Confidence vs Arrogance (9 KEY Differences to Watch Out For!)

confidence vs arrogance

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Confidence vs arrogance, the age-old debate.

One of the main reasons people hesitate to even look into becoming more confident is because they often associate confidence with arrogance, dominance, narcissism, and other traits that they find unpleasant.

Simply put, people want to feel more confident but they don’t want to become jerks!

But here’s the thing, confidence is actually the opposite of arrogance. Confidence, by definition, is about the healthy management and expression of your mind, while arrogance only ever comes from psychological insecurities.

In this post, we’ll look at some key points of difference in the confidence vs arrogance dilemma so you can safely build your confidence without fear that you’ll turn into a dick.

What’s The Difference Between Confidence And Arrogance?

confidence vs arrogance

Frankly, with the right definitions we can put this debate to bed right away.

Here are the definitions I’ll use. These might not be dictionary compliant, but instead are helpful for your development and clarity.

Confidence: a sense of trust and belief in yourself that comes from consistently living in alignment with your core values.

Arrogance: the belief that you are superior to other people.

Straight away these definitions should look starkly different from each other. Confidence is clearly about integrity while arrogance is clearly about dominating other people. And it’s this focus on other people that is the key difference, as we’ll explore more.

Example: Keanu Reeves is confident; Donald Trump is arrogant.

Confidence vs Arrogance

what's the difference between confidence and arrogance

Now that we’ve identified what’s the difference between confidence and arrogance in terms of definition, let’s look at confidence vs arrogance in 9 real-life scenarios.

And if you want to help build deep & authentic confidence in your life, be sure to check out my latest program Shamelessness – Total Social Confidence on Menprovement X. 

Now let’s take a look at confidence vs arrogance:

1: Based in fear (Arrogance) vs based in love (Confidence)

Arrogance comes from insecurity. It is the projection of superiority to hide the fear of inferiority. Arrogant people secretly suffer from Imposter Syndrome and are scared that one day they’ll be found out for the weak person they really are.

A confident person does not fear inferiority. They don’t actually measure themselves as “better” or “worse” than others. To a confident person, this measurement makes no sense. Confidence is about feeling grateful to even have a shot at being alive and recognizing that all humans are in this together, whether we want it or not. Everyone is a potential ally or brother.

An arrogant person, on the other hand, sees only competitors. The only love he has is for himself, and even that is built on a foundation of sand that he must try not to think about too deeply.

Example: a confident parent will commend you and encourage you on your endeavors, while an arrogant parent will try to outdo you and brag about their own achievements.

2: Comparison to others vs self-evaluation

As arrogance is all about superiority, arrogant people spend the vast majority of their time thinking about other people and comparing themselves with them. More specifically, they’re looking for ways in which they can beat them, or bring them down.

Confident people respect others and leave them to figure out life for themselves. Rather than comparing themselves to others, they simply compare their own behavior with their own set of principles. The question isn’t “Am I better than him?” but more like “Did I do what I know is the right thing to do?”

For example: a confident writer will journal about how honest he was today compared with a year ago, while an arrogant writer will post shit on Twitter about people to make them look worse than himself.

3: Anything to win vs living with integrity

Arrogance is all about winning the competition. No act is too devious, petty or cruel if it serves a victory. Arrogant people are happy to crush others to climb to the top.

Confident people are more interested in becoming someone they respect and admire. There is no competition. When they do compete, it’s for the thrill and the challenge that only competition can bring, and winning or losing is irrelevant.

Example: a confident soccer player will admit that the ball touched their hand even if the referee didn’t see it, while an arrogant person will trip over another player when the ref isn’t looking.

4: Focus on image vs focus on character

As arrogant people have their entire self-worth based on their reputation and how they are seen by others, their image is the most important thing to them. They think about almost nothing other than how they can be viewed as better than others.

Confident people will happily sacrifice their reputation if that’s what is required to live with integrity. They care more about their opinion of themselves than the opinions of others.

Example: a confident boss will use his work to make his team look good, while an arrogant boss will use his team’s work to make himself look good.

