Subscribe in a reader

Are you a web programmer familiar with LAMP stack and want to work from home? Please fill out an application here! Full time job, salaries range from around $1,000-$6,000/month.

The Weakness Of Overconfidence

We’ve all experienced it before. You take a test that you think is ridiculously easy, so you put it off until the last minute, and end up getting a B. You get into a relationship and start taking your significant other for granted, resulting in a breakup. You invest in a stock thinking there’s no way it’ll go down, and lose a big chunk of your money. It’s just so easy to make these mistakes, even after years of training to guard against it, as I recently experienced in A Negative Score On A Homework Reveals Some Interesting Things About Myself.

Why Is Overconfidence Bad?

Confidence is a great thing. It allows us to get past our doubts and take action. So why is slightly too much of it so bad?

Well, let’s first take a look at why we get overconfident. Generally, if something requires the full extent of our abilities, we find it challenging and need to use all our resources to overcome the problem. That’s a really hard thing to do, and we generally feel not too confident about it. When things are at about our ability level but don’t strain it too much, we find it interesting and maybe even a bit relaxing. In this case, we can feel confident about our ability to accomplish the task, but know that we still have to work decently hard. However, when the task is extremely easy or below our abilities, we may often feel that it’s barely worth our time. That is where the danger of overconfidence becomes a menacing threat. Since it’s so simple, why not just put it off? You can just finish it with minimal effort later… right?

Well, kind of. The key thing to realize is that the task is only easy assuming you use your resources and ability fully. You might think walking across the street is an easy task, but what if I tell you it has to be done within 5 seconds and you can only use one foot? It suddenly becomes a much harder task!

That is exactly what happens when you start to procrastinate on these easy tasks! By putting it off, the amount of time you have to finish is decreased, increasing its difficulty level. By not concentrating on it fully, the chance of making a mistake goes up significantly. It’s like only having half your brain available to you, making the problem harder. Additionally, resources that were available may no longer be available to you later. For example, if your task was to travel from NY to CA on the 4pm flight, it’s pretty easy to do at 3:00pm. It becomes a much, much harder task at 4:01pm.

Let’s look at some examples of common areas of overconfidence, to see if we can avoid these problems.

Overconfidence At School/Work

You start taking a class or start a project that is so easy you can laugh. It’s practically child’s play. You already know what to do and how to do it. A few weeks pass. The old work starts piling up, as you scramble to do them. Suddenly, it’s not so easy anymore, as there is a time constraint on finishing all that “easy” work. Additionally, the project/class has been getting harder throughout the last few weeks, and now the material requires your full attention. Instead of spending the few hours you needed on this class/project, you’d spent tens of hours on some other harder class/project.

An extra 0.6 on your GPA is the same whether it’s in a hard class or easy class, but that extra 0.6 may only take 2 extra hours a week in the easy class while it may take an extra 15 hours a week in the hard class. Wouldn’t it be such a shame to not get those points from the easy class?

Overconfidence In Relationships

You start out as two happy people, considerate of each other’s feelings and making an effort to connect. Then, as the relationship progresses, you forget the reason it formed in the first place. You figure, “Oh good, the other person’s going to be with me forever, so there’s no need to do the nice things I use to do anymore”. You stop providing value to the other person which was the reason for the relationship in the first place. What happens then?

The relationship starts to rot. The two people start to disrespect each other, and soon, they part their ways.

I speak of this from personal experience. I had a friend who I shared ideas with for a few years. As we communicated differently, mutual respect allowed us to overcome some behavior barriers and learn from each other. One day, however, he indicated to me that he longer wanted to talk in my frame of reference because he liked his better. It wasn’t long before that resulted in communication where I didn’t feel understood. Soon, I end all communication for exactly that reason.

Relationships are about an exchange of value. No matter what the agreement is, when that exchange stops, the other person can and probably will leave.

Overconfidence In Poker

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced this. You sit down at a table thinking that you’re better than everybody. As a result, you’re not thinking about what other people have or why they’re doing what they’re doing. You shove globs of money into the middle, being overaggressive, because you think you are better. Soon enough, most of your money is gone.

