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Thursday, September 23, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > At Lunch With | Rosabeth Moss Kanter: If at First You Don't Succeed, Believe Harder As Ms. Kanter sees it, talent, intelligence and knowledge are nice, but confidence is essential. Not arrogance or conceit, mind you: those traits lead people to be complacent, or to overshoot. But she believes that someone with confidence, defined as a belief that persistence and hard work will yield results, will win out most every time over equally talented but insecure people.

Ms. Kanter, who is a consultant and Harvard Business School professor when she's not writing books - "Confidence'' is her 16th - parses the idea even further. She believes that self-confidence is less important than confidence that things will work out, and that the most lasting form of confidence is often not self-generated, but nurtured by others. She posits that sports teams win because coaches instill a belief that they will, and that children succeed when parents and schools create an environment that encourages them to do their best.

"Confidence is contagious, but so is failure,'' she said. "Even the Yankees will lose if you persuade them that they will.''

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