8 ways to successfully identify confidence

The following article appeared on the leading HR website Changeboard Posted on by Robert Kelsey

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. So said US industrialist Henry Ford – condemning half the population to self-fulfilling under-confidence. Ford’s maxim is, in fact, wrong, beacause Ford misunderstood the nature of confidence.

So confidence can be acquired, although there’s a definite alchemy to confidence. First there’s optimism. Confident people not only hope for the best, they expect it, which allows them to act. This is about how we inwardly explain success or failure. If success suits our personal narrative, with failure an aberration, we’ll be optimistic. If it’s the other way round, we’ll more likely be pessimistic, which will undermine our confidence.

Psychologist Michael Seligman counters this with the notion of ‘flexible optimism’. This sets limits on our pessimism – for instance on the extent of blame attributable to ourselves for a negative event – which reinforces rather than undermines the strongest card of the pessimist, which is realism. We do not have to ignore our own – perhaps evidence-based – view of reality. Flexible optimism is simply introducing additional questions such as what’s the alternative view, and what are the limits to the downside?

Resilience is key

Being irrepressible by absorbing the punches without them impacting our overall outlook or conviction. Like so much else, resilience is developed in childhood – often learnt, or otherwise, vicariously from a parent who may themselves have had strong or poor coping skills. Yet resilience is often misunderstood. It isn’t about survival, which may have been achieved at enormous emotional cost or trauma. It’s about coming through stressful or negative situations with more confidence, not less.

We need to cope with stressful situations as they occur, not after we’ve calmed down. Yet this, too, can be learnt, as long as we can first deal with the emotional aspects of stressful situations. Yet we must also be adaptable and aware that “now” is what matters – not the moments before or after the crisis. Other than that, the key is not to choke (i.e. collapse under pressure) once victory is in sight.

Self efficiency

the self-knowledge that we have strong skills in a particular area, as well as the fact we, indeed, possess such skills. Our beliefs are not illusionary. Of course, developing competence in a particular area should strengthen our self-efficacy. And this should increase our willingness to take greater risks – to push the boundaries of our talents or acquired skills, making us willing to develop new skills in tangentially-relevant areas. All of which will add to our confidence.

That said, self-efficacy has its limits, not least the fact it’s ‘domain specific’. This means we can gain strong self-efficacy in one area with no impact on our confidence elsewhere (which is why champion jockeys should avoid driving racing cars). Nonetheless, gaining self-efficacy in one area is beneficial if we can recognize what’s happened and apply the methodology to gain self-efficacy elsewhere.

Talent, or is it?

Nearly all confidence gurus agree that high achievers are no more talented than many others. They are just more focused, more committed and – above all – extremely hard working: prepared to repeat perhaps mundane tasks again and again in their drive for perfection.

Whether skills such as music, or attributes such as intelligence, those that are talented often start no more than average: attaining their ‘talent’ through years of endeavour. Indeed, many high performers are incredibly hard on themselves. No matter what grade they attain, their discontent remains – meaning that talent and confidence make awkward bedfellows.

Courage

Which is something confident people have in spades. In fact, it can seem like their defining quality – allowing confident people to act, and therefore prosper, while the under-confident hesitate, and therefore languish in frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

So courage is something we must develop. And while this can seem disabling, it isn’t. It means there’s nothing innate about it. Anyone can become courageous. Strong preparation and lots of practice can remove the terror, allowing us – despite our insecurities or fears – to act. And while this seems like an overly-simple solution for an old-fashioned need, it’s also true.

Extroversion

This is a personality-type identified by legendary psychologist Carl Jung. The extrovert has an outward flow of personal energy – making them sociable, enthusiastic and incautious, although also potentially shallow, unreflective and volatile. Meanwhile, the introvert is characterised by an inward flow of personal energy – making them imaginative, self-contained and reflective, although also potentially shy, hesitant and withdrawn.

Of course, the under-confident could potentially reframe themselves as introverts, which is a more positive label. Yet we are concerned here with confidence, which – at least externally – requires the attributes of the extravert. So if introverts want to get ahead they must be prepared to get beyond their comfort zone – especially in social situations – while retaining the advantages of the introvert (such as strong observation and listening skills).

Seventh is trust. Trust and confidence are interchangeable words, although this type of trust deals with relationships. It means having inner confidence with others. In this respect, trust is a vital building block for confidence – not least because distrust destroys our confidence more effectively than just about any other external consideration.

