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How To Be As Confident As This Pig

That's me in fifth grade

Not too long ago, I was trying to extricate myself from an argument with a guy who thought I should be very impressed with him. If you’ve read Catcher In The Rye, this was the kind of guy who needed room when he answered a question. I tried to be respectful, but he–

Well, anyways, I wound up saying, “I’m not sure who told you you were so cool, but somebody has lied to you pal.”

This did not please him greatly, but I found that I didn’t mind at that point.

Confidence can be a real high-wire act, and we’re not always sure how well we’re walking it. That’s because a lot of it depends on how we’re perceived. Are we too confident, or not confident enough?

Too much

Get too confident and you can quickly morph into an arrogant fool that nobody wants to be around.There’s nothing more tiresome than the person who must prove that they are confident/outspoken. About 100 times a day, I find myself thinking, “Ok, I get it, I get it, you’re confident and you’re bringin’ the sass. But you’re invading my lung field.”

If you own a Tapout shirt or shorts, this might be you. Maybe not! But maybe…

Not enough

If you’re not confident enough, you risk being pushed around and exploited. I’ve seen a lot of people who believe they are merely “turning the other cheek” while turning into serious doormats.There’s a big difference between being obliging because you’re nice or letting someone else be right because something doesn’t matter and just meekly accepting whatever anyone else says.

If you think your own opinion is worth less than anyone else’s, this might be you.

Real confidence

When I meet someone with real, quiet confidence, I can feel it from about a block away. They don’t have to tell me that they’re confident. They don’t flex, strut, belittle, or demand approval.

They are magnetic. They make me want to be around them. Their words matter. Their confidence does not intimidate, but inspires. For me, I think that’s the difference between confidence and arrogance: confidence inspires me, and while I’m not intimidated by much, arrogance is still really, really annoying.

Arrogance usually gives me the inclination to deliver a bunch of devastating palm strikes to someone’s throat (I never do this, but I reserve the right to dream big).

How do you know which you are?

If you really want to know…I repeat, if you really want to know, just ask people how they perceive you. “Am I confident or am I cocky?”

Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Too many people ask questions with one of these two goals: 1) Validate whatever I’m already doing; 2) Tell me something that I want to hear.

Don’t fuss if you ask for feedback and get it.

The best way to be confident

My dad might not even remember the best advice he ever gave me, but I’ll never forget it. I wasn’t a confident kid. I’m not sure if I’m confident now, although I imagine many of you would say I am. Hopefully too many of you wouldn’t say I’m arrogant, but I’m not asking! Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know!

Back to my dad…he said, “Son, if you want people to think you believe in yourself, walk like you’ve got a cape on.”

It worked for me. Still does.

Try it today. Keep your head up, spread those shoulders, and make that imaginary cape swirl when you walk. If it doesn’t work, I’ll send you my dad’s contact information so you can yell at him.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Milo February 17, 2010, 4:21 am

    The interesting thing to me about confidence is that it’s not static – it depends on my behaviour. So if I’ve done exercise, eaten healthily and got enough rest, then I feel much more confident in my dealings with other people.

    But if I’ve slipped back into negative/self-destructive habits, I feel terrible about myself and I find it hard to speak to people. Of course now I will just try your dad’s cape tip and see if that works!

  • Christopher Kabamba February 17, 2010, 5:21 am

    That’s a great post… I love the humor too.

    “Confidence that does not intimidate, but inspires” is the greatest lesson i have got from this post.

    I love the “advice from dad”. I have come to learn that my body posture has alot to do with how i am feeling; the opposite is true, how we feel has an effect on body posture.

    I am learning to leverage this.

    Thanks for the post. It is the second post i have read this week where humor has inspired me.

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 8:29 am

      When it works, I don’t think anything is more memorable than humor. When it doesn’t work, it can be a real catastrophe:)

  • Matt at How To Get A Grip February 17, 2010, 5:33 am

    YES! “Act as if” was bandied around a lot in my salesman days – in this case – act as if you’ve got a cape on.