Another common variation of this is that you have been lucky or skilled and have won a large stack of chips. However, all that winning has made you very “loose” and you start taking unnecessary risks because you can’t seem to lose. Before long, your huge stack of winnings dwindles to just a smallish stack of winnings. Hey, that’s even worse than losing your small stack from the first scenario (even though you won a little bit of money, you still lost more money)!

My friends and I refer to this phenomenon as “win tilt”.

Overconfidence In Investing

“That stock can’t go down! Warren Buffet bought it!” Or maybe you did two weeks of research and learned about all sorts of technical analysis tricks. Of course it has to go up right? Um right… down it goes. This isn’t exactly new to anyone who has ever invested in the stock market. Yes, stocks go down. They can always go down.

How To Overcome Overconfidence

Remember that when things are easy, you are expected to win. From an emotional perspective, when things are hard, it’s okay to lose. No one makes fun of you for not being able to solve a hard problem. However, how does it feel to take a 1st grade arithmetic test and get a 90? Yeah, you’ll probably get at least a couple of chuckles from your friends!

Logically, working extra hard on the easy tasks is also very important. If you are hired for a job, there are assumptions about what you know or what you need to do. If you demonstrate that you don’t actually have a fundamental grasp of the most basic concepts (even if you actually do), it could have severe negative effects with your boss, much more so than being unable to solve the latest hard problem.

Therefore, it is even more important to work hard when the task is easy than when the task is hard!

Just be extra careful when the task is easy to guard against overconfidence. After all, working through an easy problem 6 times probably takes less time than working through the hard problem once. That and they’re generally worth about the same!

If you feel that this post has been of value to you, please leave a donation to show your appreciation and allow me to bring this value to other people as well!

Ask a question or discuss this post in the personal development forum.

Email This Post Email This Post

Related Posts

No related posts

Free Personal Development Email Updates

Not sure when the next article will appear?
Why not subscribe to email updates and get articles delivered to you instead?

Enter your email address:


34 Responses to “The Weakness Of Overconfidence”

  1. Alex Blackwell on October 30th, 2007 1:11 pm

    Very interesting perspective – not a view usually discussed.

  2. Personal Growth on November 2nd, 2007 7:41 am

    Confidence is a great thing. It allows us to get past our doubts and take action. I speak of this from personal experience. I had a friend who I shared ideas with for a few years. As we communicated differently, mutual respect allowed us to overcome some behavior barriers and learn from each other. One day, however, he indicated to me that he longer wanted to talk in my frame of reference because he liked his better. It wasn’t long before that resulted in communication where I didn’t feel understood. Soon, I end all communication for exactly that reason. The article is very nice and it is useful to upcoming generation

    thank u

  3. arpit sharma on August 18th, 2008 10:49 pm

    thank you very much sir…this was extremely helpful…sorry unable to make donation but im obliged with this..

  4. Vumvi on May 14th, 2009 3:37 am

    Interesting read indeed. It was hard to accept at first, but now I have seen all the symtoms and will make an effort to change my attitude towards people and tasks which I think have lesser strength than me. And these has been a journey of finding my truth.

    Thank you, ngiyabonga..!

  5. Ashley on September 17th, 2009 10:00 am

    I am a substance abuse counselor and I dea with my clients being overconfident on a daily basis. Yet these same clients also relapse frequently. Their overconfidence is astounding. I plan on doing a group on overconfidence very soon.

  6. Salih on October 28th, 2009 8:51 pm

    I have always been looking for the reasons why I most of the time perform average in simple tasks and achieve well in hard ones, but could not find a good answer. I have always done good in what I thought was hard for me; but if it is an easy task, I either get overconfident and ignore important details or over-magnify it in my eyes and look for far-fetched solutions when the good one is just in front my eyes. After reading this article and several bitter failures, especially with people, I realized that I was simply overconfident and that almost always lead me to bad surprises and disappointments. I know now that I have a counter-productive overconfidence that I shall work on even if this does not seem to be an easy task.

  7. Abdi Adan Idris on December 8th, 2009 11:09 pm

    I had average grades in easy classes compared to hard classes of which I got high grades. Now I know that this was brought by overconfidence.

