Confidence, Or Cockiness? Know The Difference

There is a line from the original Star Wars film Episode IV: A New Hope, spoken by Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo to Mark Hamil’s Luke Skywalker during a pitched battle in space. While not one of the most memorable or quoted lines in the film, it is a solid piece of life advice that has applications in many different ways, including business. The line is “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

Cockiness is a personality trait that can do you a lot of harm, in the long run. Confidence, on the other hand, is critical to success in almost every venture. The two are easily confused, and it is very easy to slide from one into the other. Today we’ll talk about the differences between them and how they can affect how others perceive you, and in turn, your business.

Carrying yourself with an air of confidence is of the utmost importance when discussing your business with others. People are generally more receptive to someone who sounds like they know what they’re talking about, and who appears to feel passionate about the topic. The human mind is trained to perceive various factors such as speech patterns and body language to read how a person really feels. Some are better at it than others, but generally it’s a skill we all possess. That means everyone you’re speaking to regarding your business has the ability, consciously or subconsciously, to perceive your emotional state. This makes it very important to put forth a genuine air of confidence as you are talking. Make no mistake, people will respond to it in a positive manner. It has been stated by many people over the years that a person who speaks with utter confidence and conviction could be completely making things up as they go along, even things that are extremely far-fetched, but because they’re so confident in their delivery, people will believe it anyway. Now this doesn’t mean you should put on a well crafted façade of confidence in order to manipulate people, far from it. But this does show the importance of presenting yourself in a confident manner. Doing so will go a long way towards communicating to people why your ideas are good ones, and make them more likely to sign on with you.

Cockiness on the other hand, is essentially confidence gone off the rails. While people will respond positively to someone with a confident air, the opposite is true for someone who puts forth a cocky one. Let’s call a spade a spade here, when somebody is talking to you and being cocky about it, acting extremely arrogant, like they’re the know-it-all king of the universe and all lesser beings should hang on their every word, well, they come across like jerks. And if that person is a jerk when they’re trying to communicate to you a business opportunity, then they’re probably a jerk in other ways too, and not someone you want to work with. We’ve all met someone whose confidence has gone completely over into full blown cockiness. I’m willing to bet most of us don’t particularly like that person very much, and tend to tune them out when they start talking. You do not want this to happen to you. You don’t want to be that guy. That guy is, as I said, a jerk. And who wants to work with a jerk? The answer is, of course, nobody. Make an honest assessment of yourself and how you treat others every so often to make sure that you don’t step over that line from confidence into cockiness.

Confidence is a virtue, and extremely useful in life and business. But always be sure to remember, in the wise words of Han Solo: “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

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