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Difference Between Confidence and Overconfidence

Like confidence, its more excessive counterpart, overconfidence, entails expressing oneself quite comfortably. Obviously, both deal with being certain about oneself. Another similarity concerns the state of being motivated. Both confident and overconfident people are typically pushed by the force of their positive beliefs in themselves. Still, alongside these comparisons are their notable differences. The following points delve into how confidence is distinguished from overconfidence. 

Difference Between Confidence and Overconfidence

What is Confidence?

Confidence is having the optimum level of self-belief.  Individuals who have the right amount of confidence succeed because they have the ideal mixture of confidence and ability.

According to Lickerman, the 3 realms of confidence are beliefs in one’s:

  • Competence

The confidence stems from previous training and mastery. For instance, a soldier may be confident in combat but unsure of himself regarding public speaking.

  • Ability to learn and problem solve

Unlike the belief in one’s competence, the belief in one’s ability to learn and problem solve does not involve previous training. Generally, this realm involves believing in one’s ability to achieve despite past failures. It is also typically observed during novel situations and unfamiliar challenges.

  • Intrinsic Worth

Being comfortable in one’s skin despite appearance, financial status, and popularity concerns intrinsic worth. Synonymous with self-esteem, this realm focuses on the independence from justification.

Difference Between Confidence and Overconfidence-1

What is Overconfidence?

Overconfidence is often interchanged with arrogance, hubris, and presumptuousness. It exhibits an excessive degree of self-belief to the point that overconfident people do not like to accept help and think that they are the only ones who are able enough. As objective reality is extremely far from the overconfident mind’s world, a number of problems are most likely to arise such as being too complacent and irrational which would eventually lead to failure.

Difference between Confidence and Overconfidence

  1. Improvement with Confidence vs. Overconfidence

Overconfident people think that they are perfect and that others ought to merely follow them. On the other hand, confident people understand that they have something they need to improve on.

  1. Ability with Confidence and Overconfidence

Confidence is expressed as: “I can do it!”. However, overconfidence is expressed as “Only I can do it!”.

  1. Success with Confidence and Overconfidence

The success brought about by confidence is long-term while the triumph from overconfidence is short lived.

  1. Narcissism

As compared to confidence, overconfidence is noticeably associated with narcissism as it involves overvaluing oneself while others are being devalued.

  1. Rationale of Helping

A confident person offers assistance because he believes he has something to offer while an overconfident individual thinks that others will fail without his help.

  1. Likability with Confidence and Overconfidence

Confident people are well-liked while overconfident people drive people away.

  1. Perception of Failure with Confidence and Overconfidence

Confidence accepts the possibility of failure whereas overconfidence does not acknowledge defeat in any way.

  1. Control

Confidence concerns controlling one’s actions but overconfidence is about controlling everything.

  1. Facts of Confidence and Overconfidence

Confidence is based on facts or behavioral patterns while overconfidence is based on delusions.

  1. Support

Confidence welcomes support from others while overconfidence is typically not open to accepting assistance as they underestimate others’ contributions.

  1. Regret or Bitterness

Though they may not admit it, overconfident people, as compared to the confident ones, may often experience more regret or bitterness due to the impacts of their complacency and delusional perceptions.

  1. Blame

Confident individuals take responsibility for their actions while the overconfident ones blame others if things go south as they are only interested in getting the glory.

  1. Limitation with Confidence and Overconfidence

Confident people know when to stop, observe caution, and yield. Unfortunately, those who are overconfident are too full of themselves that they keep on going even if the risk is dangerously high.

  1. Trouble

Since overconfidence does not acknowledge limitations and practices complacency, it often leads to different kinds of trouble. On the other hand, confident people are healthily grounded that they do not frequently make foolish judgments.

  1. Performance

Confident performers execute at their optimum level while overconfident performers usually slack of as their skill does not match their sense of assurance.

  1. Task

Overconfident people view difficult tasks as easy while confident people view them as challenging.

  1. A confident mindset seeks respect through hard work while an overconfident outlook clamors for attention through drama.
  2. Decision

Overconfidence yields hasty, often erroneous, decisions while confidence results to calculated conclusions.

  1. Patience

Confident folks often exhibit patience in verifying accuracy in the process. However, overconfident thinkers are too impatient for validating procedures and merely rely on their quick yet unwise speculations.

  1. Listen

Confidence makes a person listen to others while overconfidence makes him listen to only himself.

Confidence vs Overconfidence : Comparison Chart



Accepts improvement Does not acknowledge any room for improvement
“I can do it” “Only I can do it”
Enduring success Short-lived triumph
Not associated with psychological disorders Linked with narcissism
Attracts others Drives away others
Graceful Loser and less regrets May be consumed by regrets and bitterness
Understands the possibility of failure Ignores the possibility if failure
Belief is based on facts Belief is delusional
Welcomes support from other people Does not accept assistance
Takes responsibility for actions Only takes the credit but blames others for failures
Aware of limitations Knows no boundaries
Less likely to cause trouble Often gets people into trouble
Promotes optimum performance Promotes underperformance
Views difficult tasks as challenging Underestimates difficult tasks
Makes calculated decisions Makes rash judgments
Respects patience as a virtue Reflects highly impatient behavior
Listens to others Only listens to oneself

Summary of  Confidence and Overconfidence

  • Both confidence and overconfidence deal with being self-assured and motivated.
  • Confidence is having the healthy level of self-belief which often paves way for success.
  • The three realms of confidence are beliefs in one’s competence, ability to learn and solve problems, and intrinsic worth.
  • Overconfidence is having an excessive level of self-belief which is often associated with failure.
  • Confident people acknowledge that there is room for improvement and understand the possibility of failure whereas overconfident people become too complacent and underperform.
  • Overconfident people become delusional regarding their importance that they do not accept help while confident people are more objective, listen to others, and welcome assistance.
  • Overconfidence leads to rash decisions while confidence is characterized by the patience of going through calculated deductions.

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References :

[0]Johnson, Dominic. Overconfidence and War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press,2004. Print.

[1]Kay, Katty and Shipman, Claire. The Confidence Code. Illinois: Harper Business, 2014. Print.

[2]Lickerman, Alex. The Undefeated Mind. Florida: Health Communications, Inc., 2012. Print.

[3]"Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bitesizeinspiration/8695948108"

[4]"Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/75718307@N00/25226319879"

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