Overconfidence refers to a biased way of looking at a situation. When you are overconfident, you misjudge your value, opinion, beliefs or abilities and you have more confidence than you should given the objective parameters of the situation.
When People Are Overconfident
Overconfidence can cause a person to experience problems because he may not prepare properly for a situation or may get into a dangerous situation that he is not equipped to handle.
Some examples of overconfidence include:
- A person who thinks his sense of direction is much better than it actually is. The person could show his overconfidence by going on a long trip without a map and refusing to ask for directions if he gets lost along the way.
- A person who thinks he is much smarter than he actually is. The person could show his overconfidence by not studying for his SATs, ending up with a lower score than he could otherwise have received.
- A person who thinks he has a photographic memory and a detailed understanding of a subject. The person could show his overconfidence by deciding not to study for a test that he has to take on the subject, thus doing poorly on the test due to lack of preparation.
- A person who thinks he is invaluable to his employer when almost anyone could actually do his job. The person might show his overconfidence by coming in late to work because he thinks he is never going to get fired, or by being overly demanding about getting a raise and threatening to quit if he doesn’t get his way.
- A person who thinks his spouse or partner will never ever leave because he or she loves him too much. The person might try to take advantage of the spouse or partner due to the overconfidence, thus driving the spouse away.
- A person who thinks he is a great boxer and who challenges someone who is an amazing fighter to a boxing match. The person who was overconfident and who was mistaken about his actual boxing abilities could end up getting badly defeated in the fight as a result of his overconfidence.
- Someone who cannot sing at all but who believes she has a great voice and decides to try out for American Idol. When she submits her audition tape, she could end up being laughed at or ridiculed for her terrible voice because of her overconfidence.
- A person who is convinced he is going to get into Harvard and who only applies to Harvard. In this case, the overconfidence of the person could result in him not getting into any schools if Harvard rejects him.
- A person who has never swam before deciding to try out for the varsity swimming team without practicing because he is overconfident in his athletic abilities. His overconfidence could keep him off the team and make him the butt of many jokes by members of the swimming team.
- A presidential candidate who is confident he is going to win and who doesn’t bother to aggressively campaign as a result of his overconfidence. The overconfidence could cost him the election.
These are all examples of situations where people think that they are more capable or better equipped for a situation than they actually are.