The Kanye Effect: How Confidence Can Fuel Success

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Why do we continue to pay attention to individuals who demonstrate such a high level of arrogance? How is it that despite our negative...

“I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.”

This is a real sentence that came out of Kanye West’s mouth during an interview with the New York Times two years ago.

You can’t deny that Kanye’s unapologetic confidence is a major contributor to his massive influence and success.

There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness, and West definitely falls right on that line.

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Without a doubt, Kanye’s method of climbing the success ladder is beginning to trend. After all, Donald Trump, although a complete egomaniac, still seems to have a fighting chance of winning the presidential election of 2016.

2016 election chart

Why do we continue to pay attention to individuals who demonstrate such a high level of arrogance? How is it that despite our negative stances and opinions towards unattractive bursts of overconfidence, that the Kanyes of the world still seem to find success?

1. A Whole Lot of Media Coverage

The thing about overconfidence is that it gets attention. People who are continuously jabbering about their “God-like” demeanors might seem ridiculous, but their preposterous self-notions get people talking. With the media taking notice of these overly self-confident figures, even more attention gets granted to them, thus more people are noticing them.

USA Today released the “Kanye-fidence” tool that generates actual quotes from Kanye West. Every single one of them is excruciatingly cocky. At one point, he even refers to himself as a God. Sure, the generator is humorous, but it also acts as a social trigger to anything Kanye related. One of the quotes mentions his song "Gold Digger," and immediately after reading that quote, I found myself humming the Gold Digger tune and then downloaded it on iTunes.

More media coverage thus leads to more social triggers of the topic or person being covered, which in turn leads to increased interest in that individual. Justin Bieber is notorious for generating a lot of buzz as well, and so is Miley Cyrus, and both of their net worths are between $150 to $200 million dollars each. 

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The infographic below depicts each of the celebrities’ net worths comparatively.

Infographic Chart on celebrity net worth

2. Repetition Reinforces Behaviour

One of the fundamental psychological principles of learning is that repetition reinforces behaviour. What this means is that the more you tell yourself something is true, the more you will believe it, and the more you will instinctively work towards ensuring it is a reality. Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight. If you tell yourself every day that you will eat more salad and consume less sugar, this should theoretically become true. The takeaway point here is that when Kanye incessantly repeats to himself (and to the rest of the world),

If you tell yourself every day that you will eat more salad and consume less sugar, this should theoretically become true. The takeaway point here is that when Kanye incessantly repeats to himself (and to the rest of the world), “For me to say I wasn’t a genius, I would just be lying to you and to myself,”  somehow makes this a reality in his own mind, as well as in the minds of many others.

3. Confidence Leads to Risk-Taking

The opposite of confidence is insecurity and anxiety. Typically speaking, those who are insecure fear confrontation, competition, and are often hesitant to take a chance or a leap of faith. Those who are confident, on the other hand have the motivation to start new things and do not fear failure- rather they learn from it. In Kanye’s case when Taylor Swift won the VMA in 2009 and he cut her off, his motivation was not to harm Taylor, but instead to speak his mind. Confident people do not fear

In Kanye’s case when Taylor Swift won the VMA in 2009 and he cut her off, his motivation was not to harm Taylor, but instead to speak his mind. Confident people do not fear saying what's at the forefront of their thoughts, nor do they fear asking questions.

In 2015, however, ET stated that Kanye approached Taylor Swift with the hopes of collaborating, thus learning from his blatant accusation that she was not deserving of her win, and in turn, empowering her for that win. After all, Kanye does believe that it is a true honor to work with himself.

Confident people are not afraid to stretch their limits and set the bar high. Kanye claiming to run for President in the 2020 elections should not be taken lightly, and considering his belief in his own ability to succeed, it’s bound to be a tight election.

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The truth is, even though Kanye can be remarkably arrogant, he is ridiculously successful. Lack of confidence, or  Kanye-fidence, results in inaction and not standing up for oneself. It results in missed chances and setting the bar too low. Every time you find yourself holding back, just ask yourself, “What would Kanye do,” and maybe you will find yourself taking more risks and battling your fears head-on. Besides, you want to be successful, don’t you? “So tell the voice inside your head to believe it”.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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