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Confidence is a state of being clear-headed either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a Latin word ‘fidere’ which means “to trust”; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one’s self. Arrogance or hubris, in comparison, is the state of having unmerited confidence—believing something or someone is correct or capable when evidence or reasons for this belief are lacking. Overconfidence or presumptuousness is excessive belief in someone (or something) succeeding, without any regard for failure. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.
The concept of self-confidence is commonly defined as self-assurance in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc. One’s self-confidence increases as a result of experiences of having satisfactorily completed particular activities. Self-confidence involves a positive belief that in the future, one can generally accomplish what one wishes to do. Self-confidence is not the same as self-esteem, which is an evaluation of one’s own worth, whereas self-confidence is more specifically trust in one’s ability to achieve some goal, which one meta-analysis suggested is similar to generalization of self-efficacy. Abraham Maslow and many others after him have emphasized the need to distinguish between self-confidence as a generalized personality characteristic, and self-confidence with respect to a specific task, ability or challenge (i.e. self-efficacy). Self-confidence typically refers to general self-confidence. This is different from self-efficacy, which psychologist Albert Bandura has defined as a “belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task” and therefore is the term that more accurately refers to specific self-confidence. Psychologists have long noted that a person can possess self-confidence in their ability to complete a specific task (self-efficacy) (e.g. cook a good meal or write a good novel) even though they may lack general self-confidence, or conversely be self-confident though they lack the self-efficacy to achieve a particular task (e.g. write a novel). These two types of self-confidence are, however, correlated with each other, and for this reason can be easily conflated.