Recently, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a business psychology professor at University College London and an expert in personality profiling and psychometric testing, sought to debunk the popular belief that high self-confidence is critical to career success. He writes in the Harvard Business Review blog that self-confidence is actually detrimental to success.
He gives three reasons why low self-confidence is good for you:
1. It makes you more attentive to criticism and self-critical. "Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases, so they tend to listen to positive feedback and ignore negative feedback." To excel, writes Chamorro-Premuzic, "you will need to be your harshest critic, and that is almost impossible when your starting point is high self-confidence."
2. It will motivate you to work harder and prepare more. "If you are serious about your goals, you will have more incentive to work hard when you lack confidence in your abilities. In fact, low confidence is only demotivating when you are not serious about your goals."
3. It will make you look less arrogant and keep you grounded. "People with low self-confidence are more likely to admit their mistakes—instead of blaming others—and rarely take credit for others' accomplishments." And the result, writes Chamorro-Premuzic, is that everyone—the individual, the organization, and society—will benefit when humility is restored.
My gosh, what kind of Pollyanna babble is this? Has the good professor ever worked in the real world, where people (actually, let's make that "men") with swagger almost always get the best assignments, better titles, fatter paychecks, and more glory? Hasn't the secret long been out that being the hardest worker-bee is not the way to play the game?
I mean, haven't women been following Chamorro-Premuzic's script in the workplace—having low self-confidence, being self-critical, and putting in a ton of sweat equity—forever? And look where that's gotten us—a wage gap and a dearth of women in the top echelons!
I can only assume that Chamorro-Premuzic is offering his nuggets of wisdom to those with an overload of testosterone. Because it seems to have no relevance to at least half the population.
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