5: Path of least resistance vs acts of courage

Arrogance is actually a cowardly cop out. It’s a style of bullying that the person happened upon early in life and found to be an effective coping mechanism for insecurities and social control. There is very little courage or discomfort required to be arrogant.

Confidence is quite the opposite. It requires daily sacrifices of comfort to do what is right rather than what is easy. It is not based on coping mechanisms but on a deep philosophical search into truth, meaningfulness and integrity.

Example: a confident businessman will work for years to build up an authentic business, while an arrogant businessman will use quick-fix marketing tricks to make easy money selling shite.

6: Alone vs connected

I feel sorry for arrogant people. No, I really do. While they bluster on the outside, inside they are incredibly lonely. It’s impossible to connect with people when you feel nothing but contempt for them.

Confident people eventually start to feel connected to everyone and everything. They are so satisfied with their own integrity that there is no hole to fill in their psyche. Because they see others as equals, connection comes easily to them.

Example: a confident billionaire will give his money to a worthy charity because he knows people are simply less lucky than he is, while an arrogant billionaire will hoard his money because he doesn’t trust or like anyone else.

7: Narcissistic vs self-serving

This here is one of the key differences that people get stuck on. Both arrogant and confident people seem to be focused on themselves primarily. But they are not the same.

Arrogant people are actually more focused on others. Or more specifically, the comparison to others which we discussed earlier. Arrogant people see themselves as the center of the universe but also in competition with all the orbiting planets.

Confident people know that taking care of themselves is what’s best for everyone else. They focus on their own development and integrity because that’s simply the best contribution they can make to the universe. They are not the center, they are simply a part of the universe doing its bit, trying to light up its own little corner so that others might see better.

Example: a confident husband will get up early to work out and prioritize his health so that his family gets the best possible man he can be, while an arrogant husband will miss his wedding anniversary simply because it’s chest day at the gym with his buddies.

8: Manipulative vs honest

Honesty is a key difference between confident people and everyone else, including arrogant people.

Because the arrogant person is obsessed with winning and dominance, he will take the path of least resistance to achieve this aim, which usually involves manipulation and deception. He has no moral qualms about lying to get his immediate needs met.

A confident person will delay gratification in order to serve his integrity. He’ll tell the truth even if it costs him in the short term, because he knows that unbreakable confidence comes from being true to yourself without compromise.

Example: a confident politician will accept a smaller vote count if that’s the price of standing up for what he believes in, while an arrogant politician will say anything that polls well.

9: Certain vs humble

Again, both arrogant and confident people seem certain and sure of themselves. Many self-development enthusiasts resist being sure of themselves because they’re concerned it means they’re being arrogant.

But arrogant people believe they are right no matter what. They don’t bother to question themselves or check what they believe. They simply go with it because their mind told them it was right. They often lack evidence, rationale and reason for their beliefs, but will shout those beliefs right into your face.

A confident person also appears sure of themselves, but it’s for a different reason. They’ve carefully examined all evidence and challenged themselves skeptically before arriving at a conclusion. They’re certain because they started with the humble position of “I don’t know” and built up from there. Also, they’re willing to admit they’re wrong and change their mind.

Example: a confident scientist will withdraw a study that has been debunked, while an arrogant scientist will personally attack the person who debunked him in an attempt to discredit his findings.

Confidence vs Arrogance: Summary

So what’s the difference between confidence and arrogance? Well, frankly, they’re not even close to being the same. Confidence comes from integrity while arrogance comes from a delusional self-view built on insecurities and cowardice.

They are not the same.

When you’re not sure which one it is that you’re seeing in someone else, check to see if they’re willing to admit to being wrong, if they’re willing to lose approval in order to be honest, and if they’re generally kind to other people.

And when you work on yourself, you’ll simply have to face your fear that some people will think you’re arrogant as your confidence grows. If you’re living with integrity, then they’re wrong about you. You don’t need to correct them – just find new people to hang out with.

As you get more confident, you’ll find life a lot easier if you start spending time with other confident people.


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