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September 30, 2006

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There is certainly an overlap between self-confidence and professional success, but it is not complete and in my experience many women will put a premium even at the expense of the latter.

I know more than a few people that are technically skilled, have confidence in their technical skill, and are financially rewarded for it (computer programmers, engineers, etc.), and yet have no luck with women because their self-confidence does not extend beyond professional expertise. I also know a few self-confident artist-types whose career at this point is limited to bussing tables... but they outperform the engineers with women most of the time.

In any case, self-confidence (at least in a social sense) is an asset independent of earning potential.

Sigh, sometimes I worry about you HS.

Ilkka was poking fun at all the people who claim that we can make kids more intelligent and get them to pass their high school classes by simply improving their self esteem.

Though IQ is the best predictor of success / social status, the Big Five personality trait Conscientiousness is also a good predictor across jobs (other traits like high Extraversion are helpful in socially engaging jobs like sales). One component (or "facet") of trait C is "Competence" or "belief in own self-efficacy," or what you're calling self-confidence. Self-esteem is a pretty bogus concept, but girls don't seem to care anyway -- they want a guy who's self-confident, not necessarily feels cheery about his self-worth.

Big Five traits & their facets:
http://www.unifr.ch/ztd/HTS/inftest/catalogs4/EN/4EN001/Web/d590668ef5a34f17908121d3edf2d1dc/hb.htm

You're right about the circuitous phrasing, though. When the height requirement eventually comes out, it's always phrased as having to do with high heels rather than discrimination against shorties. This one backfires, though, as it makes her sound even more superficial -- she'd reject a guy just cuz he doesn't coordinate well with her shoes and bag.

Next, they'll say that they prefer men with 40-inch inseams on their pants (or whatever it is for 6'3 guys).

It garbled my link. I've cut it into three chunks; paste them into a single URL.

http://www.unifr.ch/ztd/HTS/inftest/catalogs4/EN/4EN001/Web/

d590668ef5a34f17908121d3edf2d1dc/

hb.htm

How is women preferring tall men "discrimination"? It seems to me like women are simply elevating an attractive physical characteristic over an unattractive one, like we all do everyday. "Short" is a pejorative term - in this society, the ideal man & woman is of above-average height. With good reason - tall people, assuming they're also thin, do tend to look much better in clothes and cut a more impressive figure.

I rather date a tall woman with long legs than a short one. I rather not date a flat-chested woman or one that's much older than me for a simple reason - fuller breasts, youth, and height are attractive features. Age, beanpole figures, and shortness generally are not. I don't really see this as such a terrible, shallow thing - just a natural preference most people have for attractive characteristics over those that are less desirable.

How is women preferring tall men "discrimination"? It seems to me like women are simply elevating an attractive physical characteristic over an unattractive one, like we all do everyday.

Height is a characteristic beyond one's control. Weight, hair color, degree of athleticism, and other physical features are controllable to a greater or lesser extent. Not height.

"Ilkka was poking fun at all the people who claim that we can make kids more intelligent and get them to pass their high school classes by simply improving their self esteem."

Last summer, I was subjected to a university symposium at which the main speaker, a Brit who had actually been knighted to honour his intellectual contributions to the Realm, maintained that everyone could learn everything, provided that, as students, they had sufficient motivation and self-esteem. Now this is the sort of bollocks that really gets me going. (Yes, I find myself lapsing into Britishisms and spelling conventions when confronted with this topic.)

The comment quoted above, whether or not it reflects the point Ilkka was trying to make, does identify one variant of the idiocy widespread in eduction. This line of thought is popular primarily because it excuses mediocrity on the part of both students and faculty, it paints a hopeful picture, and it wishes reality away.

The truth (well, the truth as I see it) is that people feel confident and motivated when effectively putting their talents to use. Whatever it is that they are trying to do, they can probably do it, they know they can probably do it, and thus they rightly feel confident about it.

People who can't do it, know deep in the pit of their stomachs that they can't do it, they fear it, and they don't want to try to do it. They therefore feel neither motivated nor self confident. Rightly so, confidence above and beyond one's ability is a form of self-delusion.

One of the functions of educational institutions is to help people figure out what they are good at, and should pursue, and what they aren't good at, and should abandon. When people identify something they're good at, whether its particle physics, selling fabrics, or rebuilding a fuel pump, they're likely to feel an uptick in motivation and self-esteem.

This is a sort of self-selection process that steers people along a certain educational and career path. It is instinctual, highly effective, and should no be ignored.

Yeah, there's this weird American idea that self-esteem is something we can and should just manufacture within ourselves, independent of any objective reality. I think it's closely related to the notion that we choose whether to be happy.

I never thought to draw that distinction between self-confidence and self-esteem. I think self-esteem has more to do with how people are treated by others, which is only sometimes related to one's abilities and mastery. If a person isn't treated as valuable, he probably won't have high self-esteem regardless of his abilities.

