Over Confidence.

I have come across some really stupid over confident people in my life as I am sure that most of my readers have too. Over confidence almost always ends up in disasters except on the very rare occasion. I would call myself a confident person not given to taking big risks. I have somehow avoided being overconfident except on very few occasions, three of which I shall discuss in detail here. One almost ended in disaster and two did not.

The first occasion was when I decided that it was no big deal to drive a left hand drive car. (For my American friends, in India we drive on the left side of the road and use right hand drive vehicles.). I almost killed myself and a few others by not having practiced in a traffic less field like I did while learning to drive in a right hand drive car in the first place. That memory still haunts me now and then. That memory also put paid to my hiring cars to drive myself around in Europe and the USA instead undergoing quite some inconvenience using cabs and other public transport vehicles.

The second occasion was when I proposed marriage to U, my friend of eight years. She was my best friend’s sister and her friends were my friends as were mine hers. We did a lot of things together and were very comfortable with each other’s company. I was undergoing internship as a Management Trainee and my employment was not a confirmed one but, on one occasion, something came over me and I suggested that since we were so comfortable with each other, that we should get married. U took a few days to think over the proposal while I went off on a sales tour but, on my return she confirmed that we can and we took a leap of faith into unknown territory for both of us. The marriage had its ups and downs like I suppose all marriages do but, overall, it was a good marriage that lasted all of forty years. So that overconfidence paid off.

The third occasion was when at the peak of a successful career I decided to take a plunge into a new career path and quit an employer after 23 years. Many of my colleagues of that employer who are still in touch with me still cannot understand my, what they call, rashness. I left a large multinational company to work with a small family run company on a short term contract. I knew the family well and that made the decision making fairly simple. My late wife who featured in the last paragraph, supported me on my decision and went through all the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ stages with me in the initial stages. In the end it paid off and I was able to retire comfortably at an age that would not have been possible had I continued in the big firm.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

20 thoughts on “Over Confidence.”

  1. I had a very similar car driving experience in New Zealand! Oh, boy. I bent the tie rods on the rental car when confronted with a one-way bridge I did not know the rules for. It is a harrowing experience one must try to fully appreciate!

  2. When I drove in Australia, I found it really difficult. Especially making turns. And my husband drove right into the path of a bus coming to of a roundabout in Ireland. (I screamed, he got out of the way in time). It’s disorienting when you are used to driving on the other side of the road or in a car with the driver’s seat on the opposite side.

    I wouldn’t say I’m overconfidant, but I’ve made a few impulsive decisions. No real regrets, though.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Around the yard.

    1. Instinct has to be kept aside and total concentration needed when one drives in places with the traffic on the wrong side and that is why it becomes so dangerous.

  3. Yes, driving cars on the ‘wrong side of the road’ is not as easy as it seems; but try mooring a motor boat. No problem, I thought. Then I discovered that they don’t have brakes !

  4. Well I’ve lived in NZ for most of my life, except when domiciled in first the UK and then Australia. I didn’t learn to drive a car until I came back to NZ…but now I have no car. And they’ve changed the rules a number of times, particularly for whom you give-way to if you’ve in your car…BUT we still drive on the LEFT…

    and yes roundabouts are the key issues for drivers who aren’t used to the “left”…
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..and then “people” @ 2 metres…

    1. Although I have a valid driving licence and can still drive, I have stopped and since it is economical to either use taxis or professional drivers on hourly hire basis, I prefer to be driven around. Public transport here is too crowded for comfort and I avoid using them.

  5. I have, at times, taken on sewing projects which were beyond my real ability at the time. I did it because I didn’t understand the challenge of the piece, more of a “fools leap in where angels fear to tread” situation.
    When I married at 20 I was blindly confident, not in either of us but again, by just not knowing anything about the twists and turns of life. Even though the marriage eventually failed i think my confidence was justified, most twists and turns can be overcome by the commitment of both partners

  6. In my journalistic period, I was over-confident about starting work on a new local newspaper funded by a friend of the editor. It wasn’t long before I discovered the funder was an alcoholic and had drunk away all the money and that was the end of that.

    Our decision to move from London to Belfast might have been seen as over-confident if we had both failed to get new jobs over here, but as it happened it all worked out very well.

    Jenny and I both doubt we would adjust easily to a left-hand drive car, so we’ve never driven them. That has limited our holidays in some ways, but better that than a nasty car accident.

    1. I have learnt one more thing about your interesting career journey! Yes, moving like you did was indeed a big leap of faith and I am glad that it all worked out well for both of you.

  7. Since you mention driving, and your commentators so far have latched onto it, so will I. Driving is nothing to me. Give me London, Rome, Paris on a Friday afternoon at close of business, a ravine; give me a car on the “wrong” side of the road, or a steering wheel on the “wrong” side, I am fine, just fine. Must be the Italian, nay the German, in me. Vorsprung durch Technik.

    But yes, confidence definitely does come into it. No good expecting everything going pear shaped. If you do it will.

    Of course, in a wider context of your subject, one may consider the fear of the unknown that hampers some. Not for me. Put me in a dark forest at midnight. I’ll emerge – in the morning – with a basketful of edible mushrooms and two tamed wolves in tow.

    Well, there you go, my dear Ramana, confidence, not “over”, just confidence. I was born with it. And what a gift of the gods or one of the fairies at my cradle that was.

    As to your other two examples on confidence. They are touching; nothing I can contribute to other than to say: Good on you, Ramana, that you did take your chances.


    1. Somehow I find the image of you behind a steering wheel very intriguing. It is a pity that I will not be able to get you to drive me around unless of course, you decide to come to India and Pune. It still is an intriguing idea. Over here, you should not have any problems because you will not only be driving a right hand drive car but also in traffic that is totally anarchic.

      That the fear of the unknown is unknown to you is understandable from what I have gathered about you over the years that you have written your blog posts and commented on mine.

  8. I solved any potential driving issue by simply not visiting anywhere that drove on the opposite side of the road – and clearly that decision cost me a lot in terms of experiencing other cultures. In business life I was rarely over confident and also rarely really happy. A connection perhaps?

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