    It originally came from Boiler Room –


    (audio NSFW, but definitely worth a peek)

  • Elke February 17, 2010, 6:07 am

    I tend to be between the confident girl and the insecure one, depending on who I´m with. But the advice from dad sounds great! I´ll be trying that!

  • Andria February 17, 2010, 7:49 am

    I must second what Milo said. No need to repeat; he said it just as well or better than I might have. However, for some reason, I found myself watching Tool Academy last night in a moment of Olymics reprieve (love the Olympics, but I can only handle so much of it). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, think of the biggest bunch of ‘tools’ –truly arrogant, truly annoying–thrust into tool rehab, in essence, by their fed up partners. While they were probably too tool-ish to benefit much, they could really use the lessons from this particular post.

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 8:30 am

      Sadly, I know too much about Tool Academy. I’ve done plenty of slumming in my channel surfing days.

  • Heather February 17, 2010, 8:35 am

    Dad’s advice rocks! Works way better than what I do–which is flip people off and keep walkin’. . . . . I try to keep myself on the humble as much as possible, personally, and try not to invade much of anyone’s space. And sometimes all anyone seems to understand is a good, solid shot to the chops, either literally or metaphorically. Either way, this was a good post!

  • Larry February 17, 2010, 8:40 am

    You’re so right — it’s not about the t-shirt or the tattoo. It’s about doing the work, walking the talk and wearing the right cape. Thanks for the inspiration, Josh. Confidence becomes you. L.

  • Robby G February 17, 2010, 8:56 am

    I was thinking about the past 3 days actually. I’ve once been told that I have a bloated ego yet a low confidence. And on another occasion I was told I am very arrogant yet extremely insecure. Both those statements really sound about the same, but I try to fathom the idea of how I can have a high ego/be arrogant and low confidence/be insecure. It seems really contradictory, but somehow it makes sense. Any help with identifying the nature of those terms for me, maybe? (Feel free to speak your mind, I won’t get offended, I know I’m asking for it.)

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:40 pm

      A big ego can cloud judgment and distort self-image. If your (whoever’s) image of yourself is that you are larger than life, you’re not going to be able to see that you (or whoever) are posturing in order to reassure yourself that you’re great. Whether or not it’s you, I’ve been there. I talked louder, made my opinions known more forcefully, and looked down my nose at everything, and all as a constant pep talk for myself. If I was acting like I was sure of myself, maybe I’d eventually feel that way too.

  • Mary February 17, 2010, 8:58 am

    Right on! If you are truly confident, you don’t need people to be impressed with you, and that is why it never comes across as arrogance. I’ve noticed that both arrogant and insecure people talk about themselves a lot more than confident people.

  • Clint Daniel February 17, 2010, 9:11 am

    Confidence has always been a hard thing for me to attain, but as I grew, I became to like myself more. I think that is a big part of it; if you don’t like who you are, no one will. But I will indeed imagine I’m wearing my old towel cape, which I used to pretend to be superman or batman(the mood of the day).

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:37 pm

      There’s a lot to be said for starting to enjoy your own company.

      • max October 25, 2011, 8:14 pm

        If you can be alone and still have a friend then you are in pretty good shape.

  • Srinivas Rao February 17, 2010, 9:28 am


    The life coach I once worked with told me “just imagine that everybody can feel whatever you are thinking” so, people who are truly confident like you said just give off that vibe. I love the cape analogy and I think I’ll definitely spend the day walking around like that :). Great way to connect mind and body to exude that confident state.

  • Jodi Kaplan February 17, 2010, 9:29 am

    Love dad’s advice. I’m going to add that to my computer sticky collection (the notes posted all over my monitor).

    What (for the clueless) are Tapout shorts?

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:36 pm

      Jodi, it’s a clothing line for mixed martial arts. Lots of people think that wearing the clothes immediately transforms them into UFC fighters.

      • max October 25, 2011, 8:16 pm

        yes they do, and it is hilarious.. I wonder if eating a banana makes them a monkey.

