Confidence is the entire basis of sales based jobs; the appearance of absolute confidence in the product in the face of all scrutiny. Consider for instance, screen protectors. We all know that this quasi-magical technology saves our phone screens, otherwise unprotected, from certain disaster at the hands of a 5 foot drop from your hands to the floor. How these flimsy things somehow protect those glass screens from the forces of physics and hard floors, I do not know. I honestly don’t think anyone readily available to grill for information really knows but boy oh boy; do the people selling these things sure seem like they know. So much so that we think we know by extension, because if these people are so certain about what they are selling how could it possibly be anything but that? They seem so sure, and this is what those who are observing them pick up on most: confidence.
The same can be true of school, both academically and socially speaking. Again, no amount of certainty will alter an objective truth, but it will make all the difference subjectively in making a clever argument. If you are exploring an idea out of the box, you can’t hit it out of the park without at least seeming as if you are an expert at what you are talking about. That you have dissected your topic and that your argument, though unorthodox, is clearly the best manner of interpretation. A portrayal of uncertainty can undermine you and give reason to doubt your claims.
To give credence to my argument, I will show you how this works in two sentences. One in absolute certainty, and the other with a modicum of self-doubt. “These are lessons I learned personally and the hard way, which may be beneficial for others to read about so they can avoid potential pitfalls in their own work.” In this I sound confident about what I’m saying (because I am) and firmly believe the wisdom I impart to you will be helpful (which I do). Alternatively I could say “These are some things I learned last year doing my own essays, but I am an arts student so take whatever I say with a grain of salt”. I’m uncertain about what I am telling you, and even actively undermining myself (and perhaps by extension the advice of every other arts student here) by devaluing the what I have to say in the interest of playing the devil’s advocate, entertaining the notion that I could be wrong. I shoot myself in the foot three ways: I discredit myself here and now, I discredit anything else I write in the future, and I even cast doubt what I have done before.
Socially this gets more interesting. I like to go running once a week across the high level with some friends, and recently we got into a disagreement on stretching before running. One of these friends disagreed with me that we should stretch before running, claiming that stretching before any real exertion would lead to muscle tears, or other sports injuries. This is false and in fact evidence shows the opposite to be true, but he seemed so certain of himself and what he was saying that I doubted what I knew to be true. Though he was wrong, his sheer confidence in what he was peddling staggered me, and I entertained the notion that perhaps everything I learned was just not right. Whether or not I was right or wrong ceased to matter, because even for a brief moment I trusted what I was told implicitly.
One last piece of advice: “It doesn’t matter if you are sure or not, just act like you are a boss.”