Yet trust from others requires that we are – first – trustworthy. We must behave in ways that generate trust before we expect others to trust us or be themselves trustworthy. This is potentially a major barrier for the under-confident, not least because their past may be filled with examples of betrayed trust. So by changing our direction of travel – meaning that we are trustworthy first and that we trust in others before we expect others to trust us – we can start to undermine the contrary evidence caused by our negative experiences.

Judgement

This comes from developing confidence in other areas. In fact trust and judgement are connected, because lost trust can quickly destroy our judgement, while trust in others and ourselves can strengthen our judgement. Key to strong judgement is the avoidance of heuristics such as ‘confirmation bias’, in which we favour information that confirms our preconceptions while potentially ignoring or discounting information that could challenge these assumptions.

True confidence comes from being able to challenge our prejudices – including our fears – without triggering our insecurities. Indeed, being wrong – and being able to admit it – is a strong sign of confidence.

Robert Kelsey

By Robert Kelsey

Robert is an author, founder and CEO of a London PR agency, and co-founder and deputy chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurs. www.robert-kelsey.co.uk

8 ways to be more confident at work

Snip20160101_1

This article first appeared in Goodhousekeeping.co.uk (and was most definitely written by me!).

Do you feel under-confident in your workplace? Feeling under-confident not only decreases your job satisfaction but it can also impact your progress and prospects.

But it doesn’t have to be that way and what better to time to adopt a new attitude at work than at the start of a new year?

Firstly, we need to understand that under-confident people are obsessed by the impact others have on them. By becoming aware of the impact we have on others, however, we put ourselves back in control.

Here are 8 tips to boost your confidence at work…

1. Assume you’re not being exploited.
Feeling exploited is an attitude that’s hard to shift because we spend our time looking for evidence, which we usually find. Yet such feelings are corrosive because they spiral you down rather than build you up. So, whatever your role, reframe it by considering yourself a ‘work in progress’. If you feel that way now, remember that you’re working your way towards something.

2. Be conscientious.
Not working hard, possibly as a result of being under-motivated, is a one-way street in the wrong direction. It’s de-energizing – lowering your motivation, undermining your wellbeing and sapping your confidence. So do the opposite: work hard – not least because confidence is a direct result of effort.

3. Have a plan.
Plans are always motivating, although we need to think long-term – maybe even five or 10 years ahead. Of course, under-confident people can struggle to generate long-term plans they believe in, so they should generate a series of yearly milestones – each doable but each a definite step towards their long-term objective.

4. Don’t undermine yourself.
If we are over modest or self-deprecative, we can inadvertently lower others’ expectations of us. We need to be clever by not talking ourselves down, while avoiding immodesty. Over time, we’ll get noticed. And, even if we don’t, we’re still in a better place mentally.

5. Understand your company.
Intimately knowing the company or organisation you work for is vital: who runs the organisation, what is its history, what about the sector (including rivals)? And don’t forget the technicalities: you need to get under the bonnet and take an interest. Disinterest may reveal your total disregard for the sector you’re in, which is bound to sap your confidence.

6. Get yourself known.
This doesn’t mean marching upstairs and introducing yourself to the seniors. But it does mean being friendly and open to meeting people. Most organisations are networks of people, and most people are keen to know those they work with. It’s also a great use of all that information you’ve gathered – turning names into faces and departments into people.

7. Avoid ‘affected uselessness’.
Strict boundaries with respect to your job role can prevent you expanding your horizons. Too often, we demarcate ourselves – becoming reluctant to go beyond our brief because of some perceived boundary. This is especially the case with jobs we feel are beneath us, which in reality is no more than a sulky refusal to lower ourselves: a classic under-confident reaction. So we should embrace all the roles – tea making included.

8. Enjoy your job.
Scan an office and those that enjoy their job are engaged, positive, forthcoming, proactive and cheerful. They also ooze confidence: a result of their happy employment. Those that don’t enjoy their job are, conversely, distracted, defensive, pessimistic, reactive and mostly grumpy. Scratch the surface, and most also harbour insecurities regarding their competence – often masked through constantly blaming others. Being on the wrong side of this fence is soul destroying and confidence sapping, so choose enjoyment over all other considerations (including money).

Courtesy of bestselling, self-help author Robert Kelsey whose titles include What’s Stopping You Being More Confident?

