“Why should we choose you and not the others?”, the interviewers ask John. He immediately responds, “I believe that I can do it better. I was a top performer in college and I have only pursued and achieved excellence. You can trust me to do my job.”

John seems confident about his abilities and speaks from experience. Although his qualifications matched the job requirements, the interviewers rejected his candidacy. Do you know why? It’s because John comes off as overconfident.

People often make the mistake of being overconfident, thinking it’s just confidence. Worried that you may be doing the same? Read on to understand the key differences between confidence and overconfidence and how you can tackle overconfidence in professional settings.

Confidence Vs. Overconfidence

People often confuse overconfidence with confidence but there is a thin line separating the two. Confidence is when we feel sure about our actions and make the right decisions. We believe in our ability to do something and have faith in ourselves. On the other hand, overconfidence is excessive belief in our abilities, overlooking the fact that we can be wrong too. It’s rooted in feelings of insecurity; we get overconfident when we want to mask self-doubt. Overconfidence often leads to arrogance and poor decision-making.

Here are a few defining features to help you differentiate between a confident and overconfident personality:

Confident Personality

  • You’re not trying to prove anything

  • You don’t seek validation or want others’ attention

  • You aren’t afraid of speaking the truth

  • You exhibit boldness and people automatically take notice

  • You’re true to yourself

Overconfident Personality

  • You love to talk more than you listen

  • You’re out to prove your point to others

  • You’re overly concerned about what people think about you

  • You can’t accept your weaknesses or failures

  • You aren’t always your authentic self around others

Overconfidence leads to the overconfidence effect, which refers to a well-established bias that encourages us to overestimate our knowledge and ability to predict something. The planning fallacy is an example of the overconfidence effect, where we tend to overestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a task. For example, entrepreneurs enter the competitive market despite low chances of success.

Impact Of Overconfidence In The Workplace

It’s important to understand the difference between confidence and overconfidence, especially when you want to build professional relationships and achieve workplace success. As an overconfident individual, you’re more likely to dominate group conversations. You won’t be open to diverse perspectives and this may lead to arguments and conflicts. Here’s how overconfidence plays out in workplace settings:

  1. You think that you’re better than others and your decision is final. You’re willing to take unnecessary risks because you want to prove your point.

  2. You feel that you have control over situations. It’s especially harmful when you’re in the business of investing; you overestimate situations and fail to accurately gauge risk factors.

  3. You underestimate the time you’ll take to complete a task. You may procrastinate and fail to meet your deadlines.

How To Avoid Being Overconfident

It isn’t easy for people to admit that they are overconfident. Here are some tips that will prevent you from being overconfident:

  1. Be Honest With Yourself

Start by being honest with yourself and not fixating on what others think or feel about you. Overconfidence is rooted in self-doubt and insecurity; you need to embrace all aspects of yourself. In the process, identify your limits and don’t be afraid to say no.

  1. Stop The Comparison

We have been conditioned to outperform our peers, whether it’s academic or professional life. The constant comparison is unhealthy because you find it difficult to celebrate others’ successes. Instead, define success on your own terms; do things because you want to and not because someone else is doing it already.

  1. Be Open To Criticism

Many of us have the tendency to take criticism personally. As a confident person, you will seriously consider the critical feedback. You will take the necessary steps after self-reflection and work towards implementing those changes. Keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say. Hear them out!

  1. Learning Never Stops

Learning is an endless process for a confident person. You aren’t afraid of making mistakes and acknowledging your failures. In fact, you convert failures into learning opportunities and work towards improving them. You aren’t afraid to accept that you’re wrong and you’re open to seeing the other side of things.

  1. Slow Down

An overconfident person is always eager to prove their point, which is why they jump to conclusions and make hasty decisions. A confident person will slow down. You will stop taking things for granted and will analyze a situation before drawing conclusions. You won’t rely on shortcuts and impulsive decisions are a strict no-no.

While these self-help tips are useful, self-reflection and introspection are imperative in overcoming overconfidence. Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course will teach you how to foster self-awareness. The River of Life Framework in particular will help you reflect on life-shaping experiences. Understand and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and prevent overconfidence from creeping in.


Explore topics such as How to Build ConfidenceExamples of Self-Confidence & Confidence vs. Arrogance from Harappa Diaries and identify the best version of yourself.

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