Self-confidence is a positive aspect of our personality, whereas overconfidence is always a negative. After reaching a certain stage in the process of building self-confidence, there is always a danger of moving towards overconfidence. Overconfidence is nothing but a tendency to feel, ‘I can do anything and everything myself; needing the help of no one and even of God - The Supreme Being’. It is to feel oneself superior to others. Due to this overconfidence, there is always a danger of falling from the cliff of confidence at any moment without even being aware of the resultant fall. It’s also true that overconfidence may give rise to various evil attitudes which lead to once downfall.

What are the evils of Overconfidence?
Overconfidence is always a dangerous tendency that leads one unknowingly towards various evil attitudes like arrogance, pride, negligence and so on. Every virtue to a certain extent is good, but if it moves beyond the barrier, it will pose as a threat that leads to some greater evils.

As mentioned above, normally overconfidence makes a person arrogant, proud and negligent. The story of ‘a race between Rabbit and a Tortoise’, which is very familiar to all of us, we have an apt example where an attitude of overconfidence will take us. We see here, Rabbit because of its overconfidence in its own power neglects the slow but steady scrolling Tortoise and loses the race. Surely, even if somebody had cautioned it about its arrogance, it would have rejected it because of its pride.

In order to make the point clear, let me give you a practical example. A student may have an intelligence to study and score good marks. He must have acquired it either by birth or by putting up much hard work/struggle. Once he reaches to a stage that makes him ‘overconfident’ about his intelligence, he may neglect his studies and start boasting too much about his intellectual capacity to pass through any exams with little efforts. As a result, he may begin neglecting the preparation part and may slip to laxity. As he starts to neglect his daily revisions/preparations, even if, either of his parents or his guardians caution him of his laxity and advice him to take the preparations seriously, he may exhibit his arrogance and pride saying ‘I know everything and I need not study. I can get through my exams without even studying for it…..” As a result, the student may inculcate a habit of preparing at the last moment, probably before two days or day before the exams. This is the real danger of overconfidence.

Role of Parents/Guardians/Elders:
Very many times, we hear the parents or elders of school going children saying, ‘My child is so intelligent, even if he/she prepares at the last moment, gets good marks.’ Or, some parents may go little further to boast about their children’s intelligence to take pride for themselves as an extraordinary thing, forgetting that it is not just an intelligence that is needed for a constructive life but also hard work and persistent struggle to reach the desired goal. Parents need to motivate their children to put up hard work. Today we have many reported cases of suicides. Overconfidence could also be one of the reasons for the increasing number of self killing. Children may know how to get marks but they may not be knowing how to face the critical life situations. It is not merely the intelligence that makes one perfect but the hard work. So parents’ role in bringing up children in this line is very much needed. So, shall we give a serious thought to it?

-Fr. Francis Assisi Almeida, Mangalore

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