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    • Working on a writing assignment, I was researching confidence, and I kept coming across one statement repeated over and over again that didn't make sense at first.

      Confidence is more important than competence.

      It seemed unbelievable at first, but it really does make sense, especially for women. We excel at school because our diligence and hard work speaks for itself. But once we enter the job market? The promotion goes to the self-confident guy who asks for it, not people who work quietly hoping their results will speak for themselves.

      "Over a hundred years ago, William James, a psychologist teaching at Harvard University, wrote that the reason so many people never fulfill their potential is not because of a lack of intelligence, opportunity, or resources, but because of a lack of belief, or faith, in themselves".

      So, is it possible that confidence really matters more than competence?

    • It's funny, Toni and I were just watching Ellen's standup comedy special on Netflix and she described how she got into it. She was a normal girl, not the class clown, didn't stand out in any way, and when she was 21 she was directionless and living in a small basement apartment with fleas.

      She wrote a simple thing and after writing, she thought it was pretty funny, so she decided she was going to do standup on Johnny Carson and do it so well that he would invite her to sit in the chair beside him.

      And then she showed a clip from Carson's show of him inviting her to sit beside him after her standup bit. It took 6 years for her to get there. And the crowd went wild.

      How does an Ellen, who was a nobody with no comedic training, have the confidence to make a decision like that? And why do so few people have similar confidence? Think of what people could have done with it.

    • I don't think I ever thought about this topic seriously before. But I used to have no confidence at all. I grew up in a small very conservative town, very male centered. Women took care of the kids, cooked, cleaned, etc. Men brought in the paycheck and pretty much were in charge. I was a skinny glasses wearing girl who loved reading and did well in school. I was always more interested in learning than in sports or homemaking. This was before being slender was desirable. Instead I was teased for being so slender. I had to sort of hide my intelligence because I was teased for it also. Looking back it was probably jealousy but at the time I just felt inferior because of my glasses, size, and my abilities in school. I did not really date in high school, was not part of the "cool kids", etc. And I tried not be noticeable in class, just quietly got great grades and a scholarship.

      But one day as I was getting ready to head off to college I decided that maybe I could change the situation. I was going off to a university where there would be people who did not know I was a nobody. Being slender began to be more desirable. I decided to "act the part" as if I were really somebody.

      That decision changed my life. I started talking to guys as I had seen the popular girls do. I found that if I relaxed and stopped worrying about being accepted that I started having fun. I was more involved in my classes and started studying with other students who also loved learning. My roommates became jealous because of my social life but I did not care. I slowly gained more confidence. I stopped worrying so much about what other people thought about me. I focused on living my life the way I wanted to, doing the things I wanted to do.

      That attitude has stayed with me through the years mostly. Of course, there will be times when I feel inadequate in a situation but mostly I just ignore what others think and do what I think is right and best for me (us, since I have a family). I am happily married to a wonderful guy, have had children, have had various interesting jobs, and traveled a lot (I love travel). As you can tell by my persona, I feel like I am a Lucky Lady.

    • To my mind, it is largely dependent on context and each scenario, when and whether confidence should become more important than the competence. Can we always view the balance of one vs. the other same way? I think not. First comes experience and with it, confidence. But there are always the beginnings, when it's hard to try something without the fear of risk; that risk may be real, or turn out imaginary thus causing one to miss out opportunity. So it's a matter of skill, risk and courage, and assessment as realistically possible of what exactly is at stake. What quality would you all think prevailed in below example of accomplishment with no safety nets in place? The athlete did prepare a year for this event..

    • I am not sure I would be able to watch that live. Afraid of what might happen. I think that both confidence and competence were vital and maybe equal. The increasing competence of a year's training (and probably more than that year doing something similar) gave the added confidence. But without the confidence the athletic competence would be worthless in my opinion.

    • No one will ever change my opinion that a woman and a man need to actually understand that they should gracefully complete each other, and that we, as a species would soar the sooner we'd embrace it. This is not to say there aren't today really wise persons who believe it and live and act so, but I think they are too few to really matter. Matriarchy vs. patriarchy is a millennia old, silly conundrum.

      Having said that, leadership requires intuition, vision and guts, and women in my opinion are much better connected to the nurturing part of Nature than men are, whereas men can dream big and could have crazy courage. My idea is we need both and they may be more predominant in one person than another. And just for the record, we absolutely cannot generalize anything so abstract as what we discuss here. Of course I could be totally full of it (lol) since it's just my personal view today, based on what I lived thus far.

      There is also the George Bernard Shaw's Maxims for Revolutionists. The quote “He who can does; he who cannot, teaches.”  And so there can be bad actors from either sex if their ambitions without substance get the better of them, and we all have seen it.

    • Having worked in the photography profession for 15 years with SmugMug, it was pretty fascinating to see how women & men chose what to photograph. There are almost no women in motorsports photography — cars on racetracks. There are almost no men in newborn photography.

      I'm a very big fan of the site, dedicated to women photojournalists. To me it illustrates your point that even though women only make up 15% of photojournalists, some of the greatest the world have ever seen are women, like 4-time Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Guzy. And here's the thing: they shoot different subjects with different perspectives than men do, thereby enriching photojournalism and the world.

    • Speaking of confidence, I think we would certainly get a very interesting insight to learn about @Evergreen recent levels of it, and how is that working out, in her latest endeavour of following the Dakar rally.

    • Another study about the perception of competence:

      One interesting takeaway:

      "Researchers said they hoped that the takeaway was not to strive to be overconfident. Wars, stock market crashes and many other crises can be blamed on overconfidence, they said. So how do managers, employers, voters and customers avoid overvaluing social class and being duped by incompetent wealthy people? Dr. Kennedy said she had been encouraged to find that if you show people actual facts about a person, the elevated status that comes with overconfidence often fades away.

      “We may also need to punish overconfident behavior more than we do,” she said."