There’s very little downside to acting like you run the place.
In his New York Times column earlier this week, David Brooks, responding to an essay in The Atlantic about how women have less confidence than men, wrote that “recent psychological research … suggests that overconfidence is our main cognitive problem, not the reverse.”
It’s certainly easy to come up with examples of overconfidence getting us into trouble — the Iraq War, the financial meltdown, that guy who challenged a heavyweight boxing champion to a fight last week — but overconfidence may actually be beneficial, at least for the person with the big head.
Consider Kanye West, one of the greatest bloviators of all time. Here is a partial list of people Kanye has compared himself to: Michael Jackson, Picasso, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and of course Jesus, who presumably died so that Yeezus could live. Even in an industry built on braggadocio, his crowing seems excessive. But it may also be the key to the spell he casts, even over the haters: According to new research, overconfidence increases one’s status even when it’s been exposed as overconfidence.