  8. Anna on March 1st, 2010 11:36 am

    Overconfidence is good to me, because I’m going forward without looking behind, I find excuses to runway in order to meet more men and have many sex experiences, also seduce many men older than me, I like that very much. I think that previous men are after me, even if they say that I’m running alone and NOBODY IS FOLLOWING ME. But I think it’s wrong, because I’m sure that they ALL WANT ME.

  9. bhargavi on May 8th, 2010 8:53 pm

    i was very upset on the day of my p.t.m because with many praises i also got a remark from my english teacher that i should try to keep my confidence in a limit . now when i have realized what to do i feel that i can keep the words of my teacher

  10. Ahmed Adamu on May 23rd, 2010 6:10 pm

    Thank you so much sir, am most grateful.

  11. Stephany on June 8th, 2010 10:55 am

    hey , my husband is overconfident and that’s hurting me, he always thinks that he can absolutely do everything because he is soo strong soo clever and soo and sooo, I am not comfortable with such person, I start to be nervous everytime he starts talking about himself in front of people, that’s not good, let people talk about you, please how can I tell him to stop that in a good way

  12. Jessica C on July 1st, 2010 5:47 pm

    I just wanted to say that I have been in an argument with a friend of mine for three years over the subject of confidence vs. overconfidence. He says overconfidence is better, but I say confidence is. This article is AMAZING because it shows exactly what I am trying to say to convince him. Thank you for it. i hope some day to convince him that I am right and show confidence is better!!!

  13. Corey on July 1st, 2010 5:57 pm

    This article is amazing. Thank you so much. My friend, however, is too overconfident to even read this article. He thinks it is a waste of his time. Hopefully we can reach out to all of the overconfident people and make the world a better place :)

  14. Tariq Ali on December 3rd, 2010 10:51 pm

    Excellent article.Amazing reality ant surprising facts.I’m a teacher by profession and can help students with this “syndrome” after reading this!

  15. Sum on January 30th, 2011 8:34 pm

    Great article. I am dealing with a high school sophomore student who just received Bs in 2 critical tests in math. I had to point out that knowing everything is not enough, being able to demonstrate what he knows this is more important. To ensure that he is able to demonstrate this over and over again – practice and perseverance is equally important. He kind of had an “aha” moment – which was good and am hoping he will follow through on this.

  16. farah khan on March 16th, 2011 4:12 am

    it is really valuable piece of information as per from because u i suffer from ths overconfidence thanks a lot to the person who wrote this as i now would definitely change myself

  17. Nasar on August 31st, 2011 10:28 am

    It helps me a lot. Due to overconfident,i have lost almost an year.i.e. I changed my profession in to another way.lost so much money,time..i can’t express the loss.i think this all(overconfidence)come through my lonely life..

  18. AnotherCockyGuy on December 11th, 2011 10:14 am

    Many thanks for this perspective. I think it should be discussed more. I suffer from overconfidence too resulting in: being rude, disrespectful, poor interpersonal skills and generally burning bridges with people. Shame really – but hopefully with ideas like this such overconfidence can be dampened.

  19. Michelle Hamilton on January 13th, 2012 9:25 am

    Hi. I’m a reporter for Women’s Health. We’re doing a story on overconfidence and I’d like to ask you a few questions. Please email at above address. Thanks so much.
    Michelle Hamilton

  20. Robsan Egne on January 29th, 2012 4:39 pm

    Hello, very useful text. Keep it up!

  21. G.G on February 26th, 2012 4:22 pm

    Thank you for posting this article. I am at a darker time in my life right now, feeling so empty. And I just realized, that all along I have been overconfident as a person overall. Must be very annoying for people around me. If I may share, I think part of this over confidence is built because I have no fear of losing. I have no friends – nobody to criticize me; I own a small company – nobody to fire me (I am not wealthy though); I get compliments for my look (I’d been scouted to be a model many times when I was younger); and I think I’m smart, my iq is really high; Just reading this alone might have already turn everybody off. Now I’m going to see a psychologist to get some help. I’ve ruined my life enough, my head has gotten so big I let the man I love the most slipped away from my life.

