The Confidence Gap
The less competent men are, the more they overestimate their abilities—which makes a strange kind of sense. Since women are less confident in their abilities, they don’t pursue future opportunities.
Men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.
Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect. Or practically perfect.
Perfectionism is a confidence killer. The irony is that striving to be perfect actually keeps us from getting much of anything done.
What Honest Overconfidence Does
Men have honest overconfidence. People like this. However, people can also snuff out a fake in a second. People hate this.
Some individuals tend to be more admired and more listened to than others. They are not necessarily the most knowledgeable or capable people in the room, but they are the most self-assured.
“When people are confident, when they think they are good at something, regardless of how good they actually are, they display a lot of confident nonverbal and verbal behavior,” Anderson said. He mentioned expansive body language, a lower vocal tone, and a tendency to speak early and often in a calm, relaxed manner. “They do a lot of things that make them look very confident in the eyes of others,” he added. “Whether they are good or not is kind of irrelevant.” Kind of irrelevant.
External vs Internal Attribution
“Wow, that was a tough class.” Recognizing a tough situation is a external attribution.
“You see, I knew I wasn’t good enough.” Internal attribution, which can be debilitating.
When bad things happen, women blame themselves (internal). Men blame the situation (external).
When good things happen, women say they are lucky (external). Men say they are awesome (internal).
Our Brain, Testosterone and Estrogen Roles
The amygdala is the brain’s primitive fear centers, involved in processing emotional memory and responding to stressful situations. Women activated their amygdala more easily in response to negative emotional stimuli than men do—suggesting that women are more likely than men to form strong emotional memories of negative events. Women are more apt to ruminate over what’s gone wrong in the past.
The anterior cingulate cortex helps us recognize errors and weigh options — the worrywart center. It’s larger in women.
By supporting the part of the brain involved in social skills and observations, estrogen seems to encourage bonding and connection, while discouraging conflict and risk taking— tendencies that hinder confidence.
Testosterone is thought of as the hormone that encourages a focus on winning and demonstrating power. Higher levels of the hormone fuel risk taking, and winning yields still more testosterone. This dynamic, sometimes known as the “winner effect,” can be dangerous: animals can become so aggressive and overconfident after winning fights that they take fatal risks.
However, testosterone levels in men decline when they spend more time with their children.
How School and Sports Shape a Person
School is where many girls are first rewarded for being good, instead of energetic, rambunctious, or even pushy. But while being a “good girl” may pay off in the classroom, it doesn’t prepare us very well for the real world.
They have longer attention spans, more-advanced verbal and fine-motor skills, and greater social adeptness. They are most valuable, and most in favor, when they do things the right way: neatly and quietly.
And yet the result is that many girls learn to avoid taking risks and making mistakes. This is to their detriment: many psychologists now believe that risk taking, failure, and perseverance are essential to confidence-building.
Girls who play team sports are more likely to graduate from college, find a job, and be employed in male-dominated industries. There’s even a direct link between playing sports in high school and earning a bigger salary as an adult. Learning to own victory and survive defeat in sports is apparently good training for owning triumphs and surviving setbacks at work.
Catch-22 – Women’s character
The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character. The more she talked, the less confident she appeared.
Confidence Equals Action
Confidence is the factor that turns thoughts into judgments about what we are capable of, and that then transforms those judgments into action. In turn, taking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed. So confidence accumulates—through hard work, through success, and even through failure.
When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do.
The above is my summary and heavily paraphrased article. The original article is quite long so I picked out the parts that is the essence of the article.
—This article reminds me of grade school when the idiotic boys would raise their hands and blurt out a ridiculous answer. And they always think that they are 100% correct.
—It reminds me of a guy who said, “Jessica, I’ve seen you drive and you suck. You’re an Asian girl so you just naturally suck at driving.”
I replied, “How many driving tickets have you gotten? Because I’ve gotten zero.” Exactly, I’ve got the proof to backup my claim.
—It reminds me of my girl friend who gave up her dream because she couldn’t get a perfect score on the admission test.
—It reminds me of the times when I try to reassume my patients and they ask for a doctor. When someone did see them, the patient was fine. What do I need to do to show my confidence in my assessment?
—It makes sense that our second born siblings tend to do better in business. They aren’t that ‘perfect’ image and they have dealt with criticism and be more resilient than the first born.
—It reminds me of the stereotypes of Asians, Hispanics and Blacks. People have confidence in Asians and think ‘Asians are smart and hardworking’ and maybe THAT’S why they perform better. People think that Hispanics and Blacks are not as smart. The women of both races internalize that and lose confidence in their ability to do well in harder classes. So they don’t even try.