  • Fazreen February 17, 2010, 9:34 am

    Hi Josh!
    First time here..
    It’s necessary to have confident but don’t over confident..Anyway I like your humor..:D

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:35 pm

      Thanks for jumping in, Fazreen. If you like it, I must be onto something. Your avatar is obviously the work of a genius;)

  • Tim February 17, 2010, 9:46 am


    Awesome take on confidence…You’re right, there’s a fine line between too much confidence and the right amount. Your dad’s advice was great…reminds me of some “ordinary” things that my dad said to me that still resonate with me. Thanks for this.

  • Megan Horton February 17, 2010, 9:55 am

    I like the pig in the cape. Dad never gave me advice like that!

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:35 pm

      Maybe he did, but your fashion sense ran to capes already.

  • Jim Murphy February 17, 2010, 10:11 am

    I like to think about it like this: confidence comes from knowing who you are–your true self, and being able to connect to it, whereas the ego is constantly threatened, and therefore always wants to say, “look at me, I’m better than you” regardless of the truth.

    great topic Josh!

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:35 pm

      Jim, you said it even better than that picture of the pig!

  • Jonathan Stamey February 17, 2010, 10:46 am

    It’s funny that you mention tapout, because I run a mixed martial arts company and I don’t even wear tapout lol.

    I’m really not that great, but I still get guys coming into class all the time saying they’re tough, they’ve been in a few street fights, and they’d like to be a pro…I’m like whatever dude let’s just get the first class out of the way before you start dreaming you’re BJ Penn.

    I don’t think anyone of those assholes has ever come back to class a second time lol.

    And they’re usually wearing a Tapout Tshirt 😉

    Your writing’s awesome bro, keep up the good work.

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 1:34 pm

      Man, this has become a joke with every martial artist I know. Every 18 year old wants to be a UFC fighter or a Navy Seal. I imagine that in prep for Saturday’s show, they’re already stalking around in front of their mirrors pretending they’re making their way out to the Octagon. maybe they could all tie me in a knot, but it ain’t because of the shirt:)

  • Anne February 17, 2010, 12:50 pm

    GREAT POST!!! Made me rally happy today Josh! Thank you!!

  • Debbie Ferm February 17, 2010, 1:39 pm

    “Their confidence does not intimidate, but inspires.”

    Very true. These are my favorite people. I think true confidence is when you are not threatened by who someone else is, because you are happy with who you are.

  • Bamboo Forest - PunIntended February 17, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I agree that confidence is very important. But I’d argue, part of confidence is not caring whether people believe you have it or do not have it. It’s enough to know for yourself that you are confident.

  • Danielle LaPorte February 17, 2010, 2:19 pm

    I’ve been called arrogant, quietly inspiring, and modest – all on the same day. Must be the cape.

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 2:31 pm

      Who called you quietly inspiring? I’ll kill ’em!

  • Steph February 17, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Ooooooh Josh, I completely agree about the cape! I am an only child and used to be really shy (which is shocking to my friends now) until I got the proverbial kick up the butt and a push outta door whilst wearing the cape! Now I cannot pull it off any longer, but I have found that a long coat with a tight belt works just as well at 30.

  • Anne February 17, 2010, 5:42 pm

    I’m with you. I’m not asking. I don’t want to know. I am not fishing. I am not wanting validation. I already know I am the doormat who sometimes finds her voice and says “no more!” Confidence is such a state of mind and a state of being. Good thing I work daily on my Stuart Smiley affirmations, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Okay, maybe not, but it sure sounded good. 😉

  • Gina February 17, 2010, 6:35 pm

    I love the line “Their confidence does not intimidate, but inspires.” So true!

    Your dad was right. My mom had some similar lines.
    Your post made me think – and I think I need to work on it!
    Thanks a lot Josh! 😉

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 7:51 pm

      I appreciate that, Gina. Glad you jumped in.

  • BorisT February 17, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Great post and well put.

  • Jacqui February 17, 2010, 7:58 pm

    Ooh I love that idea – walk like you’re wearing a cape. 🙂 Okay, I’ll pretend I’m wonder woman and swish as I walk. That’s a really nice visual idea. Like it a lot.

  • Yusuf Clack February 17, 2010, 9:22 pm

    Hilarious Josh! I am going to start using this line if you don’t mind: “That did not please him greatly.”

