Seemingly Overconfidence-3 Steps to Confidence

David deBoisblanc, September 1, 2014

Consider Steve McQueen. For those of you not old enough to remember Steve McQueen, he was admired by men, loved by women and is to this day considered the epitome of "cool". He is studied by many modern actors portraying leading men. Daniel Craig reportedly immersed himself in Steve McQueen to ready for the Bond role. Steve was amazing offscreen as well, he competed in car and motorcycle racing and was quite accomplished.

While Steve is certainly better looking than the average Joe, he was rather plain looking compared to other leading actors of his day like Paul Newman, Robert Redford, etc.

What was his attraction? Was it his cool? The answer is yes, it was his "cool". And that "cool" came from portraying unbelievable confidence.

In my earlier post titled, Value Boldness-There is no tomorrow, I state that one of the steps in developing boldness is to "Believe in your value and develop seemingly over confidence". To be bold requires confidence, so how do we develop greater confidence? The secret is "seemingly overconfidence".

In the linked article titled "the evolution of overconfidence" the study argues how overconfidence maximizes individual fitness as well as a population's.

Why does this work? The answer lies in both psychosomatic biology and in overcoming our environmental negativity. Lets look at both:


  • The mind body connection is bi-directional
  • Confident body language leads to confident thoughts
  • Confident thoughts lead to confident body language
  • This mind-body loop reinforces each other
  • Confident body language has been shown to increase the presence of confidence inducing hormones
  • We often fulfill what we envision

Overcoming negative environment:

  • We tend to doubt ourselves and interpret neutral data as negative feedback
  • Negative influence are like weeds and need to be plucked out constantly
  • We hear negative outcome stories as people find those more interesting
  • The mind-body loop will also work against us if we allow doubt to rule
  • Worth a repeat: We tend to doubt ourselves and interpret neutral data as negative feedback

So what is seemingly overconfidence:

It is a belief in your value now and in what you are becoming despite any negative feedback to the contrary.

  1. You imagine what you are becoming in the intermediate future; then think and walk like that person
  2. You hold all negative feedback in deep distrust, in fact ignore it unless it is a deadly warning.
  3. You exhibit the body language that this person you are becoming displays.

You must establish what your value is and what it is going to be, now, intermediate and far future. Then you carry the attitude of the intermediate (it is sooner obtained and it becomes a reinforcing loop).

I am not advocating arrogance, but even arrogance would be better than defeatism. Check your gauge on measuring arrogance and you may find that you are mislabeling confidence as arrogance.

What about seeming overconfidence leading to disaster because of ignoring negative feedback? Certainly, this is a possibility, however, is the bad result from lack of confidence a more likely outcome than the disaster. Ignoring negative feedback is far down the scale from flirting with disaster. Remember that doubt is confidence's enemy and doubt tends to interpret neutral data as negative. Being "seemingly overconfident" is the antidote to doubt distorting the reality of who you can become.