If you're smart and work hard, but just aren't where or who you want to be. Welcome to your podcast, Real Confidence. I'm your host Alyssa Dver, and I'll be sharing a bit of brain science, some surprising social secrets and a touch of tough love. Why? Because I believe confidence is everyone's fundamental right and choice, so let's get to it.
You know, if somebody's telling you, they've got a lot of confidence. I get that a lot of course, because of my job, but I'm sure you've heard somebody say that they're very confident. Well, I would say it's like somebody who has a lot of money, if they have to tell you they have a lot, they probably don't. You know, think about that for a minute.
If somebody really is declaring that they have confidence, I think it's a way of them telling themselves or trying to bolster their own confidence that they have it. So as usual, we're going to dig into this often-challenging topic of confidence and the reason it's challenging is there's so many nuances and levels of it that what I want to talk to you about today is what is the right level?
What is too much, too little overconfidence, arrogance, and all the different kinds of confidence villains that we label in the ACI books and so forth that sometimes look like confidence, actually call those confidence imposters, but they are really not confidence. They are ways of trying fake other people to believing that that person actually is confident.
So stick with me on this. It's going to be kind of a, a heady discussion, but as usual, we're going to end up in a place where I'm going to give you some really tangible tips on what you can do to not only manage your levels, but really identify and maybe even handle other people's levels better. So, let's just think about this for a second.
We know that confidence is really important, and its a given, but you know, it's one of those assets that is understated because when you have confidence, not only do you get all kinds of beautiful abilities to be more persistent and focused and you can communicate better and you get to even attract things, you know, law of attraction.
I giggle a little bit because it was an interesting commentary, but in reality, if you don't have confidence that attraction doesn't work at all, and I would make the argument that being confident actually is the ultimate magnet, the ultimate attractor, not just to good luck and opportunities, but think about it, if you're confident you have that kind of aura, that it factor, if you walk into a crowd, you don't even know people who are there, you can spot confidence and it is attractive. Our mirror neurons kind of zero in on that really fast, and it is almost not almost it is sexually attractive. It is magnetic.
And so, you know, we know it is a positive thing and because it is an asset, quite frankly, a lot of people try to get it. And again, the parallels with money are probably obvious now. They're trying to get it accomplish it, achieve it themselves as well as take it from other people. So, you know, I think that there's a really interesting way to compare again, money to confidence.
And in fact, there was a study done many years ago, um, now, um, by Stanford University and it's still quoted all over in the media. You can Google it and I'm sure you'll find it in a couple of places. And it looked at what was the optimal amount of money, what was the annual income that people needed to really feel most confident?
And you're going to be surprised, um, because the number is $85,000. $85,000. Now, if you're living in a major metropolitan city, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and so on that number may be a little bit low compared to the rest of the country in terms of that's enough money to buy you some basic shelter, again, not a big mansion, but a place that you can live safely food on the table.
Again, not maybe the fanciest of wines and so forth, but you can cover your basic needs. Now I do a lot of teaching and of course, in almost every one of my classes, I talk about Abraham Maslow, 1940s again, long time ago, much longer than the Stanford study, but Abraham Maslow's pinnacle work on the hierarchy of needs really is fascinating for a lot of people today. It is the basis of most of, if not, I could even argue all of our psychology and sociology philosophies and, and theories, but Maslow, 1940 said that every one of us has a common set of human needs. The bottom of his pyramid. He put it in a pyramid because he said you have kind of a greater amount of these needs.
Um, at the bottom and as you progress up, maybe less, but it really was to imply also that until you filled the bottom, you couldn't move up. And the bottom of the list is physiological needs. You have to eat and breathe. You have to sleep. You have to do some other things to stay alive, physically. Above that was safety.
You had to feel safe. So, there's that safety home, a place to go home that you're not going to get eaten by the wild beasts or impacted by the weather, so to speak. And then in the middle was this need to belong. Now this is really interesting, and I could talk and maybe I will do a whole podcast on Maslow and this need to belong because that middle part of his pyramid was that piece that he said, every human being needs to feel that they're part of something that they are, that they're fitting in, that they're not weirdo strangers or otherwise not really part of the human race that we need to feel that we're contributing, that we recognized that we matter.
