of that girl in the Big Brother house that is spending 18k per month on rent!

What I find too is that super confident people manage to convince the world that they are beautiful/wonderful/amazing even if they are not particularly. And they want their own way all the time, and usually get it.

I'm wondering if it's down to being spoilt as a child, or having really doting parents that tell them every 5 minutes how beautiful and wonderful they are? Or if they're just born that way?

I would describe myself as a confident person in that I'm happy with myself and in my own skin. I'm not loud though, or the life and soul of the party, and I certainly don't think I am better than everyone else and that the world had better sit up and listen to me.

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 17:41:46

And I refuse to believe that the only way to succeed is trample on people and be a bastard or a backstabber.

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 17:39:55

I'm doing my best to fake it till I make it, but you probably wouldn't guess if you met me

I think you have just articulated the innermost feelings of 95% of successful, competent people. Then there is the other 5% who are blessed with unwavering confidence in their own ability and/or charm. But they are very much in the minority. Most people suspect deep down that they've bluffed their way up the corporate ladder, and are always one mistake away from being exposed as a fraud.

Of course the ones who really do bluff their way through are the ones with oodles of misplaced confidence or plain arrogance, and they are very, very lucky if they never come unstuck.

NicknameTaken Wed 19-Jun-13 15:26:42

*Confidence is a fantastic trait to have and one we all should have. Confidence is very attractive.

Arrogance and narcissism are entirely different and definitely not attractive traits to have.

There's a fine line between the two*

Thanks for this wama. It's so obvious now you say it, but you have articulated an important distinction - it's a mistake I made when choosing my ex....

I've been told I come across as confident, possibly overly so at times. It's compensation (and sometimes over-compensation) for the fact that I don't feel like that inside. I recently started a new job and I'm having to carefully monitor my self-talk, because if I'm not careful I'll be telling myself I'm so stupid and so slow at grasping things and I don't deserve to be here at all. I'm doing my best to fake it till I make it, but you probably wouldn't guess if you met me (or maybe you would. It's possibly I'm more transparent than I think).

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:54:12

These uber-confident individuals are typically uber-confident paradoxically, because they are crap at stuff.

Their very lack of proficiency at stuff and objectively evaluating themselves and others is ironically precisely what enables them to be blind to others virtues and their own inadequacies.

There are social psychology studies showing that the least competent people actually rating themselves far more highly than competent people do.

Whereas, people who are highly competent are generally only too aware of pitfalls and imperfectability of human action and observant of their own errors and near-misses to rate themselves highly.

Disclaimer: This comes from someone who can't even post in the right thread

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 14:52:39

I think every single person's personality/character is a unique blend of nature and nurture. If we could all play lead role in a film of our life like Sliding Doors, then we could all have an infinite number of personalities, depending on how many alternative plots ran simultaneously.

The 'recipes' for each of our personalities would first be based on the character we were born with, and then shaped by our early experiences, whether we had siblings, the sibling birth order, age gaps, the relationship between our parents, the individual family dynamics and circumstances of the people around us, whether we experienced fear or complete security as a child, whether we were short of food; in fact there is an infinite number of variables that could potentially affect the person we end up as.

I like to think that if I'd had less shit in my early life I'd be monumentally successful at something or other by now. grin

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 14:34:30

Vickibee, while I'd agree that we're all born with an individual mix traits & characteristics, I dispute that any child is born without the potential for confidence. All babies are narcissists. What happens as they learn about their separateness from the world around them, and about interdependence, shapes their belief in their own strengths growing up.

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:27:41

Wrong thread, ignore! blush

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:26:58

I guess the other thing is: did your un-interviewed ? secondment pass over someone else ?

Swings and roundabouts ?

ARealDame Wed 19-Jun-13 12:19:02

I haven't really met anyone as described by OP, though as maybe I am not privately-educated, have little power and not useful to them in real life, they wouldn't bother to cultivate me!!! grin. I'm not really attracted to such people either, tbh, it can feel a little forced. Quiet confidence, or someone with confidence but a lot of wisdom is much more attractive in my books.

The kind of super-self-confidence that annoys me is for example when a young woman at the GP surgery yesterday just spent the whole time on her mobile ('cos she is young and sexy and happening and sick people waiting around her are just whatever!)

Perhaps, this kind of genuine super-confidence is usually only apparent when people are young and privileged. But even then, that will usually be countered by age and the knowledge that we are all vulnerable, in the end.

And I agree with those who say a lot of talented and valuable women in UK lack confidence sad.

I think the difference between here and abroad though is interesting, whether US or the Continent.

p.s. Note, alot of the super-confident in The Apprentice have gone in the first half!

Anyway, must go, Millionaire Matchmaker is on grin, wow there's some confident people on there!

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 12:15:34

It doesn't even mean the top 10% overall Faster. It just means the top 10% in your cohort. All it does is give thousands of parents an unrealistic idea of their child's supposed 'gift'. confused

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 11:29:57

going back to the op, I think part of how you perceive your talents, is related to your expectations.

I personally would not say I was good at something if I was only better than average. I am also surprised how G&T (which means the top 10%) is valued by parents as to me it needs to be top few per cent or less to be meaningful.....

I did A level maths in 6 weeks and got an A (and an S level) so I have specific views about what good is grin grin grin

Vickibee Wed 19-Jun-13 11:24:58

I beleive you are born with certain personality traits and you carry them with you all your life, it is very difficult to learn confidence

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 05:48:41

I've just seen something pop up on my facebook feed and I think it's very apt, and one of the great things about getting older and becoming more confident and comfortable in your own skin. It says:

I used to walk into a room full of people
And wonder if they liked me

Now I look around and wonder
if I like them.

grin I'm sharing that fo sho.

