Should You Act Like a Jerk?

The science is in: overconfidence works. From Psychology Today:

… participants watched a video of a man at a sidewalk café put his feet on another chair, tap cigarette ashes on the ground and rudely order a meal. Participants rated the man as more likely to “get to make decisions” and able to “get people to listen to what he says” than participants who saw a different video of the same man behaving politely. Through a few other experiments in the study, the same results prevailed—people tended to rate the rule breakers as more in control and more powerful than people who toed the line.

In light of Donald Trump being President of the United States, it seems that overconfidence works to some degree.

A person who breaks the rules is acting like they are above the rules. Assuming they are in total congruence with this behavior and own it (as opposed to just acting like a fake boss), this makes other people more likely to believe the same thing.

We teach others how to treat us.

If we think we are powerful, strong and dominant, then over time, others will treat us accordingly. Even if we don’t have the talent to back it up.

But it has to be believable.

Someone in tattered clothes who stinks of booze on a street corner declaring he’s king of the world will produce more pity than respect.

But someone who carries themselves like a boss, dresses like a boss, and speaks and acts like a socially dominant, socially intelligent power player, will be convincing.

So do we have to be a total jerk to get things done?

Luckily no. But looking at extremes is informative.

For every successful person who had to step on people’s toes, there is a positive and inspiring leader who gets results.

For every Steve Jobs there’s a Richard Branson.

For every Donald Trump, there’s a Warren Buffett.

The main quality that arrogant, overconfident jerks possess is a rock-solid belief in themselves.

There’s no reason why douche bags need to corner the market on self-esteem.

This is a quality that anyone can cultivate and grow through physical (confident body language, dominant movement) and mental (positive inner dialogue, reducing or eliminating negative beliefs, celebrating wins and minimizing failures) techniques.

And there’s a useful side effect to growing your natural confidence: you become very skilled at spotting fakes and being fearless in front of them.

So all those overconfident, douchey, arrogant dickheads that are all talk with nothing to back it up? They won’t look so intimidating anymore.

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