“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
It is cold, but not cold enough for snow. It is freezing rain cold. The kind of weather that brings rain and sleet. The kind of weather that covers the road and your car with ice. Driving is hard in this weather. With experience and patience, a driver can learn to prevent the skid into the side rail or another care during a sharper turn. Although you can read about how to drive on ice, many of us have learned more from the experience of driving in icy weather than any book can teach.If you ask someone in the medical field to describe a surgeon, they may tell you that a defining characteristics of a surgeon is "arrogance". Of course this does not speak to all surgeons, but it is one of those stereotypes people have about surgeons. As a medical student I even asked a attending surgeon the question, "does the surgery residency make you an @$hole?" Okay I probably didn't use those specific words, but you get the picture. Her response was, "no, but it will amplify it if it already exists." Although the prevailing view of surgeons is that they are arrogant, my slightly biased view is that not all are arrogant, but their confidence is perceived as arrogance. I personally believe to be a surgeon it is important to have confidence; it is important to believe in your skill set and decision making ability. Who wants a wishy washy surgeon? There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. It is arrogance that can get a surgeon into trouble; it is arrogance that can make you dangerous.
I drive a Subaru. The all wheel drive that provides me with the capability to move quickly on the icy roads, but does not give me improved stopping ability. I am aware of the limitations. Unlike the 18 year old with his dads SUV who speeds past me, I am patient. My speed is tempered by my previous experiences and fluctuates based on the number of curves in the road and cars on the road.
Driving on icy roads is much more difficult than new snow or even packed snow. Driving on ice or a zero friction surface makes the ability to stop and/or maneuver very difficult. There has to be anticipation and patience. It is not a time to multi task in the car. Full attention must be given to the road. There should be no quick movements, no sudden stops, no quick turns.
What is the actual difference between arrogance and self-confidence?
- Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.‘Arrogance’ is an attitude of overbearing, proud, self-importance that shows itself in contempt or disregard for others and their opinions.
- Self-confidence: self-confidence is an attitude which allows individuals to have positive yet realistic views of themselves and their situations. Self-confident people trust their own abilities, have a general sense of control in their lives, and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they wish, plan, and expect.
In icy weather, I drive cautiously. I don't fear the weather or road, but respect it. I understand that not respecting it can lead to disaster. We have an unspoken understanding.
Self-confidence is an important trait for a surgeon to have. Having self-confidence does not mean that individuals will be able to do everything. Self-confident people have expectations that are realistic. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be positive and to accept themselves. When a surgeon is self-confident, he/she is able to look critically at their decisions and adjust based on their outcomes (good and bad). They possess the "force of character" to take ownership of both their successes and their failures. Arrogance prevents a surgeon from having the insight to correct their own errors and thus, their growth will be stunted. The acceptance of newer ideas and other's insight into a disease or procedure is key in ones growth, both as a clinician and surgeon. Having self-confidence allows for growth; having arrogance prevents growth.
I have driven many nights on icy roads. I personally don't like doing it, but I am confident in my ability to perform the task. I respect ice. I am aware the obstacles it provides. I drive confidently on the road. It is not the time for risk taking. Unlike the teenage driver, I drive respecting the road.
As I write this post, I look back at my own career and can make note of countless times were I have been wrong. Knowing how people have taken other posts, I must state that I am not immune to being arrogant. I am not perfect. I write this to because I believe that the line between arrogance and self-confidence is extremely thin. We all must remain self aware. We must be willing to continue to grow and look at ourselves as lifetime students. I continue to grow both as an educator and learner. My views are constantly being reshaped and molded. Do you have the "force of character" to do continue or do you believe you know the right answer already?
“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”
~Peter T. Mcintyre