Competence, Confidence & your Future

As a social species we humans are naturally attracted to certain behaviours: Competence and Confidence are two that really matter. While they may seem like separate entities, they interact in interesting ways.

Bonus: Here’s a must watch funny story of me being too confident with my school principal and him swiftly reminding me I lacked a certain competence.

They Feed Each Other: When we are competent at something, our confidence grows as a result. When we meet a confident person, it’s not their confidence we are actually attracted to, rather our internal belief that it must be a reflection of competence. Our mind believes they must have valuable skills. The reverse is also true – if we lack confidence people believe will it is because we lack competence – regardless of ability.

This interaction forms a huge part of our economic success. People buy us, before they buy anything we happen to be selling. By reminding ourselves of this feedback loop, we can hack our own behaviour to forge ahead in our work, life, and even our relationships.

Invest in Yourself: When you invest time in developing competence (maybe it’s learning about an emerging technology, or a career or business skill) confidence increases. Even before the skill is acquired, the effort itself, will build self esteem. You start to believe in yourself. You believe you can do and become more, you can jump over those difficult competence hurdles. This is especially important if you are not an overtly confident person, or let’s say, humble in your abilities.

Reality Check: While confidence matters a great deal – if there is no competence to back it up, it will eventually all come crashing down. In the long run, the person will always get found out if they are a fraud. We should always aim to be good at what we do, be competent, yet we must never forget that unless we have enough confidence, we are unlikely to ever get that chance to prove ourselves.

Bonus No: 2: Tommy and I do some ‘Acting’ in The Rebound – which displays how a confident designer can get the price they deserve!

Speaking of Competence: Be sure to tune in tomorrow at 12.30pm on Channel 9 across Australia for The Rebound. Tomorrow is all about the Future of Work – a topic which affects us all. You can catch up on all the episodes here.

Keep thinking,


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