The Downside Of Being Sure Of Yourself


Being confident and being sure of yourself are very different.  Being confident is about knowing and appreciating your own talents and what is precious about you as an individual. It’s about trusting yourself to be able to deal with things as they come up.

Being sure of yourself is about having opinions and drawing a line in the sand around them.   It’s about asserting knowledge and sticking to your guns no matter what.

But if you’re already an expert, you can’t improve.  I’m fond of quoting Shunryu Suzuki who said, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”  I find I use that quote often during the first few months of working with a recent college grad.

Watch this video of the physicist, Richard Feynman, talking about the value of not being certain:

Sometimes I’ll be talking to people and I can see their eyes narrow or their nose pinch and realize that they are preparing a rebuttal to my idea, even though they haven’t even heard me out. For some, this is their general stance.  Fearful of messing with the status quo, they defend their positions and cover their ears when a new approach is presented, especially one that isn’t fully formed and well structured.

There are so many rules floating around about what you “should” be doing in social media.  But getting involved in social media means behaving like a human (it’s kind of funny that we need to be reminded of that.) While principles do matter, no one can really tell you how to behave in some step-by-step process on a daily basis.

Here’s an example.  A good principal is “be consistent.”  Write regularly in your blog. Try to find a way that it is regular enough that your readers can rely on you to post once a week or Monday and Wednesday or that you’ll have link post every Friday.  Be aware that the more you write in your blog, the more traffic you tend to get. But specific rules like “you must tweet three times a day” or “blog every day” should be questioned.

Know what works for others, test the rules yourself, consider what works for you and your business and then make a decision. Play around with ideas and structure.  It helps if others around you are willing to play with a new idea and help you develop it.

Innovation is not the result of taking an existing idea and tweaking it. It is the result of taking a leap into the unknown. Creativity, by definition, indicates that something is coming into being that wasn’t there before. Being absolutely, positively sure of what you know will keep you tethered to the past and to beliefs that may or may not make sense. A little uncertainty can be a good thing.

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