A famous quote by Véra de Bénardaky goes like this.
The most lucrative trade would be to buy people for what they’re worth and sell them for what they believe to be worth.
It amazes me sometimes how much wisdom can be packed into one-liners. To come to the topic, various books address the importance of self confidence and methods to build it. From my personal experience, I have observed that there is very little difference between self confidence and overconfidence. It is very easy to think of oneself as the greatest, or cleverest, or most intelligent, or the fittest of all but except a very low minority, this kind of confidence is bordering on delusion.
So what is the right kind of self confidence and how should we distinguish it from overconfidence? To answer that question, I quote a great passage from The Compound Effect authored by Darren Hardy.
During Lance Armstrong’s second attempt at winning the Tour de France, it was once again time to head into the mountains. The first big climb would be where Lance had experienced a devastating crash earlier that same year, giving him a concussion and breaking his seventh lumbar vertebra during a wet day in the spring. Now it was raining yet again. Instead of being concerned or hesitant, he said, “This is perfect attacking weather, mainly because I know the others don’t like it. I believe that nobody in the world is better at suffering. It’s a good day for me.” He was right. Lance brought home his second victory.
The right self confidence is not about abilities, it is about willingness to suffer pain. It arises from the process, not from the talent. If you are confident at something, you have taken much pain in mastering it and are prepared to suffer more than others, congratulations! Sooner or later, you are going to be one of the very best in the field.
For further learning, I think that the iNLP Center has explained the key principles behind self confidence well. You can find them here.