  • Michelle February 17, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Great article… I know what you mean about how someone truly confident you can almost feel it. But I also agree with this comment:

    “I agree that confidence is very important. But I’d argue, part of confidence is not caring whether people believe you have it or do not have it. It’s enough to know for yourself that you are confident.”

    Especially the last part that “It’s enough to know for yourself that you are confident.”

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 11:09 pm

      I think I agree with me, you, and the other commenter. We are a formidable wall of brilliance:)

  • Michael Stagg | My II Sense February 17, 2010, 10:46 pm

    Soooo … Basically be less like Plashenko and more like Lysacek? 🙂

  • Amber February 17, 2010, 10:54 pm

    Reading this post, I think that people might behave differently towards women than men. I rarely get ‘cocky’ from people, and I think that the fact that I’m female and 5’2″ might explain part of it.

    I do agree, though, that there is something palpable about real confidence. And I love the advice about walking like you’ve got a cape on. I plan to try that tomorrow, as it’s just too late to start this evening. Yes, yes, I realize I am making excuses already, but I have CONFIDENCE that they are legitimate. 😉

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 11:08 pm

      That’s really interesting and honestly it never crossed my mind. I don’t think Ive ever, even mentally, thought of a woman as arrogant or cocky. And those sure aren’t the negative terms that I hear most often when someone is talking negatively about a woman. Great comment. And I one dated a girl who was 4’9″, and she was the loudest, most confident person I’ve ever met:)

  • Yun February 18, 2010, 8:25 pm

    The quiet confidence! Confidence is for self, when it is for showing, then we must rethink. Thanks for stopping by….

  • Laura Kimball February 19, 2010, 10:45 am

    Hey Josh,

    I love the cape advice. This is brilliant. And probably the best part is that since it’s an invisible cape you don’t have to worry about it getting trapped in the engine of a 747 and, well, you can fill in the rest (never know what kind of things the cape will make you do).

    Question, has the cape ever made you over-confident, and would that be a bad thing?

    • Josh Hanagarne February 19, 2010, 11:23 am

      Boy, have I been there. It’s cramped inside of a jet engine. It’s all invisible capes for me from now on. I think too much of anything can be a bad thing. Probably–maybe even especially so–with confidence. When it becomes swagger without substance, I’ll pass. I sent you a tweet! You are needed.

  • Sara February 20, 2010, 11:31 am

    Josh — This is my first visit to your site and I give it a 9.5 out of 10. I have hold back a little because this IS my first visit and I don’t want you to get too confident:~)

    I loved this post and reading through the comments. The only time I really wear the “cape” is when I’m debating an issue. I am merciless at this time, regardless of whether or not I know anything about the issue.

    My grandfather trained me from knee-high up to debate. He’d pick a topic and I had to take a side. We’d argue it and then he’d switch sides.

    It didn’t make the most pleasant experience in my childhood, but it did STICK. Other than this, I am a “Clark Kent” of confidence.

    I’ll be back…it’s fun reading your posts:~)

    • Josh Hanagarne February 20, 2010, 11:54 am

      Thanks Sarah. Your grandpa sounds like a character. I didn’t really debate with any of my grandparents, but we did work very hard to figure out who the Zodiac killer was, so it was its own type of oddness. Glad you made it. I think you mean 5.9 out of 10, but please don’t take offense if you’re actually dyslexic:)

  • Alida February 23, 2010, 12:59 pm

    I loved this post. My mom always told me to walk into a room like I owned it and everyone there was my personally invited guest. A mix of confidence and kindness. I’ve never forgotten this little gem of wisdom. It’s served me well. I’m adding you to my favorites!

  • Jonathan Manor October 1, 2010, 4:41 pm

    My sister said I need to walk with confidence. She told me how to fix my shoulders, keep my head up, and smile.

    My coworkers said I look like a cocky douchebag when I walk.

