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14 Types of Confidence

 , May 20, 2019 updated on April 27, 2023
Confidence is belief and trust in something or someone. The following are common types of confidence.


Self-confidence is an individual's foundational belief in their abilities, knowledge, character and judgement. This exists at the emotional level whereby an individuals feels they can do something.


Self-efficacy is situational self-confidence. For example, an individual may be confident in social situations but lack confidence in performing technical tasks.

Fake It Till You Make It

Fake it till you make it is a strategy that involves simulating confidence when your not confident. For example, a new employee who pretends to be confident in their abilities when they are feeling out of their element. By simulating confidence, an individual may be able to gain the experience they need to build actual confidence.

Illusory Superiority

Illusory superiority is the tendency for a high percentage of people to view themselves as above average in certain areas. This can also be described as a tendency to view yourself in an optimistic light and others in a pessimistic light.

Illusory Inferiority

The tendency for a high percentage of people to view themselves as below average in certain areas. This can also apply to confidence in organizations, teams and strategy. For example, employees may feel that their organization is more irrational and flawed than the competition when in fact the organization has no special problems that aren't common across the industry.

Illusion of Control

Confidence that you can control things that are in fact beyond your control. For example, a gambler who believes they influence results that are random.


Pessimism is a tendency to underestimate the probability of positive outcomes. This results in low confidence in risk taking activity and high confidence in conservative strategies that you perceive as risk avoiding.


Defeatism is pessimism that interferes with your performance such that you contribute to the failures you predict. For example, an employee who has no confidence in a strategy such that they fail to support it, ensuring that it will fail.


Optimism is an tendency to underestimate difficulty and risk. This results in overconfidence in your abilities and the abilities of others. It also results in an underestimation of potential problems. In some cases, optimism results in experience due to failure that has significant value.


Overconfidence is a tendency to overestimate your abilities and strategy. This can coexist with both optimism and pessimism. For example, a pessimist can be overconfident that a conservative approach is best and that risk takers are all destined to fail.


Arrogance is overconfidence that is unattractive to those around you. For example, optimistic overconfidence may be an attractive quality but overconfidence due to a misguided sense of superiority may be perceived as unattractive.


Hubris is persistent arrogance that becomes entrenched in culture of a group or the character of an individual. For example, an organizational culture may develop excessive pride in the organization's status such that customers are viewed as unintelligent and competitors not taken seriously enough. Hubris leads to serious problems such as remarkably flawed strategies.

Backfire Effect

The backfire effect is a bias that involves increasing your confidence in something when presented with contrary evidence. For example, a manager who becomes more confident in their abilities after a series of failures.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

A tendency to be confident because you lack knowledge. For example, an inexperienced artist who believes it is easy to sell art because they haven't tried it yet such that they lack knowledge of the art market. This can also go the other way whereby an individual who has a great deal of knowledge lacks confidence due to overthinking.
Overview: Confidence
Belief and trust in something or someone.
Related Concepts


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