When Being Arrogant is a Good Thing

I have always been a big believer in modesty and keeping an even keel (emotionally) whether you are experiencing great success or painful failure. Many people would agree that a modest person has an inner confidence that does not need to be flaunted; a sign of strong character.

At the same time, I have seen people who have had their desire to remain modest actually hurt their personal success. In certain cases, the modest person was so afraid of looking arrogant or egotistical that they suddenly became blind to their own talents and achievements. This kind of thinking can obviously have long term negative impacts on a person’s confidence.

As a coach, I spend a lot of time studying the lives of successful people from many different walks of life. There are a handful of characteristics that seem to be common among all of these people. As you would expect, self confidence is often the most obvious character strength that they possess.

I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of successful people to get a first hand look into the way they think and the way they carry themselves. Without fail, every single person I spoke with was very aware of their own talents and achievements and they knew they were the best at what they did. At the same time, they did not have any problem at all telling me about their credentials and doing so from a very proud perspective.

To an outside observer, that might come across as arrogant and labeled as a negative.

The definition of the word arrogant is – having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.

Based strictly on the definition, the successful person who talks highly of their accomplishments could be labeled as arrogant but I want to point out an important distinction. These successful people I talked to did not walk around flaunting their accomplishments to the entire world, but when someone like me came along and asked them, they were more than happy to share.

This means that they kept thoughts of personal success at the forefront of their mind and used those thoughts to their advantage to build confidence and self esteem.

The overly modest person was so worried about coming across arrogant that they literally convinced themselves they were less capable than they actually were. A total hit to their self esteem.

If you are struggling with your own confidence and self worth, maybe it is time to err on the side of being arrogant. Build yourself up from the inside out so that you recognize your strengths, talents and achievements and begin sharing them with the world.

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12 Responses to When Being Arrogant is a Good Thing

  1. Yolanda Facio September 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    You speak the truth! I’ve always said that I have a “healthy dose of self esteem”. Almost as if to apologize for not downplaying those things I do well.

    A successful person, I believe, is someone who is very aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They play on the strengths and either work on the weaknesses or work around them.

    There’s nothing wrong with strong confidence, I wish more people had that much needed confidence. Without it self-doubt creeps in and it’s a game killer.

    Thanks for raising this subject, it is an important one!
    Yolanda Facio recently posted..Thoughtful Thursday- We’ve Lost A Friend

    • Justin Popovic September 23, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

      Hey Yolanda!

      “Work around weaknesses” is a great way of putting it. Successful people are very good at delegating so they can focus on their core genius…which then leads to an even higher level of confidence. Thanks for your comment today 🙂

  2. Brad Gosse September 27, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    When we are growing up people teach us not to brag. Not because it hurts you but because it hurts the people around you. I think it makes people take a closer look at their own lack of achievement, making them feel bad about themselves.

    Either way as an adult I am a happy braggart. If II don’t toot my own horn who will?
    Brad Gosse recently posted..My Review of UnMarketing by Scott Stratten unbook

  3. Debi Granite October 8, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I absolutely love this article and have retweeted it several times. I’ll be getting my single girl swag back on! 🙂
    Debi Granite recently posted..Ingredient of the Week – Derm RF

  4. Debi Granite October 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Thank you so much for this article! I’ve retweeted several times. I’ll be gettin my single girl swag back on for good this time!
    Debi Granite recently posted..Ingredient of the Week – Derm RF

  5. Farouk October 23, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    i agree with you, in certain situations arrogance can be a bliss!

  6. Daan van den Bergh December 22, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    EXACTLY! I recently wrote an article about this on my blog. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of self-esteem. And actually it’ll get you way further in live than trying to fit in and downgrade yourself to others.

    I love your success-in-business approach to this deal. In my article I’m more focussed on social events. Great addition to the whole thing, when I get home I’ll put up a trackback.

    Anyway, great blog. Good luck with it!

    • Justin Popovic December 22, 2010 at 9:21 am #

      Hey Daan,

      Thanks very much. Great feedback and I’m going to check out your site to get your spin on this as well! I really appreciate the trackback. Cheers 🙂

  7. Delena Silverfox@Coupon Codes January 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Right on, Justin! While it’s true that no one likes a braggart, there’s a difference between an insecure person puffing themselves up so no one will notice how empty or unextraordinary they are, and a truly accomplished and successful person who is aware of their own talents and has an unshakable sense of their own self-worth. Robert Kiyosaki talks about this in some of his books. He says you can spot the real thing because they don’t have to brag, but also don’t hold back when they find an opportunity to toot their own horn.

    Delena Silverfox@Coupon Codes recently posted..iContact Coupon Code

  8. Bryce April 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    You’ve obviously misread the definition of arrogance: ” an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance”. The key word being ‘exaggerated’. A self-confident person has no need to ‘exaggerate’ their opinion of themselves. They simply are aware of what they’ve accomplished and are not afraid to tell it. An actual arrogant person feels has low self-esteem and feels the need to exaggerate their self importance in the hopes that others will think of them in higher regard. This behavior is often broadcast when no one else cared to begin with and therefore becomes equivalent to a braggart.


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