 

Activists, and the hijacking of a cycleway

Bike-Security

The debate ended, rather well as it happens, and there he was: right in my face. The activist. He’d taken exception to my small contribution to our local “town hall” meeting and had made a bee-line for me as soon as the ripple of applause had dissolved into chatter and movement.

Despite the fixed smile, his eyes blazed with confrontation. My amygdala triggered, a frisson of fear ran through me: was he going to get physical, I wondered? But no, his intention was far more proselytising. Having singled me out, he was going to personally convert me. Of the 400 or so people in the hall (the vast majority on my side), I’d touched a nerve by stating that the mess Hackney Borough Council found itself in was due to the hijacking of their worthy plans by pressure-group activists.

“Have you ever been to Holland?” was his somewhat quixotic opening line. Far from holiday small-talk, he was betraying his vision for our tiny corner of Hackney – that it becomes a cyclists’ paradise free from through (or any) traffic.

It was these plans that were being debated, although it was a debate forced upon the council after it had attempted to foist the scheme on the London Fields area unawares. Yes, that’s right – unbeknown to the residents, a democratically elected council had concocted what it claimed was one of the most radical “quietways” schemes in the capital – involving up to 13 road closures within an eight-street by six-street grid of rather lovely Victorian houses, just a mile out from the City. And rather than ask residents to contribute ideas and thoughts, the council’s plan was to go straight to a full, live, “trial” of the scheme.

Without any prior consultation, the denizens of London Fields would wake up one morning in early January to find their roads blocked in 13 places by “planters” and bollards. All through routes (north-south and east-west) would be closed, with the stated aim of monitoring what happened over the next three months. One imagines North Korean villagers being afforded more consideration when finding their valley on the wrong side of a hydro-electric project.

This was the “mini-Holland” envisioned by Hackney Council, which had developed the scheme after consulting no wider than a small group of self-interested London-wide cycling groups. The only locals involved were a handful of campaigning Middleton Road residents, which just happened to be the only thoroughfare likely to benefit from the scheme (by having their lorry-blighted road converted into a cycleway).

Of course, the pressure groups thought all their Christmas’s had come at once. They’d been meeting with the council in semi-secrecy over the course of a year and now found their every need and desire catered for – and to hell with those pesky petrolhead locals.

This small cohort were also in the hall – shouting “get a bike” to stressed mums claiming the scheme meant they could no longer juggle the school run and their nine-to-five job across town. That said, the activists were now on the back-foot, hence the aggression. They were irritated by this very meeting (thinking it unnecessary); annoyed by the fact the council started the meeting with a “full and unreserved” apology for its oversight in ignoring local people (and by declaring a full 12-week consultation with every resident); and angered by a town hall meeting dominated by local residents seemingly incapable of understanding the wonders they’d plotted on our behalf.

Their plans had become public, no thanks to the council but due to the quiet determination of a single London Fields resident. Mike Hood had spotted the early semi-clandestine gatherings and suspected something was afoot. He’d even tried to join their meetings only to have the door slammed in his face. Eventually, and through persistence, he managed to trick the council into sending him their plans (this was in November), and he immediately started campaigning. The resulting petition and leafletting forced the council out of their conspiratorial corner, although their initial reaction was to offer no more than an “information session” in a room so small that 200 angry residents were left standing in the street.

Soon, more prominent local residents were attracting the wrong sort of headlines, and the Council panicked. Realising that their worthy scheme to improve the area’s cycle routes had been hijacked by a tiny group of highly-motivated activists, they went into full retreat.

 

We all love cycling

Of course, cycling in London is to be encouraged. And the councillors and officials no doubt thought they were capturing the zeitgeist by trying to reduce the impact of traffic in our small Victorian street grid. Yet – by consulting with only one group of idealogically-charged activists – they forgot that activists are single-minded lot, concerned only with their own (often narrow) agenda.

