Confidence or Arrogance?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS June 24, 2013 #442 Up next…Confidence or Arrogance?

After further review…”I’m good at what I do”. A professional with whom I have worked said that to me. Was that a high level of self-confidence speaking or was he bordering on arrogance? I found his straightforward manner convincing.

Having been around many professional athletes, I have often observed this level of confidence. I recall refereeing Super Bowl XI (Oakland vs Minnesota) when, in the 4th quarter, Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton threw a pass that was intercepted by Raiders defensive back Willie Brown, who returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. Final score Raiders 32, Vikings 14. As “Tark” walked off the field, he said to me “I’ll be back”. Was Tarkenton bragging? I didn’t think so. A stout belief in oneself can hardly be considered offensive. But can that line be crossed?

Certainly it can. Confidence, which has its roots in the self-belief expressed by Tarkenton and my professional colleague, has nothing to do with gender, age, or occupation. It’s a character trait that anyone can possess.  What is of concern here are the displays of self-pleasure in one’s achievements that might be classified as “showing off”. We see this far too often in our sports stars.

A defensive player who “sacks” the quarterback then proceeds to strut around, pounding his chest like King Kong as the quarterback is lying on the ground. Then too, after scoring a touchdown, players leap towards each other and chest-bump. Common sights. Sure, be proud of your accomplishments, but that’s the job you get paid for and are supposed to do.

Should a waiting room go wild over a pair of doctors, who smack chests after a successful surgery? Would we tolerate salespeople taking a victory lap through Starbucks after a successful sales call? There are lots of examples of professionals who display quiet confidence. If you are really good at what you do and consistently do it well, it’s not bragging when you quietly proclaim “I’m good at what I do”.

By all means celebrate significant success, but with discretion that takes care not to belittle others. As one wise football philosopher noted about the end zone: “Act like you’ve been there before.” In the world of officiating, we remind each other, “You’re only as good as your next call”. That’s an adage which can be observed by all.

Will you enjoy your success with quiet confidence?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com

 


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