04.12.2023 Confidence or Competence

AO: Lightning Rod

VQ: @StrayCat

PAX: @RedCurry

Conditions: 35deg, Raining



SSH – IC – 20

Imperial Walkers – IC – 10

Forward Arm Circles – IC – 10

Reverse Arm Circles – IC – 10

Toy Soldiers – IC -10

Halos – IC – 10

  • MOSEY to field

The Thang: Mini-Murph


  1. 1/2 Mile
  2. Rows x 50
  3. Merkins x 100
  4. Squats x 150
  5. 1/2 Mile

Each round:


I have a really annoying salesman that periodically calls me. He tried to get me to hire an engineer last year. He told me this engineer was really great and “had what a lot of engineers seem to lack – self confidence”. I thought to myself, “this engineer sounded terrible.” I like engineers with a lot of self doubt and uncertainty. I like engineers who are always worried they might be making a mistake.

Some confidence is important, and it is important not to be intimidated by people you meet and work with. However, our culture has blown things out of proportion with self-promotion and “fake it till you make it”. Confidence without competence is not valuable. The following quote is from a Harvard Business Journal article called “The Perils of Self Promotion.”

“Reams of psychological studies show that being perceived as modest is associated with a wide range of positive outcomes. The message is clear: People do not value confidence unless it is accompanied by competence—and even when it is, they prefer to see as little confidence surplus as possible.”

That’s certainly the stance that Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychologist, university lecturer, and (full disclosure) HBR author, takes in his new book, Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt, which persuasively argues that we’ve taken our culture of self-assurance and self-promotion too far. He cites a longitudinal survey of U.S. college students in which the proportion describing themselves as “an important person” spiked from 12% in the 1950s to 80% in the 1980s; further along the self-involvement spectrum, rates of narcissism jumped from 15% in 1982 to 25% in 2006.

Chamorro-Premuzic frets about the impact on our skill-building abilities, because his review of the research on confidence (and competence) shows that it’s actually low self-esteem—not a healthy ego—that propels us to success. After all, he writes, “wanting to be good at something is incompatible with thinking you are good at something.” He advises the ambitious “not to have high confidence, but to have high competence.” Don’t “fake it till you make it” or strive to promote yourself. Instead, work hard. Work well. Be likable.

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