For instance – and as pointed out by individuals in the town hall meeting – this is what those nice cycling activists ignored:

  • That the road closures would add to congestion on perimeter roads, not reduce it.
  • That those perimeter roads included three infant and junior schools as well as access to London Fields itself (home to the area’s two largest playgrounds and the Lido).
  • That car journeys would be longer, not shorter (by as much as 30 minutes), because of the closures – adding to pollution not reducing it.
  • That the elderly and disabled in the area would have their mobility highly restricted by the closures.
  • That the road closures could force working school-run parents to choose between work and school.
  • That ambulance access would be restricted, not least because the ambulance station was one side of the barriers while the hospital was the other.
  • That the neighbouring ward (De Beauvoir), which had previously “benefitted” from a limited road-closure scheme was now a crime blackspot that female cyclists and walkers avoided after dark.
  • That creating cycle-only roads can increase the danger to pedestrians rather than reduce it: cyclists being a silent, often-lawless, menace for vulnerable people, particularly in London.

Every single one of the above issues could form the basis for an interest group of activists – forcing their agenda on others. The fact they didn’t was because they expected a democratically-elected body such as their local council to be aware of their needs and to take them into consideration when planning improvements to cycle-routes.

As for my own personal activist – determined to confront me for having the gall to call out their behaviour – I started to reply to his “have you ever been to Holland?” charge before one of my neighbours took him on about the difference between a “trial” and a “consultation”, which the activists (and council) had conflated (along with other semantic acrobatics such as calling road closures “filtering”). But then I realised what was happening and said to my neighbour “I wouldn’t bother if I were you – he’s an activist. He’s not going to listen”.

 

ps: Interestingly, my neighbour made probably the most sensible suggestion of the night. He had no axe to grind so listened intently to Hackney’s presentation. He noted that the Quietways initiative was Boris Johnson’s (not Hackney’s). And that the scheme didn’t require road closures at all – simply the routing of cycleways along roads with under 2000 vehicles a day. Middleton Road was currently 4500 a day (though the council/activists had inflated this to 6000 in their propaganda). Pushed by the activists, the solution had been to close Middleton Road when, as he quietly pointed out, if you moved the cycleway to any other road in the area, the vehicle count fell to just a few hundred. No other change was required, allowing the activists to create their “mini-Holland” without turning other peoples’ lives upside-down – or have I missed the point?

www.robert-kelsey.co.uk

Is Isis the ICF of Islam?

ICF

Why do I disagree with right-of-centre commentators on social issues when I tend to agree with them on economics? Perhaps it’s to do with applying our experiences to any given view, which is certainly the case when it comes to the rise of Islamically-inspired terrorism and, critically, its attraction for adolescent Muslim males brought-up in Europe’s inner cities.

Not that I have any experience of Islamic culture, but that’s the point. My experience is in disaffection – and, most acutely, in the alienation of bored, excluded youth. Let’s face it, most right wing commentators come from somewhat privileged (and certainly “insider”) backgrounds. As do most left wing commentators, come to that, but they’re not the ones claiming the problem of Islamic radicalisation is largely down to the religion itself. Having never experienced alienation, they find it difficult to accept the subordinate role religious doctrine plays in the minds of those Isis/Daesh foot-soldiers bred in the backstreets of Cardiff and Birmingham, Brussels and Stockholm.

So here’s a comparison – with the disaffected youths of my own background who became football hooligans. Being from Essex, West Ham and Tottenham split the dubious honour of their loyalty, although some of the hardest nuts in my school followed Chelsea. Come Saturday, these committed hoolies were on the Liverpool Street train ready to do battle on the terraces of Upton Park, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge.

As for the football – by which I mean the contest between two sides of 11-men in different coloured kits – it mattered, but was also incidental. I do not exaggerate when I state that they (we? – such is my “outsider” status I couldn’t even commit to being a full-on disaffected youth) were utterly committed to their respective clubs. It was life and death, or – at least – felt that way. West Ham or Spurs gave these adolescents the meaning they otherwise lacked. But the game itself was often disrupted and sometimes abandoned because of crowd trouble, which meant events on the field were secondary – and only relevant as part of the battle for tribal ascendancy.

And it was purely tribal: a collective calling penetrating deep into individual souls. Certainly, it trumped our mediocre education as a path to spiritual enrichment – not least because, as part of the exurban diaspora from East London, we lacked the spirituality of our native pastures. We’d been uprooted, hence the need for extremist displays of tribal loyalty, and hence the comparison with those alienated, second-generation Muslim immigrants in European cities.

The football stadia of our teams acted as the cathedrals of our religion. They were the grand mosques, calling the faithful from far and wide to prayer every home game. It was certainly ritualistic, as well as nonsensical to outside observers. Why travel to stand on barren terraces in the biting cold or lashing rain? Why sing about “blowing bubbles”? And why the threat of sending opposing fans – sometimes friends and neighbours – home in London ambulances?