So that middle period part of the pyramid is really kind of fascinating. And we're going to come back to that in just a second, but again, on Maslow's hierarchy, um, at $85,000 in that Stanford study, you could cover your first two levels. So that gave people, it gives people, a sense of confidence that they can then enter that middle part of their pyramid that they can actually feel like they have covered their bases. $85,000. Now what happens after that? Well, or I should let's start before that. If you don't have enough to cover that, not of course you're preoccupied with safety, shelter, food, all those things we just talked about, you know, that you, your priority is making enough money so that you can take care of yourself and your family, right.
So, of course your confidence is not going to be completely solid until you do those things. But once you hit that mark, once you're at that place where you got, I've, I've got the basis covered, what the Stanford study said is above $85,000 above that level of I've got the basis you start to actually deteriorate confidence because you're worried about how much you need to keep up with the Jones’, is you're worried about if you're investing your money in the right places, you're worried if you're buying the right car, the right house, the right neighborhood. So that additional stress, that additional conversation that you have in your head about am I spending my additional disposable?
My, my discretionary money in ways that really fit my values needs and wants, but more importantly that make me feel that I belong that causes stress and subsequently a deterioration or eroding of confidence. So, think about this for a second, cause it was profound when I read it and I, I think it's profound to just consider this, that if somebody is making a lot of money, don't assume that they're more confident than you are. In many ways they may be less because they have a lot more decisions. And maybe completely consumed with the decisions around their money and they don't have time to deal with, should I reach out to a friend? Can I do X for myself, whatever it might be. They have fewer brain resources available because they are really focused on the money stuff.
It's very likely impossible. Again, it's taken a little bit of a leap of faith here in some cases, because of course not everybody who has a lot of money is not confident and generalities always get us into trouble. But I think there is a message here that more money we know, or we want to believe, at least doesn't necessarily give us confidence. Now people say, well, you can buy things, you can do things, get help. You know, clean your house to clean your house, do your nails, whatever it might be that gives you confidence. That is, I will say can be true, but again, don't associate the fact that more money gives you confidence automatically. It is the decisions that you make relative to that money that give you confidence. And financial wellbeing has a lot to do with having control of those decisions, knowing what to do with the money, how to spend the money. And so subsequently. Yeah, we talk about not the amount of money you have, but the ability to manage the money is really what gives you confidence. So enough about money.
We are going to be talking about money in a couple of podcasts from here. So, I just wanted to make the parallel though, that when people think about having more confidence, it doesn't necessarily mean it's true. It doesn't mean that they have more than you. It just means that they have a in their head, they are thinking that they are, they have confidence, or they may even be really questioning it. And I think that this issue of what is enough confidence or is there such a thing as enough competence? Absolutely. Too much confidence. We tend to put into two buckets and the two buckets are overconfidence and arrogance. So let me talk a little bit about overconfidence.
Overconfidence is often when people have so much confidence, but it's ignorant. They don't know that they shouldn't be confident. And in some cases, it's really more courage than confidence, which is really definitionally accurate, that they feel, feel fearless, that they, they feel, they feel that they could do things, whether it is a particular sport or take on a new job, they're fearless and not, but they really don't have the information, the knowledge, the experience to be certain that they can do it at all.
Let alone do it well. But their overconfidence gets them into the ring. Right. It kind of pushes them into a place comfortably that they can at least give it a try. So, overconfidence not necessarily bad, but it can be dangerous, right? Because if you really aren't prepared, if you haven't done the work, if you, you're not really in the space that you say, here's what I need to do this again, do it at all.
Let alone do it. Well, you could hurt yourself. You could hurt other people physically, emotionally. So, overconfidence not good, for those reasons. Arrogance on the other hand is something different. Arrogance. We probably have all kinds of names in your head for arrogance. So, somebody who's cocky, who's bitchy. Who's just obnoxious, right? Who's maybe too salesy. Now, arrogant people kind of know they're doing it. And I say kind of, because they are aware to a conscious level that they're not as confident about something about themselves and particularly as they'd like to be. But instead of working on that, and instead of working on their confidence, instead of working on themselves and really rectifying that and having the humility to do it, it comes out in this arrogant behavior.