Soupa Tue 18-Jun-13 23:26:16

Oh bless you mumngran, no you were right it came out all wrong. 'Awkward' is such a good term for my childhood.

And on a related note I do have one friend who is relentlessly vocal about her aceness, never gets why contracts aren't renewed or relationships fizzle etc. she worked for me and drove me to distraction, she kept trying to be my friend too and didn't mind rebuffs. I had to sack her and still she was friendly, at this point I realised that she was actually fabulous and I was an idiot not to see her great points. We are good friends now and whilst at very different points in our lives still love to catch up and I still love her chutzpah . Her confidence borders on the delusional sometimes but she is great funsmile

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 22:58:15

Oh Soupa, I didn't mean to sound as though I was reacting negatively and am sorry if my post inferred that; just that the phrase 'ordinary childhood' was such a good jumping off point to highlight the root of low self esteem for so many people.
I am sorry your childhood was also awkward, and glad that the adult you feels secure in her own skin!

Soupa Tue 18-Jun-13 22:35:24

Yeah mumngran, I was being brief and crap. I didn't mean to sound so disrespectful of people working heard to feel ok. What I meant was my childhood was ordinarily crap really (optimist too maybe?) dad had mh issues that flared sporadically and meant I often didn't know what I would wake up to. Mum was very controlling andI was adopted and kept very safe and separate from my peers. My parents were great too but definitely flawed, I meant it wasn't obviously a childhood to make you confident. I was very overburdened by responsibility for both parents. Additionally I wore an eye patch(for ages!) had awful hair and clothes (mini me of my mother..the horror) and was state educated too. I was shy and nervous and scared for years but all that evaporated and left an oddly solid citizen behind, am not a super loud brazen type generally but am confident. So it's more that I know people of great awesomeness who are so incredible at what they do, at who they are, who were well parented and schooled yet who still lack confidence yet I don't but don't really know why.

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 21:37:15

Second ... I think you are OK. Narcissists never question themselves for a moment. Just doesn't happen. Oxymoron.

amigababy Tue 18-Jun-13 21:28:04

dh is uber confident, but only in his chosen area of work, where he also works harder than anyone else in the department that he leads, and would be able to do anyone else's job there. people love him and work really hard for him because they know he is part of the team but will lead in the right direction and not let them down. His confidence breeds confidence.
Outside, he is shy but sociable with people he knows well. Comprehensive educated just very clever and good with people.
I am "book clever " but have no confidence ( see mumngrans post which explains things perfectly.)
I prefer to stay at home where I feel safe. Privately educated but on a scholarship, school didn't impart a confidence package to me.

If you have a genuine ability and also empathy, and a secure background , I think you will be confident not arrogant

TheSecondComing Tue 18-Jun-13 20:45:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deliciousdevilwoman Tue 18-Jun-13 20:03:43

TSC-you remind me of my younger sister-in a good way! She was a firecracker and a bit of a stunner as a younger woman-but had (has) a chutzpah that made people gravitate towards her. Now she is in her early 40's and her bloom-physically has dimmed a bit, she's still sharp, funny, engaging, confident and people still gravitate to her. Her cards haven't always been good uns in life, but she's a positive person with oodles of self belief. No faux modesty, but not obnoxious either. Confidence is sexy.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 19:55:54

TSC, I may have got this wrong as am crap at remembering posters - are you an NLP aficionado? I think there's a basic "I'm OK, you're OK" premise in NLP; a belief that everyone has greatness within them. The affirmative idea, that each person has a "best they can be" which is truly great, would seem either liberating or threatening depending on your start position. I have, in the past, found it unbearably demanding. At other times, though, I've been well up for it. Am pretty sure this comes down, again, to inner self-belief.

TheSecondComing Tue 18-Jun-13 19:36:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oblongata Tue 18-Jun-13 15:22:43

Chigley I could not agree more (have a child who needs this tbh).
There is something really good about being properly listened to and having your needs met. I have a couple of people in my life MIL for one who can only pay attention to people if they are physically sitting down and have said 'Right, now is my time to listen to you', and I find it very draining and undermining.
Some of the nicest and best people I know just have that skill of paying you the right amount of attention and enjoying it in return.

BoshBosh Tue 18-Jun-13 15:20:12

Someone constantly talking about oneself and thinking they are amazing than everyone else is definitely arrogance. Those types of people are usually very unpopular, in my experience. I was at college with one, and although at first people went along with it, after a year of her constant talk about herself and how she was too beautiful to go into town as so many men looked at her , many got fed up with her, and she didn't really make any real friends on the course. I have kept in touch with her on a superficial level over the years, and even now, at 36, she is still like it and thinks she is better than others.

It's hard to put your finger on what true confidence/great self esteem is. I would say it's someone who is quite positive about life in general and is a nice person, but not so nice that they are walked over. Someone who doesn't partake in bitching, or putting others down in order to make themselves feel good. And someone who is just happy in themselves and what they are/have/do.

Oblongata Tue 18-Jun-13 15:18:26

OP I've wondered this for years. I've had a few friends/pals like this, and I do like them, but it's not hugely satisfying to be around people who believe their own hype.

I think they
- have one or more parents who actively talk their child up all the time, well into adulthood, and are really generous in public with their praise
- have been used to being photographed from an early age, a lot, and have had photos of themselves everywhere
- are possibly youngest in the family
- are naturally extroverted anyway
- are ruthless about cultivating people who are useful to them, and cooling off with people who have outlived their social usefulness
- take a scattergun approach to ideas, therefore seem full of energy and positivity, even if relatively little comes of it (let's not mention that though)
- are quite naturally sunny

I'm quite introverted and I find I can't cope when forced to be super confident like this. I'm learning, though, not to take it absolutely personally when a properly confident friend flits from person to person, project to project, with not as much follow-through as I need.

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