Overconfidence is the key to success, says study

If you’ve ever dealt with the manager of a company and wondered how they got into that position considering they don’t really seem to know what they’re doing, a new study explains how that happens. It’s all about (over)confidence.

Researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Exeter discovered that other people’s opinions of our ability are based more on how confident we are than how capable we are. And people who overestimate their talents seem to be taken at their word, however rubbish they might actually be.

As Psych Central reports, the team surveyed 72 students at the start of their degree course about their and other students’ academic aptitude. This was then compared to their final mark at the end of the semester. Thirty-two students turned out to have underestimated their ability, 29 overestimated and 11 students made an accurate self-assessment. The students who overestimated their ability were also seen as more talented by their classmates. This could be accounted for by the fact that they barely knew each other, but six weeks into the course, the overly confident students were still seen as the brightest.

As part of their study, which they published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers also found that people who consider themselves excellent at their jobs are more likely to be promoted to managerial positions, while those who are humble about their talents are routinely overlooked. The researchers concluded that people who are ‘self-deceptive’ are more likely to succeed, but there’s no way to tell if the seemingly overconfident people in these examples are actually deluded about their limits, or just know that acting like they’re full of self-belief helps them get ahead.

Either way, if you want to get ahead in business, it’s probably worth remembering that bragging may well get you further than hard work ever could.

Image via Pixabay.

Diane Shipley