Comportment, Conduct, Confidence and Competence

Pat Riley

Established member
794 178
Just before I left me last locale, we had an intellectual kickaround (I always use a stunt double for this sort of stuff) and the subject of "the stuff of traders" came up.

I don't have any exposure to the retail side, not even from an institutional perspective, so would be genuinely interested to find out if you guys, who I assume are predominantly retail, have a similar view as to the 'stuff' of real traders as we did. What surprised me was that we ended up getting a fairly convincing consensus.

Of the four qualities of this thread's subject: Comportment, Conduct, Confidence, Competence, which if any, do you believe:-

1. if possessed initially in isolation would most likely lead to the development of the others

2. if absent, would not materially negatively impact development of the others

3. if all were completely absent in their entirety, but desired, would be the easiest to acquire

4. is the most useful, if you could only ever have one

A bit of rationale to support ya conclusions would be nice, but not mandatory as I'm interested for me own sake and this isn't a test.
 

Pat Riley

Established member
794 178
Well this was a right old barnstormer of a thread now, wasn't it. There was I thinking you’d all enjoy a bit of the old highbrow stuff or maybe it isn’t and it’s me just thinking it is.

Before I close the door on this thread and turn the key in the lock for the very last time I'll let ya know where we ended up with it all. Even though based on apparent interest, there is none, ya never know. A socio-archaeologist a thousand years from now might be ploughing through this stuff and find this and realise there were a few all that time back who were able to go meta without a parachute.

Before I state our eventual consensus on the four questions asked let me add a few bits. We thought all but competence could be faked. We all came into the discussion thinking intuitively competence would be top of the pile. With that, you could do anything (or at least one thing) well enough and not really need any of the others. Then we thought about all the people we know who we considered to competent, experts in their field. There were very few of them that any of us wanted to spend any time with over that which we occasionally had ta. Either unpleasant or overbearing or obnoxious or negative of egocentric or arrogant or any combination of those. Not all of them of course, but enough to be statistically significant. While being competent shouldn’t be considered a negative quality, those that were considered extremely (excessively?) competent were viewed negatively as individuals – though vital to their areas of competence and those dependent upon it and them. We ended up deciding competence is one of those things you want and want in as many areas as you can get it, but so much that you become head nerd or an uber dweeb.

We then turned our attention to comportment. We ended up feeling this was the bad boy of the bunch in that comportment was ALL fakery and that people who comported themselves did so with full consciousness of the fakery and did so to make up for an actual or imagined deficiency in genuine self-esteem. It carried no benefit for those witnessing it and for those witnessing it and with the wit to see it for what it is, signaled the very opposite of what the bearer intended.

Confidence can be faked, but genuine confidence comes through competence and does not drive any of the others. We felt it important to state that lack of confidence was not seen as a drawback, but more as a passive acceptance that a competent performance is enough. Further, that most consider lack of confidence to mean less than confident. We considered that the position on confidence warranted a third state, that of negative confidence. This is when nervous, worried people obsess and get angst over things. This isn’t lack of confidence (i.e. flat, emotionless, passive acceptance of a competent performance) but a real deficit of confidence. Those being defined as over confident tended toward the comportment end of the scale and we considered dubious.

And then to conduct. Those who conduct themselves well, as opposed to mere comportment, tend to attract people. They become natural leaders if not in official title then they end up becoming so so de facto. This is no surprise when you consider the root of the word is, to lead. You don’t need to be an expert or even that competent in an area if you have the ability to lead those that are. You don’t need to show an over-abundance of confidence to impress people, indeed as I said above, that can often work against the over confident. Genuine leaders do not need to show how confident they are, they just are. But they conduct themselves in a way which draws others to them and others want to be around them. They are largely self-deprecating, humble yet intelligent and typically fun to be around. These people seem to draw out the best in the rest of us and assist us to becoming even more than we already are. To go about your business and your leisure in a way as to benefit others as much as yourself. Acquiring only so much competence as is needed to ensure you can contribute usefully in a wide area of endeavours and enterprise. We ended up acknowledging the need for specialists in any and every field, but if we could choose, we’d prefer to lead by proper conduct, all of those specialists into meeting goals which benefit the widest group possible. We don’t think this can be faked as it’s an unconscious awareness of the existence of the state that exists in someone else, you can never be aware of it in yourself or play act it in the hope of acquiring it as that’s mere comportment. You’ve either got it or you haven’t and we don’t know where you get it, but we were all glad we all of us discussing it had it in such glorious abundance…

So here’s how we ended up:-


1. if possessed initially in isolation would most likely lead to the development of the others
Conduct we thought would more than any of the others potentially lead to development of the others, but even if it didn’t, you wouldn’t care too much and ya wouldn’t even be thinking that way anyway.

2. if absent, would not materially negatively impact development of the others
Comportment we though you could lock away in the attic and you’d not be any the worse for that.

3. if all were completely absent in their entirety, but desired, would be the easiest to acquire
Competence we felt would be the easiest to acquire providing there was sufficient passion and motivation to do so lacking all of the others, but that enough was better than too much for a well-rounded personality and lifestyle.

4. is the most useful, if you could only ever have one
And again conduct we felt would be the quality of choice if you could only ever have one while acknowledging that its acquisition was a matter of fate rather than design.
 
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