It comes out in ways that they have to tell you how good they are. Not just because they want to tell you that they have these connections or these accomplishments or have something that is better than you. But it comes out in a way that actually is intending to make you feel worse about yourself. We would label that bullying and that's exactly what arrogance is.
It's a form of bullying. It's a form of making other people feel less confident. So, the arrogant bully can feel better about themselves. Now, when I say bullying, I'm hoping some of you who have followed my work in the past know that that's, you know, it makes it very clear. This is not good behavior. It's not something we want.
It's possibly something we do ourselves unintentionally, but I guarantee we all deal with it. We get bullied all the time. And when we were kids, people would tell us what to do about a bully. Right? You would ignore him, her, him. You would, you could stand up to the bully, you could report the bully, there's all kinds of advice we would give.
And then all of a sudden, we can become adults. And we kind of accept the bully behavior, particularly in the workplace, which is preposterous. You know, bad bosses are typically bullies. Employees, colleagues that bully, you know, we kind of label them as difficult, difficult to work with. And at times, unfortunately, I've done this myself.
You sit there, and you go, well, what did I do to deserve this? What am I doing to provoke this behavior from that boss or that colleague? And in reality, they're adult bullies. So, start to identify that arrogance again, maybe the vernacular of cocky, bitchy, difficult to work with, um, they may be pedantic. They may be kind of people who always like, oh, it's so easy. What's wrong with you? Kind of thing. Those are all forms of bullying. People who are deliberately indifferent. People who are always one-upping, you know, you did this, they did something that much better. You bought this, they bought something that's higher quality, higher price you want on a vacation, they want someplace better. One uppers. That's a form of arrogance and bullying. People who will talk over you and talking over, oh, I hate when that happens. You're having a conversation with one or more people, and they don't let you even say anything. They may ask you a question and not let you answer that form of behavior that talking over is also arrogant.
It's a form of bullying. So, what can we do about it? What should we do about it? Well, the first thing we need to do about it is understand why it happens. Why does it happen? And again, I talk, I do a lot of talks about bullying. In fact, this morning I was on, a Facebook group that was a team of nurses that I did a big presentation to and believe it or not in the nursing industry, it's pervasive. Bullying is just like all over the place. And a lot of the people that, the question that was posed is do you, you know, do you go by, and you get bullied in the workplace and if so, how do you deal with it? And a lot of the people are answering, like I, you know, steal her lunch and I, you know, stand up to her and tell her she's a bitch.
And. You know, the honest with you guys, my friends, that doesn't make you any less of a bully that doesn't fix the problem. And quite honestly, it actually exacerbates it. It validates the bully's behavior, validates the arrogant behavior, and encourages them to actually do it more. Why? Because they won because they got your goat because they made you feel less than, and you showed up that way and they win.
So, how do we do with arrogance as well as overconfidence? How do we deal with that? Well, again, if we're dealing with somebody else in that role who has that, those characteristics, overconfidence is actually pretty easy overconfidence, whether you're a parent or a teacher or a friend, simply ask the person, you know, have they. Can they explain to you how they've thought this through? Can you, I'm very curious, like you're about to go do X, whatever it is. You're about to go sky diving or you're about to take on that new job. That's awesome. But I'm just curious, you know, what, what are you, what are your expectations in terms of the process and the outcomes, like be that thought partner, that coach with that person so that you help them think through the things that they didn't and make them less ignorant, make them knowledgeable, make them aware, make them.
Appreciate what could happen so that they are then more certain that they're then going to get through it safely and successfully. Right. So, overconfidence is actually relatively easy to help somebody else. How do you know if you're overconfident? Have that conversation with somebody else, ask somebody else to challenge you on this thing that you're about to embark on fearlessly and just get a sanity check to make sure that you've thought through at least some of the basic questions of what it's going to take, so you can be safe and successful.
So that's again, it's relatively easy. Arrogance on the other hand is hard and it's hard because we don't like to confront it. We don't like to deal with it, and we don't like to deal with it. Cause it seems like, again, these people are very confident. They're stuck in their ways, and it takes energy to do it with it.
Right. You know, sometimes I think to myself, do I even want to be bothered with that person? Do I want to educate them? Do I want to lay down the lesson for them and take the energy to do that? And again, pick your battles, depends on who it is and the circumstance, but let's just say it's somebody you care about, or you have to work with, and they are so arrogant and they're so overbearing that you're like, I gotta do something.
