Self confidence and achievement

How does self confidence influence and relate to one’s success?

In this post on less_confident_people_are_more successful, Thomas argues that:

If your confidence is low, rather than extremely low, you stand a better chance of succeeding than if you have high self-confidence. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical
  2. Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more
  3. Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded.

In brief, if you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally to accomplish them. It will motivate you to work hard, help you work on your limitations, and stop you from being a jerk, deluded, or both. It is therefore time to debunk the myth: High self-confidence isn’t a blessing, and low self-confidence is not a curse.  To what extent is this true?

Is self-confidence related to achievement?

Confidence in one’s abilities generally enhances motivation, making it a valuable asset for individuals with imperfect willpower. This demand for self-serving beliefs (which can also arise from hedonic or signaling motives) must be weighed against the risks of overconfidence.  While “positive thinking” can improve welfare, it can also be self-defeating (and nonetheless pursued) (Benabou and Tirole, 2002) see this paper.  So overconfidence would not help people to become more successful.

There seems to be a connection between confidence and achievement, and that boys are generally more confident than girls (Piper, 2008).  Piper further concludes that there seems to be a positive correlation between confidence and achievement.

Other research also reveals that “women display lower self-confidence than men across almost all achievement situations.  The literature indicates that although low self-confidence is indeed a frequent and potentially debilitating problem among women, they are not lower in self-confidence than men in all achievement situations. Instead, it is argued that the nature of this sex difference depends upon such situation variables as the specific ability area, the availability of performance feedback, and the emphasis placed upon social comparison or evaluation.”  To what extent is this research finding valid in online education and learning?

In the research into MobiMOOC by Inge de Waard et al, there were 58% male versus 42% female participating in the MobiMOOC.   Are there any gender differences between self-confidence and participation?  It seems that more males than females were participating in the MobiMOOC, but does it mean that self-confidence for a gender make a difference in the participation in MOOC?

Images: from Google

Is self-confidence important in online education and learning?

If the above research findings are valid, that student confidence bears a correlation to student achievement, what seems important is to assess and measure people’s self-confidence before and after the attendance of online courses like MOOCs.  We should then find out how MOOC would impact on one’s self-confidence as a result of achievement or completion of MOOC (x MOOC) in particular.

An exploration of the success stories from the xMOOC seems to reveal that male participants tended to report greater successes as compared to female participants as evidenced in the postings and comments here on Udacity blogs, and these responses from students of MITx.  Amanda shares her views on the Udacity with mixed feelings.  Does it mean that she experiences successes in the MOOC study?

It is difficult to assess self-confidence and relate it to student achievement in all these scenarios.

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Self confidence and achievement

  1. Pingback: Confidence « Psychology, spirituality and mental health

  2. Pingback: Self confidence and achievement | Digital Delights |

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