  22. zoe on April 10th, 2012 10:29 pm

    There aren’t words to say how thankful I am. priest did it, he saved my couple and brought my husband back to me. Now he is as he used to be in the first years of our marriage: PERFECT! He no longer come to visit other ladies and stopped watching porn on his computer. All the effects I asked priest have been granted by his spell. It’s a true miracle. A million times THANKs to

  23. Liana on June 3rd, 2012 10:25 am

    I was doing an essay on this topic. This article really helped me understand the term over confidence.

  24. Liana on June 3rd, 2012 10:32 am

    When you said “It’s like only having half your brain available to you, making the problem harder.” I wanted to correct you because we only use 10% of our so being able to use 50% of your brain would be making the problem easier.

  25. monique on July 21st, 2012 8:00 pm

    I am from German and have worked with several times. I want to tell everybody that he is a true, genuine spiritual person, his powerful spells always work. I recommend him services to everyone that is in search for best spells.

  26. CandyPierre on December 31st, 2012 11:13 pm

    I had been all over the internet trying to find someone who could help me out with my situation, I loved my my husband so much but he never loved me rather he goes out with other females then one day I found in the internet where he had helped many women who had the same issue with me, when i contacted him he said he will help me and just as he said. my husband concetred fully on me and he stopped all his bad habit I was astounded because so many say they are the best but can’t back it. but prof really surprised me till today, his love spell not only brought my husband back but also the spell made my husband to change to a good man

  27. MarkRaven on December 31st, 2012 11:14 pm

    Mark from Boulder windshield, Last year I broke up with my girlfriend due to many misunderstandings and I remember very well how hard I had to fight to get her back. She changed her number, changed her job so that I don’t visit her office and none of her friends would give me any information about her. The only thing I could do was to go where she stayed but that was way too risky looking at the fact that her parents were very strict and she had three elder brothers and none of them would tolerate a guy who has hurt her sister. I still took my chances, so i looked for a way to get her back then a friend recommended me to contact that he will help me and as my friend said prophet harry helped me to bring back my girlfriend just in 3 days Now I have her back and this is the biggest joy of my life

  28. andrewjean on December 31st, 2012 11:16 pm

    Thanks to for his wonderful work, My girlfriend left a week before our vacation to be with another man. I was desperate to get her back when I found prophetharry. I tried 5 other people to do a spell to get her back and nothing worked. I was still alone. Then I found prophetharry by accident. I don’t know how I found him, I don’t remember. But, when I first saw the good testimonies about his wonderful work and after reading the Testimonials, I decided I had to try and give it one last shot. After my spells, I got a text from my lover. And we started going back and forth by text, she asked to meet the next day. So we did, and that night we ended up sleeping together, and about a few days after we got back together. anyone who needs help, should email prophet harry. He is the best.

  29. Gerri Detweiler on April 18th, 2013 5:12 pm

    Last year I broke up with my girlfriend due to many misunderstandings and I remember very well how hard I had been fighting to get her back. She changed her number, changed her job so that I don’t visit her office and none of her friends would give me any information about her. The only thing I could do was to go find help from anywhere, so i looked for a way to get her back then a friend recommended me to contact that he will help me and as my friend said, dr.marnish helped me to bring back my girlfriend just in 3 days, I now have her back and this is the biggest joy of my life
    Gerri Detweiler

  30. janeparker on April 18th, 2013 5:13 pm

    My boyfriend broke up with me 4 weeks ago after we been friends for 4 years and we were in a relationship for 7 months. I did everything for him whenever he needed help with something if I could help I came through for him. Out of nowhere he surprisingly left me to be with someone else. I love him so much and cared about him a lot. I never asked anything from him. I have no kids and a good well paying job. Everything was so perfect and good between us. He told me he would take me ring shopping and we would settle down and have a baby together. Everything was great. We met each other families and everyone told us we were perfect for each other. He met some other girl. so a friend gave me this email of this spell caster to contact him, i contacted him because i was so heartbroken and don’t know what to do with myself but after 3 days of contacting dr marnish, my lover came back to me
    janeparker from USA

