176. Reading Skills Comprehension: Overconfidence


Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:

1. Why does a person become overconfident? The reason lies in over assessment of his capabilities. Sometimes people over assess their competence and jump into situations that are beyond their control.

2. Napoleon Bonaparte who became Emperor of France would say that the word ‘impossible’ was common only amongst fools. The overconfident Napoleon invaded Russia in the winter of 1812. This proved to be a big disaster.

3. Overconfidence generally leads people into misadventures, endangering their chances in life. It is wisely said that any achievement is a result of two factors—one’s personal planning and support from the external world. People take into account only their planning, generally ignoring external factors. They become unable to foresee future developments. Hence, the great risk of failure.

4. Then there is the question: how can one manage overconfidence? The formula is very simple. Before taking a decision to discuss the matter with other informed people with an objective mind and when it is proved that you are about to go off the path, accept reality and say without delay, “I was wrong.”

5. Overconfidence is a flaw characterizing people who lack the virtue of modesty. Modesty makes you a realist; you become a person who is cut down to size. People of this kind become very cautious; before taking an action they assess the whole situation. They adopt a realistic approach.

6. Overconfident people live within their own thoughts. They know themselves but they are unaware of others. Living inside their own cell they are unable to make use of the experience of others. This kind of habit is highly damaging to all concerned.

7. There is a saying that the young man sees the rule and the old man sees the exception, with a slight change, I would like to say that the overconfident person sees the rule and the confident person sees the exception. Overconfident people are always at risk. It is said that taking risk is good but it must be well calculated otherwise it becomes very dangerous.

Word- Meaning: Modesty—humility, Realist—practical, Approach—strategy, risk—in danger, Assessment—evaluation, Competence—ability, proficiency, Disaster—tragedy, misadventures—mishaps, Endanger—imperil, Foresee—predict,   Flaw—defect,

1. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer any four of the following questions in about 30-40 words each:

(i) Why does a person become overconfident?

(ii) What does overconfidence generally lead people into?

(iii) How can one manage overconfidence?

(iv) What kind of person does ‘modesty’ make you?

 (v) What is the difference between the attitude of the young man and the old man towards things?

2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer any four of the following:

(i)  …………sometimes put us into hot water.

(a) Capability              (b) Overassessment      

(c) Competence          (d) Self-confidence

(ii) In order to accomplish our achievement, we should take into account our planning as well as……….

(a) external factors  (b) internal factors        

(c) our knowledge     (d) external obstacles

(iii) In para3,………..means ‘disregarding’.

(a) endangering       (b) planning                  

(c) ignoring                 (d) misadventure

(iv) ………… makes us aware of our actual capabilities:

(a) Overconfidence   (b) Flaw                      

(c) Modesty                 (d) Caution

(v) In para 5,………… the antonym of is ‘strength’.

(a) flaw                        (b) virtue                    

(c) modesty                 (d) realist


1.(i) When a person over assesses his capabilities or competence and think that he can do greater work, he becomes an overconfident person.

(ii) When people think that they can do much greater work than they are doing, they take the risk to do that but later on they find, that they lack the capability to perform the task and meet properly.

(iii) One can manage overconfidence by adopting a realistic approach. He/She should be very cautious and assess the whole situation before taking action.

(iv) Modesty makes us a realist. It prevents us from over assessing our capabilities.

(v) There is a difference of attitude in thinking between the two. The young man sees the rule and the old man sees the exception. The overconfident young man sees the rule. He is always at risk. The confident old man sees the exception.

2.(i) (b) Overassessment

(ii) (a) external factors

(iii) (c) ignoring

(iv) (c) Modesty

(v) (a) flaw

Download the above Passage Worksheet in PDF (Printable)

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