So we have the disaffected young men, and we have the tribal cause by which they found meaning. Yet we also have the claim of just about every sensible voice within football and academia at that time (the 1970s-80s, pre Hillsborough) that the hooligan problem had nothing to do with football. Football was the conduit by which the testosterone-driven yearning for meaning and adventure within young men of limited prospects expressed itself, they claimed. As now, conservative (somewhat snobby) commentators begged to differ, saying that this was football’s problem. And that the sport must put its house in order or face the consequences. The hooligans claimed to be football fans and certainly looked and acted like football fans, they said: ergo, they were football fans, making it the problem of the sport Alan Hudson called the “working man’s ballet”.

Clubs were therefore punished for the actions of their ”supporters”, especially abroad, which – too late to prevent the damage done to the game’s reputation – forced the clubs into taking action. They initiated membership schemes and upped the security within the grounds, which – perversely – pushed the problem onto the surrounding streets and railway stations: hence West Ham’s hooligan gang naming themselves the Inter-City Firm (ICF) after their preferred mode of travel to that most holy-crusade of adventures, the away game.

In fact, mention of the ICF reveals how the nature of youthful radicalisation progresses. Just as the clubs were disowning the hooligans, the hooligans themselves were developing their own loyalties independent of the club. Indeed, the ICF was no more than a label for violent behaviour undertaken on behalf of West Ham, despite the club’s disapproval. It soon became the colours behind which most of the hooligans rallied, irrespective of any match that may or may not be taking place.

Sure, there was an inner core and some leading characters, but mainly the ICF was a brand: and one taking precedence over West Ham once the club sought to distance itself from its own “ultras” (as the Italians label their hooligan tribes). The same can be said of the Headhunters of Chelsea the Service Crew of Leeds or the Bushwackers of Millwall. Sure, the football club was relevant from a tribal perspective – but those 11 overpaid men chasing a ball on the pitch may as well have been playing tiddlywinks for all the “firms” cared.

And, as with the “firms”, so it is with Isis (and Al-Qaeda before it). Please note, Sam Harris, Douglas Murray, David Starkey et al – Islam is to Isis what football was to the ICF and the Bushwackers. It’s the conduit, the platform, the excuse. It offers a cultural context for the adrenalin-pumping adventure and tribal mayhem these bored and often alienated young men crave. The religion matters, for sure, but only as the latest vehicle for the age-old problem of disaffected young men.

So what can be done? Well, football was also slow to act – only making the radical moves to eradicate its association with hooliganism after the tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough. Even then, it would have probably missed the lessons if not for the wisdom of Lord Justice Taylor. In investigating Hillsborough he noted that, if you treat young men like animals, that’s how they’ll respond. Caging hooligans was therefore counter-productive. The culture around football had to change, which meant creating an entirely new brand for the sport. It had to go upmarket, he stated – leaving its tribal roots behind so that the hooligans no longer saw it as a relevant cultural totem for their distorted loyalties.

Eventually – thanks to Sky TV, all-seater stadia and rocketing ticket prices – that’s exactly what happened. England’s club-football brand was not only rescued but became probably the most powerful of any sport in any country: not bad for a sport on its reputational knees in the late 1980s. As for the hooligans, some are still around, of course, but they look rather ridiculous and certainly out of sync with the modern zeitgeist – like 1950s Teddy Boys at a death-metal gig.

And as for Isis/Daesh, just maybe the attacks in Paris can become a Hillsborough moment – forcing religion and radical apart. It just needs a Lord Justice Taylor to point the way.

www.robert-kelsey.co.uk

Author: The Outside Edge: How outsiders can succeed in a world made by insiders

Why outsiders make the best entrepreneurs

Snip20151128_2This article first appeared on the entrepreneurs’ news-source website minutehack.

Outsiders and misfits have the wrong traits for the formal economy, but can make excellent entrepreneurs. Yet there are dangers to avoid. By Robert Kelsey

First let’s nail the outsider. We’re those within a tribe but not of it. Uncomfortable in our own skin, we’re socially awkward – loners in the crowd or even the changelings within our own family. For whatever reason, we simply don’t fit in: we’re the unclubbables, the misfits – the ones rejected by or rejecting the colony.

