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The Need for Confidence


Explanations > Needs > The Need for Confidence

Need | Example | Related to | Discussion |  So what?




We need to be confident in many of our actions.

Confidence is needed in a number of situations, including:

  • Deciding on the best action to take, both in the short term and in longer-term plans.
  • Taking action (which can be positive and direct, or hesitant and unsure).
  • Coping with unexpected and possibly undesirable things.
  • Communicating with others.
  • Persuading and influencing others.


A manager is talking about his plan for the organization. Although he is not fully confident, he feels the need to show this.

A parent asks their teenager to take care when they go out. They are not confident this will happen and so spend the evening worrying until the child returns safely.  

Related to




When we are confident, we can assert bold statements, certain about their truth. We can make clear decisions, sure that we are right. We can take positive action, knowing that it will have the desired effect.

When we lack confidence, we feel out of control, that we are unable to predict or to affect outcomes. This scares us and can make us feel even more doubtful and hence lead us on a slippery slope into inaction or dysfunctional reaction.

We can be over-confident, which can lead us into trouble, yet positive optimism is often better than the negative doubt that leads us nowhere. Evolution suggests caution to help us stay alive, but it also needs confidence so we will take risks that will help us thrive.

Confidence is infectious. Few people feel strongly confident and will follow those who offer certainty. This is a powerful factor when influencing others. Even if you are not fully confident yourself, by displaying confidence you are far more likely to change minds. Just think of the persuasive speeches of leaders, politicians and sakes people. Would weak 'maybe' talk persuade you to their cause? Does talk of product limitations make you want to buy?

So what?

Be confident. If you are not, find out why and address this. You do not need to know everything or control everything. The future is always uncertain. Be confident in your ability to cope with surprises. Beware of negative spirals of thought that make things worse.

To persuade others, you may want to work on their confidence, either boosting it so they will do what you want or undermining it, to prevent them from doing things you do not want done.

See also

Confidence principle, Public Speaking and Presentation


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