  31. Shannon Monique on April 18th, 2013 5:13 pm

    I honestly thought that my marriage was healthy. i loved my husband with all my heart. we was married 8 years and have a 3 yr old son. we bought a house 2 months ago. i told him i was pregnant…then he starting acting strange. he didn’t want me to keep the baby. one day i decided to tell him i could not go through with not having the baby (about 2 months pregnant), then he tells me he doesn’t love me anymore. 2 days later he tells me he cheated on me and wants a divorce. he has since (2 weeks) been really cruel, cussed at me, told me he was going to file kidnapping on me, and has generally acted like i am a doormat. the other woman even contacted me and told me she is going to be my children’s stepmother. i know that the affair was not very long because he met her 3 months ago. i don’t know what has happened to my husband. i cannot eat or sleep and only have a sister with minimal finances. i completely alone and scared. i needed help because i don’t know what to do. he filed for a divorce with a lawyer. so 3 days later a friend told me about a spell caster, i contacted him and told him my problem and what i wanted and after 3 days he brought my husband back and made my husband a changed man, he is now a good man.
    Shannon Monique from Texas

  32. TaShana bouque on April 18th, 2013 5:14 pm

    My lover and I split up over two years ago and I was searching for help in the internet, I tried many different spells from almost every place locally as well as online and none of them worked, I almost gave up hope because I thought i will never see my lover again forever, before he left me, we were planing to get married in the future but all of a sudden he broke up from me until one day i saw some testimony about this powerful spell caster dr.marnish i emailed him and i asked him to help me bring back my lover and he casted a Retrieve A Lover Spell for me And after some days of casting of his spell, my lover returned back to me I’d like to say that i got a positive result from, ever since i used his love spell, my lover have learned to appreciate me more and more day by day, and he doesn’t take me for granted. TaShana bouque

  33. martyr on April 18th, 2013 5:14 pm

    i found out that my husband has been cheating on me (online) for more than a month, just last week when i got no internet at home. i am in the Philippines and he’s in uk. i know we’re so apart but is it not enough reason to cheat? he was flirting and doing stuff with girls online. he deleted all the things i could see and he didn’t intend to tell me about it but i still found it out. when i asked him to confess, he said he’s not cheating. then he admitted some things but not everything so it wouldn’t make it more worse. he’s the kind of guy who will never admit a thing till he’s cornered with proofs. i was 7 months pregnant and i’m worried about my baby. i cant help but to think all the time about what my lover is doing to me. i never thought he’d do that coz i know he loves me so much. but why would he flirt and cheat on me and do stuff with girls on cam? one morning he called me and told me that the relationship is over and that he don’t need me anymore i felt so hurt and betrayed so i had information about this spell caster, about his glorious spell to people and how he use to bring lovers back, but at first i felt unconcerned because i hardly go for such things and i thought his work has a side effect, but when i gave him a chance to cast a spell for me because i was very in need on how to get my lover back, to my surprise his spell worked for me very fine and fast, my man started loving me again and came back to me from uk
    I am a martyr from Philippines

  34. Bill Mitchell on April 18th, 2013 5:14 pm

    my name is Bill Mitchell , i have been married for 7 months, i was 5 months pregnant, i love my husband so much, and keep putting up with all his excuses, and believing that he loves me. I found out 3months ago that he has been testing some woman he works with and it started 1month after we got married, he says they are just friends and i called her and she says the same, i dint believe him, we fought because i have found numerous other emails, and texts on his phone from other women, so he agreed to get rid of his phone, and face book, and start counseling, he went 3 times, didn’t like what they told him. yesterday when i got home from work i hit redial to see the last number that he called, and sure enough it was hers, i became so tired of living like a stranger, worrying all the time, and i was always scared when i am not with him . one night he came back drunk, he also came with the other lady, when i i tried to confront him, he immediately started hitting me and he pushed me out the house and ask me to leave, i was so ashamed that this is happened to me and we have only been married for 7months, one day as i was making a search on the internet i came across a spell caster who had saved many marriage so as i contacted him, he told me what is needed and in 3 days time he restored my marriage, i and my husband came back together as a married couple, i am so so so so happy, my marriage was saved by dr.marnish
    Bill Mitchell from canada