An exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities - that’s the definition of arrogance. Not how I would want anyone to describe me, which I’m sure is the case for most leaders.
So, why is it so common? What makes us arrogant, or better yet, why do we choose to be arrogant? Because, it is a choice isn’t it? No one is ‘making us’ think or believe that we are more important than we are or more talented than our abilities reveal.
Arrogance is off-putting at best, and disgusting at its worst. No one wants to be around arrogant friends, colleagues, or family members. Most people avoid them while the rest usually endure them.
Here’s the biggest problem with arrogant people though - they don’t know they’re arrogant. You know what they call it? Confidence.
Well, there is a big difference between the two.
Why Should We Care? Arrogance is typically rooted in what someone does. For some it could be a position they’ve attained - CEO, President, Head Coach, Professional. After all, being the CEO makes one more important and more talented than the VP doesn’t it?
For others arrogance is tied to accomplishments they have conquered - the highest salary, famous clients, winning championships. If I beat / make more money / know bigger named people than you, I’m better, right?
Finally you have the group of people that link their arrogance to who they are - family name, the job title, or the name of the company. The Smith’s that donate thousands of dollars to the school each year are clearly more important than the Smith’s that use the donation to cover their children’s weekly meal charge, aren’t they?
It’s interesting to note here that the hierarchy in every walk of life provides footholds for arrogance to climb on. It is the comparison that creates arrogance. Zen Shin said, “A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” No ranking. No righteousness. No arrogance.
REAL TALK - Action Steps As you look at the arrogance around you more and more, you begin to realize that most of the people with this heightened sense of self-worth likely didn’t have it when they were making their way to their position of power, accomplishing their lofty goals, or identifying with their title. Or, they must’ve at least taken a break from it.
Arrogance does not coexist well with the process necessary to achieve greatly. Confidence, however, does.
Arrogance is focused on who you are or what you have. Confidence is centered on what you do. Confident people are sure because they’re the CEO, they’re confident in their ability to do the work of the CEO. That’s a significant difference.
Identify Your Flywheel
What process do you go through to improve, to grow? How do you get things done in your position? How is each simple action connected to the next one? And, most importantly, what is the foundational action that drives all the others?
Write daily about what you are thankful for. It’s impossible to be genuinely grateful while overvaluing one’s self. Focus on others during this time. What have they done to help you? What opportunities to serve others have come along this week?
Here are some good prompts: confidence means to me ... confidence smells, looks, tastes, feels like ... the 3 most confident acts I’ve seen are ... if I was more confident I would ... (blank) is holding me back from being my most confident self ... if confidence was a superhero or animal it would be ... a song that instantly makes me feel confident is ... if I could shout out one thing and the whole world could hear me it would be ...
Confidence differentiates itself from arrogance by not concerning itself with the result. The symbolic pursuit of a destination is arrogant in its attempt to justify claims.
While arrogance is the exaggerated sense of one’s own importance and abilities, confidence is an accurate sense of one’s own importance and abilities. This is a sweat spot we need to hit.
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