A few years ago I read about various studies that tried to determine whether positive self-delusions (ie, believing you were better than you were) were healthy. As I remember, results were inconclusive. But it seems to me it would have to be bad to believe something that wasn't true.

"Because self-confidence is a marker for success, what they are really saying is that they like successful men."

I think that's reading too much into it. "Self-confidence" is one of those nebulous attributes that everyone feels obligated to say they value, just to say something, much like "a good sense of humor" and "adventurousness."

A good reason for women to value self-confidence is that the opposite is insecurity, and insecure men tend not to treat women well. At best, they think anyone who likes them must be a loser, and at worst, they're resentful and abusive.

I remember a routine by some comic where he said his girlfriend dumped him because he had low self-esteem. "Thanks, this'll help."

"Height is a characteristic beyond one's control. Weight, hair color, degree of athleticism, and other physical features are controllable to a greater or lesser extent. Not height."

Age is beyond one's control as well. A middle-aged woman may have a wonderful character and be more mature than her younger counterparts, however, unless she's a statistical fluke that looks half her age, I'm simply not attracted to her. Youth is more attractive, as is height. That these things are not under one's control is irrelevent - nature is not fair. I think to call a preference for traits associated with attractiveness discrimination is silly.

"A good reason for women to value self-confidence is that the opposite is insecurity, and insecure men tend not to treat women well. At best, they think anyone who likes them must be a loser, and at worst, they're resentful and abusive."

Spungen makes a very good point, and offers an insight that not many men have about how women see them. One thing that we men are rarely aware of, but I think - I assume - women are much more aware of, is the capacity of men for violence and abuse. We think they think we're charming.

Anyway, a touch of insecurity, especially when expressed with a sense of humor, can be endearingly humanizing in a man or woman, particularly when the person is generally competent and well-balanced. It then comes across simply as a bit of humility and the capacity to laugh at oneself. But a little goes a long way.

I don't blame women for not wanted to get involved with seriously insecure men, I don't like being around them either, simply as acquaintances or co-workers. This kind of person looks to others over and over again to prop them up and urge them along in the game of life, and since they never feel particularly sure of themselves, what it often comes to in their minds is that YOU have somehow failed them. I can easily see how in an amourous relationship, this could quickly turn quite nasty, and possibly dangerous.

In addition to the distinction between self-esteem and self confidence, I would like to introduce another distinction, that between self-confidence and arrogance. I suppose I used to think of insecurity, self-confidence, and arrogance as being on a continuum, from one extreme to another. Now I see it more as insecurity and arrogance occupying two sides of the same coin, and self-confidence as the opposite of both.

The most self-confident people aren't necessarily the smartest or most gifted; they're the people who don't feel the need to be the smartest or the most gifted. They've got nothing to prove and, to recycle a cliche, they are the most comfortable with who they are. OK, OK, I've already admitted that it's a cliche, but sometimes, certain ideas become cliches because they are observed over and over again to be true.

Anyway, you're NEVER going to meet an arrogant person who really feels he has nothing to prove. They've got long, long lists of stuff they have to prove . . to everybody, right now, or else. I've worked with people like this.

Another disfunctional variant of self-confidence is seen occasionally among the very stupid. They do not worry about failing in their endeavors because they're too dense to grasp the concept.

I suppose I used to think of insecurity, self-confidence, and arrogance as being on a continuum, from one extreme to another. Now I see it more as insecurity and arrogance occupying two sides of the same coin, and self-confidence as the opposite of both.

Self-confidence is a facet of trait Conscientiousness (called "Competence"). Insecurity, depending on what exactly you mean, would be some facet of trait Neuroticism (either "Anxiety," "Angry Hostility," or both). Arrogance, though, is the opposite of "Modesty," and that's a facet of yet another trait -- Agreeableness. So these three things are facets of independent traits.

For instance, you might be highly insecure (high-N) but humble, assuming you had high-A. Maybe "meek" is a good word for this combination. If you had low-A in addition to high-N, you might be both insecure and arrogant. But again, these three things are all parts of independent traits.

I don't think it's fair to say that women are being dishonest in professing a preference for self-confidence (as some sort of politesse for 'success'). True of course that it's correlated with success, but are you going to say that men who prefer a narrow waist are being dishonest and should really be saying they prefer fertile women? The preference for confidence is real, not a cover for something else...

Sorry, but just to give an example of an arrogant but secure person -- think of sociopaths. They're not humble (love bragging about how cunning they are), but they are emotionally balanced rather than insecure. They're also very self-confident, which is the one facet of Conscientiousness that they would score highly on.

So, you have someone who's self-confident, a bit of a show-off, and who isn't emotionally unstable. No wonder they're so skilled at suckering unsuspecting women into dating and mating with them. Link

It’s common for women to say they like men who are self-confident. Because self-confidence is a marker for success, what they are really saying is that they like successful men. But it’s a more politically correct way of saying so

bbartlog is right. This is not what they are really saying. What they say is exactly what they feel is attractive, in exactly the same manner as a young pretty face would be attractive to you (regardless of if it was somehow a "fake" from a genetic standpoint).

