Confidence = Virtue and Overconfidence = Vice

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‘I have confidence in confidence’ trilled Maria and we sang along with her while viewing “The Sound of Music’ for the umpteenth time. Confidence is a possession that makes a world of difference to everything, right from our performance to our demeanour. The zip in our move and the zing in our step come because of confidence. We feel ready and up for anything with a heart for any fate. But there is a flip side to this. Some of us end up being ‘over confident’ which changes the scenario altogether. It is akin to the difference between feeling deliciously full after a meal and feeling nauseous due to eating too much.

Overconfidence precedes carelessness

The main reason why overconfidence is not a virtue is that it gives us a false sense of confidence. For students this feeling can be disastrous. Right before exams they are of the opinion that they know everything and have no need to study any more. They try to reassure worried parents and anxious teachers and themselves to a great extent that they are perfectly geared up for the exams. The seriousness wanes and is replaced by a false sense of calm. Of course it is good to be calm during exams but a little amount of stress and fear of the performance go a long way in ensuring good results. The false sense of security can lead a student to under prepare and hence underperform.

Overconfidence makes one insufferable

Nobody likes to fraternize with a ‘show off’ or a Mr. Know All. When you are oozing with lots of ‘I know everything’ attitude, chances are people will avoid you and you will hardly make any friends. This leads to feelings of loneliness and despondency, often leading to depression. So, sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and listen to what others have to say. If you are going to hog the entire conversation and limelight, then what are the others there for? An attitude problem should not occur at any stage of life.

Overconfidence begins and learning ends

Often teachers and parents have reported that when they ask their children to study, they retaliate by saying ‘I don’t need to do well in exams. Great people did not do well in school’ or silly remarks to that effect. Lazy students get inspired by the fact that Edison failed 10,000 times before he succeeded in inventing the light bulb. They see his failure and not his dogged persistence. The other day a student of Class XII told his teacher ‘Einstein never studied and still made it big, so why should I?’ Some parents get carried away by this attitude of their children and even they hope for a miracle to occur someday that will make them proud parents of a ‘budding Einstein’. Nothing can replace sincere effort and miracles happen only when you work hard to make them happen.

Overconfidence is a stepping stone to failure

When one is overconfident, he or she feels that success is assured even without preparation. Overconfident people shun hard work and rely on confidence to tide them over. In today’s scenario success in examinations is of supreme importance. Competition is increasing day by day and things are getting tougher. Students nowadays need to be more aware and up-to-date about everything. In fact questions in exams are not limited to text books only and application of knowledge is very important. There are special questions like HOTS to test the knowledge of students. One needs to prepare well and go beyond the textbooks and classrooms for exam preparation. Basically, there is no end to learning and one simply cannot overdo it.

Be confident but avoid being too confident. Some amount of trepidation about the future will make it more exciting. Apprehension is good until we take it to the height of panic. Similarly feeling confident is good until we convert it to overconfidence. Be positive and optimistic but don’t overdo it so much that your ability to learn or do something new is overshadowed. Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.

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