How to Control Your Overconfidence

Many teenagers go through a period of time when they seem to think they are indestructible, the "Nine foot tall and bulletproof" stage. Overconfidence contributes to this, and learning one's limits or going through a reality check can be painful, or worse.


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    Be honest with yourself first. When you carefully consider your abilities, you should begin to recognize your limits.
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    Do not compare yourself with others. Overconfidence is a way of depreciating other people's talents, skills, and abilities. Just because someone else can get "serious air" on an 8 foot (2.4 m) half pipe doesn't mean you can. They have paid their dues with practice, and probably lots of bruises.
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    Test yourself cautiously. Don't dive off the high board until you have made lots of trips to the low board and worked on intermediate levels.
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    Listen to criticism, especially constructive criticism from people you trust. This may be one of the most important steps in abating your overconfidence. This is not necessarily to say critics are always right, far from it. There is a possibility they are right, and because they see you from a different perspective, you should hear them out.
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    Treat commitments seriously. Overconfidence can cause you to over commit yourself. When you tell someone you will do something, be realistic in how much effort and time it will take. Promising to help paint a buddy's car, even though have never done it, may turn into a three day project if you are a victim of your own overconfidence.
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    Take time to look at your failures, or incidences when you did not achieve your own personal goals. Not only will this help you to shape a realistic measure of your ability, it will help you to focus on skills, strengths, or other qualities that you need to work on.
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    Keep fantasies separate from realities. We all see superhuman feats and stunts on TV, and movies like Jackass take these to extremes, but these are accomplished by talented, unique individuals who often train all of their lives in their own disciplines. Sure, gymnasts make the parallel bars look easy, you don't know how many gallons of sweat it took to get to that level.
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    Try new sports, activities, or pursuits with a goal, and work your way up to it. If you take an overconfident view of easy success, and you fail, you may become discouraged and give up too soon. Rumor has it, Albert Einstein was lousy in grade school.
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    Remember you are a unique person with your own talents, skills, and goals, and confidence or overconfidence can be a pitfall to be avoided if you mix modesty with your enthusiasm.


  • Take note of near misses, failures, and disasters. Ask yourself if overconfidence contributed to them.
  • Don't let friends pump you up to try something you are unprepared for. If you start to climb the ladder and have doubts, back up and reconsider.
  • You might want to actually consider what you are going to do with an analytical view. Sometimes overcoming overconfidence can actually result in a loss of confidence in oneself. So, be aware that killing your confidence isn't the key to overcoming overconfidence.


  • Overconfidence puts people in the ER often. You are probably not 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and bulletproof.

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Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence