Many people are hesitant to act confidently for fear of being perceived as arrogant. But confidence is needed in achieving goals and reaching success. This fear, then, holds many people back from reaching the results they desire and deserve. By understanding the difference better, a person should be able to act with the needed confidence but not with arrogance.

What is arrogance?

Arrogance is the attitude that you are better than others for some specific reason. Acting with arrogance means that your actions give the impression of felt superiority. It does not matter whether that superiority is real or not; arrogance is about the perception of attitude.

This means that you can be perceived as arrogant regardless of your belief about yourself or others. In other words, you can honestly believe that everyone is your peer, your equal, and still be perceived as arrogant. Your actual beliefs are irrelevant to the perception.

What is confidence?

Confidence is the internal belief that you are capable of accomplishing what you set out to do. Confidence is based on your self-image, rather than the beliefs of others. You can act with confidence regardless of whether others believe you can accomplish your goal; the source of confidence is within, not without.

Why are the two confused?

People confuse confidence with arrogance because confident people act on their beliefs and their goals, not the desires and wishes of others. If done badly, this internally inspired action can be perceived as ignoring or dismissing others. Those who are confident act regardless of what others say because their self-image inspires them to act.

What can be missed is that confident people do not base their self-image on a feeling of superiority over others but on their self-awareness. It is not that other people are deemed to be inferior; it is that other people do not motivate the action. Since the motivation comes from within, a person with assurance will act regardless of what other people think.

Preventing the Perception of Arrogance

Confident people need to make two things clear to other people to avoid arrogance. First, the confident person needs to assure others that they are valued as individuals. The confident person is not ignoring others, and their input may be valuable. It is just that the confident person does not let others control him. By making sure that other people know they are valued as individuals, the confident person can prevent the perception of arrogance.

Second, the confident person needs to serve others. Since service is a key to success (by the Law of Compensation), the confident person needs to make sure that other people know that he is there to help them; this help can be direct service, or could be indirect such as providing inspiration. In any event, the confident person should always have service as one of his inspirations.

Finally, the confident person should let others do and be what they want. Even if the confident person sees that the other is making a mistake, his help should be offered, not forced. By giving others the freedom to act, and to err, the confident person affirms their worth as equal to his own, thus preventing arrogance.

Confidence does not make a person better than someone else; it simply makes them able to act when others might not. By acting with confidence, by giving service as part of their basic philosophy, and by letting others do as they will, the confident person prevents the appearance of arrogance and raises people rather than pushing them down.

Author's Bio: 

John Steely has been teaching mathematics, study skills, and habits of success for over 25 years. This material comes from a course on Deep Self Confidence offered on his website.