Our society is always focused on building confidence to a person. But some will tell that self-confidence is inborn and building it will just be faking it. I am someone who is quite neutral so I searched for more information regarding this topic. I am someone who does not have a lot of self-confidence, but also not too low self-esteem. Thus, as someone with a neutral perspective, I have searched this topic and will share what I’ve found.
Self-confidence is a personality and an ability trait. This means that as a personality, you might have it in your character, and as an ability, you can learn how to have more confidence through experiences. It is also an emotion which means that confidence changes depending on the situation.
Self-confidence is a mixture of the two. As I will also share in the study I’ve found, it gave a mixed result. The answer is already given to you but of course, it still needs a lot of discussions. Why is it an ability trait and why is it a personality trait. What do I also mean that it is an emotion. We will talk about all of these in this article.
Is self-confidence a personality trait?
First, let us answer self-confidence as a personality trait. Is self-confidence a personality trait?
Self-confidence is a personality trait. This is because confidence can be part of your personality as an individual. Some people will generally have bigger confidence simply because it is their core mentality. However, it does not mean that self-confidence can’t be built.
The problem I see is that we are forcing a thought that self-confidence can either be a personality or a skill.
Most are looking for a definite answer on this topic but they can’t find the right answer they are looking for. And they can’t find the answer simply because they are looking for a specific answer.
Human psychology is very complicated and most topics on the field don’t have a specific answer like what you can see in other branches of science.
This is one of those topics that has no specific answer. That’s why we have to see both sides of the coin. Therefore, you can see how good this topic is and that the result is good news for everybody.
As you see, you might already meet a person who has big confidence within themselves. They always keep their heads up and it seems that they’ve been that way ever since they were young.
That is an example of a person with confidence in their character or someone with it as a personality trait.
There are really people like that and it also doesn’t mean that it is all good. In fact, if you are using self confidence the wrong way, it can lead to more harm than good.
Self-doubt, an opposite of self-confidence, is the person’s ability to question their own abilities. It might seem bad for some but look at the brighter picture.
When people question their abilities, they are able to hone their skills and craft before doing something harder than what they can currently handle.
I am one of those people. I am someone who is very intimidated by building this website way back 3 years ago. I know that my abilities are not enough. Thus, I studied a lot about building a website and writing until I finally had what it takes to build this website you are reading on.
Let’s step back to people with immense confidence. They are more prone to instances where they handle things supposedly larger than them leading them to failure.
They will also find it harder to accept their defeat thus a lot of them will cover their mistakes until it becomes extremely big.
I discussed more the good things self-doubt can give us in another article. It is a good read after this especially if you are someone who has self-doubt. I will show you how you can use this to your advantage: Self-doubt: Weakness or Strength
But I am not anti-confidence. My point here is that confidence is good if you use it correctly. Same as self-doubt if you use it the right way.
If a person with self-doubt will just freeze while on a hard task, then it is also detrimental to themselves.
Same as how a very confident person will hide that they can’t do what it currently in their plate.
The advantage of having self-confidence is that they are more prone to handling things even if it is larger than them. Which means that if they have humility, they can ask for help from others to guide them in order to finish the task.
As you can see, it is a matter of how you use self-confidence. People with high levels of confidence as their character trait are more likely able to handle difficult things. Thus, they usually have more success.
So to answer if confidence is a personality trait.
The point here is that confidence can be a personality trait in which a person can just be born with this trait. If a person is born with this confidence. It is their job to use it to their advantage. This is because this character trait can cause a problem if used incorrectly.
But it doesn’t mean that people who are not born with self-confidence can’t build confidence.
As I told you, I am on the neutral side. I was actually born with low self-esteem. I was also bullied in school for being too thin.
As you know, at that state, our self-esteem is destroyed. But I got my self-esteem back. Thus, I believe that while confidence can be something a person has at birth, it can also be developed by the individual.
That is why in one of my articles where I wrote about self-doubt as a character trait, I discussed about why self-doubt is innate within us like confidence which can also be innate. Here is the article in case you would want to read it: Is self-doubt a character trait?
Is self-confidence an ability trait?
Self-confidence can be an ability trait simply because it can be built through experience and learning. While there are people who are born with confidence, there are others who have learned to build their confidence through sheer effort throughout their lives.
I can never say that I am gifted with confidence. My life has been a series of ups and downs like every body else and it is directly related to confidence.
This is because there are people who just learned to be confident because confidence is correlated with emotions.
This can be hard to explain so let me just give you an example.
Suppose that you are against someone who you think is weaker in a basketball match. So at the start, you are very confident in winning.
The problem is as soon as the match starts, you’ve learned that your enemy might look weak in basketball, but in reality, he or she is actually better than you.
Thus, while the match continues, you are starting to lose on points.
From starting with full confidence, you are now down to low confidence in just a few minutes. You’ve basically lost your confidence in winning.
That’s what I mean by self-confidence being correlated with emotion. Because emotion changes really fast, same with confidence.
That is why some people who want to build self-confidence as fast as possible simply tries to put themselves in a good mood.
While it is a good way to increase your confidence, it is not a long term strategy. As you can see, a simple mistake can take down your whole confidence in just a few minutes.
But you should never give-up. Like me who gained confidence through experience and learning, so could you. You can also build pure confidence by learning.
In my experience, the easiest way is to use your self-doubt as a means to gain confidence.
I said earlier that my self-doubt is the one who pushed me to make myself better. To learn more to build this website. That’s the key. When I started to use my self-doubt to handle things larger than me, I started to show confidence.
The way you handle self-doubt is the key to confidence and the moment that we finish a task because we worked hard will be our largest source of confidence in the future.
When in doubt, learn to adjust and do your best. Doing your best is the easiest way to build confidence.
What type of trait is confidence?
Now, let’s go with the conclusion for this article. What type of trait is confidence?
Confidence is a combination of personality trait and ability trait. This is because confidence can be part of the person’s character ever since they were born. However, there are people who learned how to be confident through their various learnings and experiences in life.
Here is a table differentiating personality from ability trait. Note that confidence can come from both of them and neither one is better than the other.
|Personality Trait||Ability Trait|
|Time||Lasts a lifetime||Can be taught or forget|
|Skill||Natural or Innate||Can be learned|
|Level||Remains Stable||Can be developed over time|
As I said, the usefulness of confidence depends on how you use it. Too much confidence is also bad as too much self-doubt is also bad.
But we are talking about self-confidence as a combination of both personality and ability.
To prove that it is a combination, a research journal from the Frontiers of Psychology tested students if confidence is from personality or ability.
What they’ve found is that the answer is both.
Students who did self-reporting showed that self-confidence is more on the personality of the individual. While people who did the online measurement showed that confidence is more on the ability side.
This is because quantifying confidence from a single source is hard to do because there are lots of variables to check out before concluding.
And it seems that research has showed that there are many sources of confidence.
Which tells that confidence can come both from a person’s character, or their ability to learn or skill.
So self-confidence is neither a personality trait or an ability trait. It is a mixture of the two. Some people will innately have it, while others won’t. But it doesn’t matter as confidence can be learned through experience since it is also an ability trait.
Burns, Karina M., et al. “Confidence—More a Personality or Ability Trait? It Depends on How It Is Measured: A Comparison of Young and Older Adults.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, 2016. Crossref, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00518.