The secret of being confident without the arrogance

You can be confident without being arrogant. PHOTO|FOTOSEARCH

What you need to know:


  • I find the biggest challenge to be in maintaining that thin line between being confident and being arrogant
  • One way to unlearn fear is by experimenting with things you're probably going to fail at when you try it first

Anyone who knows me now would find it hard to believe that I was once a bumbling shy boy who couldn't look girls in the face and hid my nose in books. Who knew that the child who would hide at the back of the class hoping that the teacher would not pick on him would grow into a man on TV panels, moderating conferences and fighting for truth and knowledge.

I can't tell you where the change happened and what shifted but I'm glad something moved. Still, I get stumped when younger men, ask me how to be more confident because I happened to stumble into it as life threw fast and furious punches at me. Life forced me to adapt and grow. The question comes from men who feel that they're losing out women to more confident men or those who feel like they're losing out on career (and other) opportunities because of their timidity.

The fear is warranted though because we learn quickly enough that confidence gets you more places than competence. A case in point is this vaccination scandal in Philadelphia in the US. A 22-year-old startup founder, Andrei Doroshin, got the deal to roll-out vaccines boasting that he could vaccinate between 500,000 and 1.5 million people. Truth is, he had no knowledge in healthcare or logistics and was armed with nothing more than a flashy PowerPoint presentation and the audacity of whiteness. Eventually, after pocketing the deal money, he failed.

Not only did his firm close down critical testing centers in black communities but also the programme crashed because of lack of experience. The founder was also sneaking away vaccines to personally vaccinate his girlfriend and his friends.

Yes, it was a disaster, but the critical lesson here is the confidence in this white young man. It's the same self-assured way that American college graduates carry, when they get local jobs or are start-up founders, and end up raking millions of dollars to transform our archaic way of life.

I digress though. Being valiant is something that will add to your life. So where do your start?

Take care of yourself. it sounds simple but you would be surprised at how few men do this and how much of an impact it makes. This boosts the value you place on yourself and it will reflect in the way you carry yourself. Basic hygiene is non-negotiable, eat healthier, work out, pursue your hobbies and you improve your networks.

You may not have it all figured out but you need to be clear on your vision. This will help you act with more intention and slowly help build your esteem. Write down what you want, shake off that fear, take small, manageable steps, know that your dreams will change over time, and keep reminding yourself about where you're headed.

One way to unlearn fear is by experimenting with things you're probably going to fail at when you try it first. Try coding, join the toastmasters, the Sunday football league for old-in-body-but-young-at-heart men in your estate, or Jane Mugo's taekwondo/henchman/extortion classes, or whatever else is happening. You'll learn patience, pushing through failure, teamwork, and how far you can push your body.

Who said you are foolish if you sit at your corner listening? Don't be that person with the constant need to have the last word which many people do to hide their insecurities. Feel free to ask what you don't understand, to listen, and to add on only what's necessary. You learn that loudness is not confidence. Silence is power.

Of course, some things are better said than done. Everyone has their journey and the route that is best suited for them.

Still, start by embracing your imperfections and believing you're worthy of happiness. Once you find your courageous self, help another man up, will you?

I find the biggest challenge to be in maintaining that thin line between being confident and being arrogant. While self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment, arrogance is having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities. So the moment we "exaggerate" "self-confidence" it becomes "arrogance". Note the difference.

Overall, work on being a decent and honourable man. This world needs more men like that.


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