Confidence|Arrogance: Crossing the line

We like, admire and want to associate with confident people. Conversely, we do everything in our power to avoid those who are arrogant.

How do you know when you’ve crossed the line between confidence and arrogance? The signs are obvious to others, less so to ourselves.

Arrogant or Confident?

Here are some things for you to look for in your own behavior.

  • Am I open to new ideas? Or do I vigorously defend my position even when I know I’m wrong?
  • Am I critical of others? Or do I look for ways to help them?
  • Do I seek others’ opinions? Or do I trust only my own counsel?
  • Do I remain calm when others criticize me? Or do I strike back with the same or greater vigor than what was inflicted upon me?
  • Do I spend the majority of my time learning about others’ abilities or touting my own?
  • Do I shine the light on others’ success or seek credit for myself?
  • Do regularly put my needs ahead of others’ needs?

Now if you’re wondering how in the world you’re going to remember all of these questions so that you can do a self-evaluation, here’s the good news. You don’t have to. There’s only one question you have to ask yourself when you encounter difficulties in dealing with others.

That question is “Am I being egocentric or other centric?”

In other words, am I putting my needs above those of all the others involved?

Crossing the line

When you place your needs, your interests, your desires ahead of those with whom you’re dealing, you’ve crossed the line from confidence to arrogance. The more emotionally charged the situation, the more likely you are to cross that line. How can you avoid this temptation?

First, as soon as you realize that you’re becoming emotional, pause a moment and ask yourself “Am I being egocentric or other centric?”

This simple combination of pause and question will take you from your emotionally-charged state to objective analysis. As you begin to analyze both your and the others’ needs you will see opportunities to fulfill both…if not completely, to a much greater degree than you did previously.

As you help others fulfill their needs, you’ll see that they become increasingly interested in helping you fulfill yours. This becomes even more beneficial to you when you’re dealing with a group of people. When you help 3, 4 or 5 people get want they want, all of them will want to repay your kindness. That’s a hefty return for simply putting others’ needs ahead of your own.

For you

First, as soon as you realize that you’re becoming emotional, pause a moment and ask yourself “Am I being egocentric or other centric?”

This simple combination of pause and question will take you from your emotionally-charged state to objective analysis. As you begin to analyze both your and the others’ needs you will see opportunities to fulfill both…if not completely, to a much greater degree than you did previously.

As you help others fulfill their needs, you’ll see that they become increasingly interested in helping you fulfill yours. This becomes even more beneficial to you when you’re dealing with a group of people. When you help 3, 4 or 5 people get want they want, all of them will want to repay your kindness. That’s a hefty return for simply putting others’ needs ahead of your own.

For our kids

When you see your kids crossing the line, ask them the question “Are you putting your needs ahead of those of others?” Help them understand where the line is between confidence and arrogance.

Ask them to think about people they know who they feel are confident and how they feel when they’re with them. Then ask them to thing of someone who they feel is arrogant…full of themselves. How do they feel when they’re with that person?

Then ask them which type of person they’d prefer to be. They’ll quickly see the advantage of staying on the confident side of the line.

Finally, teach them how they can shift their thinking quickly and effectively when they are in an emotionally-charged state. You’ll be amazed at how quickly kids learn to avoid crossing the line.

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