I gotta do something. So, the first thing I want to give you some comfort is to understand why they're doing it. Now. I'm leaning in your compassion for other people, and I'm hoping that you read this as I'm not asking you to lay down and die for this person at all. I'm not even asking you to expend a lot of energy what I'm asking you to do is recognize why this person is in this place so that you can deal with it better yourself in your own head, and then decide if you really want to help them. Okay. I do believe and when you understand better, why people are doing what they're doing, it, it just gives you a really good place to start to make your own confident decisions.
So why is an arrogant person, AKA a bully, doing what they're doing and perhaps not a surprise it's because they fear something. They fear something, something scares them. And when something scares us, we know in our confident conversations, particularly a fear of failure of your regret or a fear of rejection.
Remember good old Maslow, our amygdala lights up our brains go into this mode of alarm of alert. And says incoming potential danger. I may lose face. I may have my ego wounded. I may be rejected. I made not belong. And so that amygdala moment as I call it. That amygdala, moment, if we are conscious, conscious about it, if we recognize it, we can then put it into our prefrontal and toward the brilliant part of our, our brain, where we can start to rationalize and think about it and decide if that's true or not.
If it really is that we are a loser or we're just being silly. We can decide what to do about the situation. So that we don't react and respond in a way that is survival mode bound in our brainstem. So that we go into defensive or aggressive mode so that we don't become a bully. So, imagine this, you are talking with maybe a boss or a colleague again, that's just difficult and they start to act like a bully. They start to put you down. It could be something as brash as you’re not making a good contribution at this workplace and I don't like you, or it could be as subtle as what do you mean you haven't done X. One of my favorite forms of bullying that happens way too often, it's probably because I've written too many books is when people come to me and are, say, have you read X book? Do you know X author? And I'll say, actually I do not. And they're so surprised, really. No, I don't read everybody's books, do you? Right. But because I've written some, they think that I guess maybe I should, or maybe they're right.
But in reality, I think, is there a way of putting down me? Cause they're a little jealous that I've written books. So, their bully behavior is an arrogant extension to quite, quite frankly. So, think about some time, someone that does this to you, that that makes you feel less than that makes you feel like you're not good enough just by something they say or do like that and recognize that there's something that's triggering that behavior for them. It could be historical. It could be in the moment. It doesn't matter, but there's something that's triggering their amygdala and they are going into survival mode. They're going into their brainstem and they're saying to themselves, get caveman like. Fight or flight- they're fighting. It's just a very strange form of it.
You know, there's no bats or guns or anything, but they are bringing out their emotional guns, their emotional bats and hitting you over the head with them in that moment. So that's why they do it. They're defending their ego. They're defending the caveman in themselves. Do they know they're doing it? I said earlier that arrogant people often are conscious. They are, they, they know they're doing it, but they can't help themselves most of the time. They can't help themselves from telling you about all the connections or accomplishments that they have. How much quote money they have? Right? They can't help themselves. It becomes almost a routine motion. It's, it's a way of really making themselves feel better.
It's almost like a drug head and addiction. And quite honestly, I could make the argument that in their brains, it it's very parallel, but that's not your problem. Right? Your problem isn't the fact that they're getting triggered to act like caveman. Your problem is that they're taking it out on you. So, what we're going to do is we're going to take that bit of knowledge and after our brief sponsor message, we're going to come back. And I'm going to tell you precisely some steps that you can do to defend yourself against that horrible, arrogant, bitchy, cocky behavior. I'll see you in a few.
This podcast is sponsored by ERG Leadership Alliance. ELA is making workplace diversity and inclusion a reality by equipping leaders with the knowledge and tools to run effective employee groups. You can learn more about ELA, many events, training, and tools at www.ergleadershipalliance.com.
Alrighty, we're back. And again, we're going to take that knowledge of the fact that a bully that is somebody who's acting in an arrogant way is doing it because their amygdala is on fire and you have some options, right? You are the victim in this case and you're like, I don't like the way this person's treating me.
