November 25, 2010

Of confidence, arrogance and stupidity

Recently I met a guy I used to work with many years ago. I admired him because while struggling in the corporate world he was such a confident person full of enthusiasms. I worked with him for a while and I knew then he will go far. As I have expected, he is now a high level executive in an international company. I am glad to that he is successful now but on the other hand I am disappointed to see that he has turned into quite an arrogant person.

I really hate to see people who started well with confidence, believing in themselves and knowing that they are doing a good job but when they achieved success somehow they changed displaying arrogance. Too bad when someone has financial power, authority, status and influence, it is so easy to slip from confidence to arrogance. 

Maybe it is none of my business how people become when they are successful but let me talk a bit about confidence and arrogance. So what is confidence and what is arrogance?

I would say that those who are confident don’t need to tell others that they are confident. They just do what they are comfortable with and display their abilities without exaggerations.  On the other hand, those who are arrogant often compelled to show off and display an attitude telling everyone that they are the best. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and many people often mistakenly displayed their arrogance thinking that they are showing confidence.

Let me put it this way ...  if you walk as if you rule the world and everyone has to know what you have done, that is arrogance. Confidence is when you walk as if you don’t care who rules the world and it is totally okay if other people knows nothing about what you have accomplished. 

Yes confidence is good but then there are those who are too confident. Too much confidence blinds them from common sense and leads them straight to stupidity. Let me tell you a joke to illustrate my point.

There was a man who was so confident of his religion and his faith in God that he was sure God is with him always and will help him through difficult times. One day his village was flooded and all the villagers left but he refused to leave. When the flood got worse, a boat came and offered to take him to safety but he refused to go saying “Don’t worry, God will come and save me”. Later another boat came to save him but again he refused to go saying “I have faith in God and I know God will come to save me”. When the flood water rises further, he went to the roof of his house and waited. Then another boat came by and again offered to save him but he refused yet again saying “I am very confident that God will come and save me soon”.

Finally he drowned, went to heaven and disappointedly said to God “I prayed to you every day, I lived my life religiously and have done nothing wrong. I have so much faith and confidence in you and yet you did not come to save me during the flood. Then God said “I am very glad that you have shown such great confidence in me but I can’t help you if you are plain stupid. Look, I tried to save you. I sent three boats to you but you just refused to get on to the boats!”. 

Do you see my point? I am sure you do.

We all have different views of things that we do and how we live our lives. I can only say that if we know how to tread between the lines of arrogance, confidence and stupidity, we will be a much better person.