On a ship, you quickly learn to always project confidence. It will be part of the feedback you receive on your first mock qualification board: “Answer like you are certain, even if you are not.” You will hear it from a department head or a second-tour mentor: “If you want your sailors to trust you, you have got to act like you are sure of yourself first.” You may encounter a more cynical thought—whispered in the bitter corners of your head or passed around among other junior officers—that after being thrust into a technical job with no specialized training, the only way to keep a scrap of credibility is to spackle over the gaps in your knowledge with the clean, bright shine of self-assuredness. Others will simply call it military bearing. Invented confidence has its perils.
Overconfidence Can Be Hazardous
By Lieutenant Michael O. D. Pruitt, U.S. Navy