Confident, Self-Assured, Conviction – these are all positive spins on the old Chinese idiom Zì yǐ wéi shì “to consider yourself always right.”
But what about those people who are so self-assured, this confidence turns dark.
In the West we have a saying “Not always right, but never in doubt.”
It’s not a compliment.
When the power of positive thinks gets out of control, sometimes people lose the ability to consider the opinions of others. Somethings becomes true because they believe it’s true, regardless of evidence to the contrary.
There are all sorts of labels for this type of person: Insensitive, Narcissistic, A**hole are just a few.
But rather than resorting to name calling, let’s do something productive.
Let’s face it, its hard to reason with this type of person.
And we certainly can’t control what they do.
However, we can control what we do.
Let’s focus on some ways we can model more compassionate behavior
Two Powerful Ways to be Confident without Being an A-hole
Seek a Different Perspective: It’s not just overly self-assured people who think they are always right. We all fall into this category occasionally. Maybe its only in some narrow specialty – perhaps its an area where you are an expert and are ALMOST always right. Even in this case, pause to ask yourself “What are other points of view? Why might a reasonable person disagree?” Maybe you’ll confirm your own view. But maybe you’ll learn something new.
Practice Tactical Empathy: This one is hard. Especially when the you feel a strong reaction to something. Essentially, you need to stop and put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment and ask “Why do they act this way? What possible benefit could they get from acting this way?”
Note this is very different from agreeing with them. You do not need to agree with them, only understand them. Remember, this method is specifically to help you learn to master yourself and your energy.
When we accept that people often do things for reasons even they aren’t aware of, we begin to give ourselves choices in how we react.
One powerful reaction to antagonistic points of view or people is simply to ask, “What can I learn from this encounter?”
There might be many lessons.
Chose the lesson that empowers you.
Love and light,
Shawn and Yinong
PS – If you jumped to the bottom looking for a summary like we often do here its: Some people have trouble seeing other perspectives. Its hard to change people, but we can change ourselves. Develop your confidence without becoming an A-Hole by 1) seeking a different perspective and 2) practicing tactical empathy.