This is a common way of misunderstanding sexual attraction in particular and evolutionary psychology in general (i.e. mixing up ultimate and proximate).
Attraction works on psychological "cues".

For instance, I'd be attracted to nice big child-bearing hips on a one night stand, even though I really, really would not want those fertile hips to make me a baby.

A good reason for women to value self-confidence is that the opposite is insecurity, and insecure men tend not to treat women well. At best, they think anyone who likes them must be a loser, and at worst, they're resentful and abusive.

I'm an example of the typical insecure male. I'm resentful of the success (especially when compared with my lack of success) of my friends which in turn leads me to spend less time with them. In turn, they hate that when I do spend time with them, I spend way too much time bitching about my life, and too little about other topics.

If any woman shows an interest in me, I wonder why she would find me attractive unless she was desperate or deficient in some way. It didn't help that one of the few women who was openly attracted to me was overweight, and I didn't want to perpetuate the black male and fat white woman stereotype.

My impression was that black men were not so much interested in fat women per se as with women with fat distributed in certain portions of their anatomy (Mixalot 1991).

Threshold for confidence is different among people. People with low threshold are often more confident and low achievers. People with high threshold are often depressed and end up as high achievers because nothing will make them happy until they conquer the world.

In other words, people with low-self esteem often have higher standard for success or happy.

My impression was that black men were not so much interested in fat women per se as with women with fat distributed in certain portions of their anatomy (Mixalot 1991).

Yes, that's very true, but I still wanted to avoid the appearance of some low-class large ass-chasing black male.

David A., "the appearance"? To whom, Frasier and Niles? ;) Might as well pick a stereotype that allows you to enjoy yourself. Women secretly are laughing at men no matter what they do, especially during sex, so there's really no point worrying about something you can't change.

David A., "the appearance"? To whom, Frasier and Niles? ;) Might as well pick a stereotype that allows you to enjoy yourself. Women secretly are laughing at men no matter what they do, especially during sex, so there's really no point worrying about something you can't change.

Given the lack of my academic success, I need other markers to prove that I'm not some low-class ghetto thug, and thus, shunning that class of women is an excellent way to do so.

Plus, knowing that women are laughing at me no matter what I do isn't reassuring for somebody who thinks that a girl's knowledge of feelings towards her is a sign of weakness of the male.

But it's not just you, that's the point. I'm just saying, we've all got our inner critical voice, and unfortunately yours appears to resemble David Hyde Pierce. Maybe you should reprogram with a Will Smith or a John Leguizamo, they'd probably treat you better.

David,

Spungen is right.. Will Smith is your role model. Did you watch Hitch yet? Next go rent the Tao of Steve, not a Will Smith movie, but a great flick about a guy (based on an actual person in New Mexico) who brings nothing to the table career or look-wise but is so charming he seduces women effortlessly.

http://www.cinescene.com/reviews/taoofsteve.html

Shudder...Will Smith as a role model. My brie-eating elitist world shall crumble. :-P

Actually, I've been way too busy and lazy to either download the movie or go to Blockbuster and rent it. I'll probably try after I finish up moving this week.

Yeah dude, I know you don't want to be a low-class black man, and I don't blame you one bit. But being black and not having money, clinging to upper-class tastes is not gong to help you--you have no access to the social circles that would appreciate them.

And yes, this is a racist society. I'm not saying it's right but I don't see what else you can do.

Yeah dude, I know you don't want to be a low-class black man, and I don't blame you one bit. But being black and not having money, clinging to upper-class tastes is not gong to help you--you have no access to the social circles that would appreciate them.

There is a deep fear of being labeled as the low-class black male because it comes with social stereotyping that would drive most normal people crazy. I don't want to be thought of as a the criminal/rapist du jour who's highest attainment in life is to hustle for money, get as many women pregnant as possible, and wear bling and ill-fitting clothing.

Blame my elitist family ancestry. Great-grandparents and grandparents were civil servants back home and that gave us some influence and power. Mind you, that was many years ago, and back then we had plantations and maids.

And yes, this is a racist society. I'm not saying it's right but I don't see what else you can do.

Actually, that's one of the reasons why I'm tempted to move to Canada. Whenever I visit, I feel much more comfortable about myself vis a vis here in the States. Plus, it helps that the Governor-General is from the same town in Haiti that my grandfather came from.

Getting things off to a good start might be a good keyword for you.

More info on that line:

http://browniesforbreakfast.blogspot.com

http://assertivenesssucceeds.blogspot.com

WHO SAID WHITE PEOPLE ARE BETTER ON DEALING WITH MENTAL TASKS? HOW VERY IGNORANT OF YOUR PAGE AND/OR AUTHOR TO MAKE COMMENTS LIKE THAT.
IS THAT RACIALLY PREJUDICED? I WILL HAVE RESERVED JUDGEMENT.
MIKE (ABLACK MAN)

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