They're making me feel not so good. And you have some options, you know, of course you can let the bully run over you. I'm not gonna lie to you. A lot of people do that. Right. They, they suck it up and they let it go and they, oh, you're so great. And yeah, no, yeah. You're awesome. And I'm so not right. That's an option. It's not a particularly lovely one. You may be okay with that, and I don't think that's a confident place to be. So, I'm going to give you some better ideas now, can you avoid or ignore those people? Sort of. Right. In some cases, yes. In some cases, you can say to yourself, you know what, that's their problem.
They are having a, an emotional confidence crisis, I'm not going to let it ruin my day. And I think that's really. Um, wonderful. If you can do that, I personally am not that resilient. I'm going to be very upfront about that. I let people get under my skin because I care about them. And even if they're an, a, somebody I know well, and somebody is starting to bully me for that matter I will immediately want to kind of deal with it. Not necessarily just ignore it and be like too bad for you. So, it depends on your personality, but ignoring it or just avoiding it, if you can go for it, if that works for you. But again, the last bit of advice here, the last practical step is more, what I subscribe to personally and I think is a lot more productive.
And I think that the key here is to recognize that you're doing it for yourself. This advice I'm giving to you to protect your confidence. All right. And that is to actually give it to them. Ah! You've heard me say this in my Ted Talk and other places that giving confidence gets you confidence. That's absolutely the truth.
But in this case, in order to protect your confidence, to keep it where you want it to be, and not let the arrogant person that bully, take your confidence. You got to give them a little why, because what they're doing is they're screaming and their own quiet bully way that they want to feel that they belong, that they matter.
It is Maslow, once again, this person that is trying to take your confidence is because they need to fill their Maslow level themselves. So how do we fill it for them? How do we give them a little confidence, love if you will. So that they kind of back off so that they leave you alone. And it's really simple. You just acknowledge them. You don't have to agree, but you have to acknowledge you let them know that you heard them. That they are being listened to. And not ignored, but you do not agree with them. Do not say yes, do not shake your head up and down. All you have to say is I've heard you; you matter. It's a little weird to say to somebody, but trust me, when you say to somebody, you know what, what you're saying to me really matters. I'm hearing you and I can appreciate what you're saying.
None of that says you agree. None of that says that you're going to give up your confidence to give it to them. What it says is that they belong. It's as if you put a fire extinguisher, that beautiful foam that comes out of it, on their brainstem and cooled it down and now they feel like they have an ally, a friend they can't pick on you because you're not gonna roll over and die for them. You've given them enough belonging, enough confidence about themselves in that moment to back off, to not try and take yours. So, I'm going to invite you to give it a try. Next time somebody tries to take your confidence. Somebody who, again, maybe it's just a one-up kind of situation or they've talked over you, or maybe they're acting like, you know, they're queen of the day, king of the moment.
You can decide to let it run. Just let it go then. That's cool. Like I said, if it worked for you, you could definitely give them a little bit of that I’ve heard you, I see you, what you're saying is important and I'm, I'm listening and see how it changes people. See the transformation in their face, all of a sudden, their cheeks relax. They may smile at you. And it's really hard to bully somebody who's on your side. So again, you're not doing it for them. You're doing it for yourself because the day that you take control of your own confidence, that's the day, your confidence is really yours. And you're making that decision. That's, that's what it's about.
It's about owning and controlling your own confidence and it's sometimes, yeah, we gotta put a little energy to defend it. To keep it safe from people who want to take it from us. Ah, A little easier said than done. Yeah. But definitely doable. So, my friends, if, and when you have the opportunity to give it a try, I’d love to hear your experiences, put them in some comments in the blog or put it in the channel that you're watching this podcast and I'm going to wrap up today's topic because again, the best way that you can get confidence to give it, give it to others, including me. And so, if you like this podcast or any of the others, I would be so appreciative if you would like it, share it, give it to somebody, pass it along to somebody else that you know, could use some confidence and you help us all.
I always appreciate any and all comments. And questions, so, you know, put them in there if there's future topics that you want me to talk about, I’m, all ears. So, friends for now don't let anyone bully you. Be strong, be good. Be generous. Be confident. This is Alyssa Dver. And I want to thank you for helping bring more confidence to the world.
This podcast was produced by Mindful Media. All rights reserved by Alyssa Dver and the American Confidence Institute. Music written and performed by Jeff Weinstein.