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Key to Success: Low Self-Confidence (Am I Right, Ladies?)

Low self-confidence, a blessing, not a curse, says business psychology professor

| BY Donald Liebenson

In study after study, women are more likely to proclaim that they are not very knowledgeable about finances, money management and investments. Across a wide list of personal and national issues ranging from the financial futures of their children to an increase in taxes, they are more likely to express concern than men.

They might be fretting their way to career success, according to Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London. In a blog published by the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic states, “Low self-confidence is more likely to make you successful.”

A recent Millionaire Corner study of retirement plan participants denotes the trend. Thirty-seven percent of women described themselves as “fairly knowledgeable about finances,” compared to 57 percent of men. Conversely, nearly half (45 percent) say they are “not very knowledgeable” about finances, compared to 30 percent of men.

They are more concerned about a further prolonged economic downturn (79 percent vs. 73 percent), increases in taxes (71 percent vs. 62 percent), and an increase in interest rates (53 percent vs. 43 percent). They are more pessimistic than men about their financial futures, with just over one-quarter of women retirement plan participants projecting they will be better off after the upcoming presidential election compared with 38 percent of men.

More than half of women (52 percent) said they are worried their households aren’t saving enough to meet their financial goals compared to 41 percent of men.

This low self-confidence might not just make them more thoughtful, better researched, and less emotional investors than men. It might also, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic states, give them--or anyone lacking in confidence for that matter--a psychological advantage over those with higher self-confidence.

Extremely low self-confidence “inhibits performance by inducing fear, worry, and stress, which may drive some people to give up sooner or later,” he writes. Too much self-confidence may give off an aura of being arrogant or self-deluding. But just-low-enough confidence is just right.

“You stand a better chance of succeeding,” he writes:

·         Lower self-confidence make you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical

·         It can motivate you to work harder and prepare more.

·         It reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded.

“If you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally to accomplish them,” he concludes. It will motivate you to work hard, help you work on your limitations, and stop you from being a jerk."

About the Author

Donald Liebenson


Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.