  • Claudia November 17, 2010, 3:16 am

    I lived my entire life (47 yrs) on the lonely side of the arrogant confident. I was raised to be confident, independent and brave but never selfish. I was a natural born confident, I believe for some people it is right there from the beginning, from your early years, we just wake up to our confident self. I can’t remember a situation in my life when I allowed someone else to hurt me, I was superior as my father told us to be, I instantaneously forgave and befriended ex-boyfriends I found cheating on me. Who cares, they didn’t deserve my pain, my time, I was so confident and generous (as my father taught me) that I never feared to be friends with someone who tried to hurt me. I never fought for people, never expressed jealousy, I despised jealousy more than anything, a selfish-weak feeling, I was superior (blargh). And they (lovers and friends) always came back to me and from early age I found out that men are easier to deal if you are a confident woman. Most of the men who left me came back and I had the chance to send them away with my arrogant but generous confident self. Even when I was heartbroken I wouldn’t allow anyone to shake me and my confidence was always there for me, it felt good to be strong.

    Everything came to me the way I planned and wanted. I made mistakes, confident is not the right one, but losses were fruits of my own wrong assessments and decisions. The thing is, my natural confidence fitted with my personal profile, my ideological choices, the human rights politics I embrace, my will to change the world, to revolution society, to win the game played by cynical-coward, to save the poor with ground breaking courage.

    Then I became a mother, and then I found myself in front of someone who really matter, someone I can’t turn my back on, ever. I am a confident mother, as confident and arrogant as I am as a professional atheist (of course there is no place to magic in my life, a real arrogant confident will never accept the power of someone or something else we can’t see, control or look deep into the eyes). But you know, the project to raise a child is really overwhelming, one need a partner, I have a perfect partner for the project, but we fight, oh we fight, because I am a damn arrogant confident wife even but I could not turn my back on those two, ever. I still make mistakes due to my excessive self confidence, most of the time I give things and projects away to others, I get fed up of narrow minds and environments and I turn my back on everything if I have to but I still haven’t given up my will to change this planet, at least around me. I stand by me.


    • andrea December 29, 2010, 1:17 am

      Arrogant/confident. From the reading I see arrogance and conceit

      “Most of the men who left me came back and I had the chance to send them away with my arrogant but generous confident self.”

      aaahhhh so you got to break them instead of them you. They crawled back and you rejected them…you won…generous????

      “I was superior ” conceit not confidence

      “I get fed up of narrow minds and environments and I turn my back on everything if I have to”
      So if it doesn’t fit your parameters they are narrow minded.

      “I can’t remember a situation in my life when I allowed someone else to hurt me,” If you can’t be hurt you will never understand true love, control maybe but not love.

      Sounds more like “I have to be right” or I turn my back. That is the antithesis of confidence.

  • Adrian December 29, 2010, 1:10 am

    I work with people in a classroom setting, facilitating workshops on interviewing, resumes, self-esteem, self-awareness, anger management… People believe I am confident. Posture I think is 90% of the battle. Speak clearly, look em in the eye and people believe you because you believe in yourself.
    When I tell them 5 years ago I was unemployed…a loser with no dreams or goals, they barely believe me.
    I tell you ‘fake it till you make it’ helps, , stand tall, superman cape.

  • lee May 3, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Walk like you have a cape? I think I tried a few times in the past. But this concept is shallow and false and temporary. Sorry to sound like a prick, but I have tried it all, and the thing that made me Really confident permanently was I thought the thought “I am confident in myself”. Afterwards, you ask yourself, What if I REALLY WERE self confident?

    Get into the Feel, of if it were real, right now. This is what it is like if it is A Reality for me. ……”Because, it’s True”.. tell yourself that. Then you let Yourself act naturally. No trying to act confident, or pretending you are Batman. Because that is a lovely, but temporary High that dies out quick.

    My excersise takes actually a few months to Really take effect. But “acting as if” is a practice people will see right through your bs a mile away especially women. And again, it will be gone completely the next day or few hours. Great for a presentation, or job interview though, in fact, I did it just yesterday. ( walk like gold string is holding your head up) for a job interview. My 2 cents.peace

  • Jo September 17, 2012, 6:36 pm

    I aim to be somewhere in the middle between passive and agressive too…