The Allure of Confidence

I envision an approach to this problem that is surprising simple. Ask yourself what kind of people you are most drawn to both personally and professionally. And the inverse – what is it about some people that just immediately turns you off? Then, simply work to become the one and work to stop being the other. With your new coat of Teflon on, many of life’s hits and punches will slide right off. Even if you’re fired, you’ll be more likely to be hired somewhere else. If you get divorced, you just may find love again and now a better relationship because you are more in harmony with yourself. If you lose your home you’ll find the best way to beat the devastation is to find and decorate a great and new apartment. It can be done. You just have to make sure you can’t be stopped. I don’t mean to trivialize enormous bouts of bad luck and life-changing events, but we all know finding a way to “roll with the punches” is more about your approach to problems than anything else. What kind of real strength and stores of integrity do you have?

Here’s my list of traits that I admire:

• I am drawn to people that stand out and are willing to do so. This is not be confused with those that are eccentric just to be different. I mean a person that could care less if he/she is judged–they are just going about their lives as they see fit–with or without your approval.

• A constitution of confidence and self-assuredness.

• An opinion that doesn’t change when important people join or override the consensus.

• A sincere sense of humor as well as a sincere and visible sense of appreciation.

• A general attitude of independence and strength. Not overbearing or reckless but just an admirable swagger of ability. Does this person appear to be someone you could get behind and trust to handle something – not necessarily lead but clearly handle his/her part of a project? In a word: capable.

Here are things that make me resist some people:

• Constant apologizing – people that act like they have no right to even think, propose or debate the issue. They often start sentences with, “I know it’s not my place to say….”

• People that always pretend what they are saying requires strict confidence. They whisper a lot, close the door, give signals; these people usually take themselves and issues way too seriously. Get real.

• People that always point out the negative. Just the opposite of the “can-do” attitude. These people always take the air out of the room whenever enthusiasm is high.

• People who pretend they simply are carrying on with marching orders they don’t understand but are unwilling to challenge. They say things like, “hey I know better than to question – I just do what I’m told no matter what I think.”

• Complete indifference – “Why haven’t you fixed that hole in the wall?” Answer: “Well it was there when I got here a year ago and nobody told me to do anything about it. Doesn’t bother me though I just hang my coat over it.”

OK so be honest with yourself. Which people would you like better as friends, neighbors, co-workers? I think it’s pretty clear, right? I mean we all know a million reasons cause firings and layoffs. It isn’t simply a personality contest, but if all other factors are held in check and it is merely an evaluation of who has greater potential to last, there is logic in working to become a better person all around. Avoid the traps of becoming that negative, spineless, gossipy type I mentioned above. If you don’t–and one day the choice to fire someone comes down to you and another guy–I guarantee you the more positive guy will always win out.

Ron Ciancutti is the Director of Procurement for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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