At first glance, such an outlook seems unconducive for success. In fact, it looks like a disaster, not least because traits can include problems with authority, distorted empathy (in which we root for the bad guys), sensitivity, cynicism, anger and even imposter syndrome (in which we assume ourselves incapable of the role we hold).

Even at second glance, such traits are a struggle for anyone trying to navigate their way in the formal economy. Major employers are all hierarchies: something outsiders – as individualists – instinctively dislike. Too often the result for outsiders is failure, which compounds their sense of isolation and alienation. We develop a gnawing sense of marginalisation: of somehow missing out on the party everyone else is invited to. Extremism can follow, even criminality.

And yet the very traits that make outsiders so incapable of success within normal educational and occupational structures is exactly what’s required for entrepreneurship. Unleashed, outsiders can change the world – as outsider entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey and James Dyson have shown. Indeed, those traits can be turned around and presented as the very things entrepreneurs need for success:

Innovation. It’s a cliché that entrepreneurs are all innovators – many simply want to work for themselves. But it tends to be true that it’s the innovators that strike it big. They have a thirst for doing things differently, for taking concepts to the next stage.

Contrarian. Such innovation, for entrepreneurs, is often the result of a stubborn bloody-mindedness that sets them against the crowd. While most people are happy to coalesce in groupthink – and allow it to dictate their entire lives – outsiders tend to do the opposite (hence the distorted empathy). And if there’s one defining trait for a successful entrepreneur, it’s that they instinctively swim against the tide.

Creativity. Outsiders tend to be highly creative (a cause and effect of their childhood isolation), which is, of course, a major requirement for entrepreneurship – in fact, another defining characteristic. Certainly, creativity can help entrepreneurial offerings stand out from the crowd.

Individualism. If outsiders are any one thing, they are individualists. Sure, many become revolutionaries railing against what they see as a venal and exploitative economic system. But just as many see free enterprise as the very structure that liberates them from the need to conform. They simply need to find a way of making their individualism profitable.

Courage. As with successful entrepreneurs, successful outsiders possess bravery in buckets. Sure, it can come across as bravado – even recklessness – but it’s actually a willingness to take risks: a valour born from the frustrations of their tribal positioning. Indeed, if there’s a defining characteristic between successful outsiders and those that remain alienated and frustrated – its pure guts.

Not all good news

Such a close alignment between the outsider and the entrepreneur offers enormous hope to the not-insignificant proportion of the population leaving full-time education thinking that they don’t belong: usually because that’s what our overly-structured and linear education system has taught them. Yet it’s not all good news. The very traits that make outsiders suitable entrepreneurs, can lend themselves to problems further down the line.

For instance, outsiders tend to make poor managers. While able to forge their own path through creativity, determination and bravery, outsiders are essentially selfish people, which makes most successful outsiders egotists. The needs of their team are rarely considered, which – over time – can hinder their growth. So entrepreneurial outsiders need to develop managerial skills, or quickly employ someone with the sense of community, empathy and nurturing they lack.

Potentially more detrimental, however, is the outsider’s poor judgement. Our youthful alienation has rendered us incapable of making strong decisions based on meeting positive and planned future objectives. Instead, we tend towards emotional decision-making focused on our immediate, usually negative, needs – often to do with avoiding triggered fears or insecurities. Of course, much of the advice here concerns removing our emotions when making decisions, which – for outsiders – is impossible. Better to include it, but only as an equal to more positive evaluations.

And the final flaw for outsider entrepreneurs is a propensity towards sociopathy. According to Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door (2005), sociopaths have “no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members”.

Sociopaths are pathological liars and manipulators. They can be charming and even appear as empathetic team players, when they are anything but. Yet the real problem for entrepreneurial outsiders is not that sociopathic tendencies result in failure – on the contrary they can lead to spectacular success. It’s that they have no limits: eventually, the sociopath – admittedly after a period of seemingly-stupendous achievement – will overreach themselves.

Of course, when the inevitable crash comes, their numerous enemies will be happy to put the boot in. That said, constructive sociopathy can work wonders. Here, entrepreneurial outsiders set positive and constructive goals (“getting rich” being a negative goal based on overcoming our insecurities) that help entrepreneurs make better decisions that build better companies.

And, no, that doesn’t mean we’ll end up as insiders.

 

Robert Kelsey is author of The Outside Edge, How Outsiders Can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders, published by Capstone priced £9.99

He is also deputy chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurs.