Movie B-School: Are you confident or cocky? 6 Top (Gun) tips

3 minute read


Say hello to the sweet warmth of Summer with an epic beach volleyball scene and that big stud, Goose. Top Gun is obviously one of the top movies of all-time, mostly because of the aforementioned scene and short-stuff Tom Cruise’s award-winning acting. I think Siskel & Ebert even gave the film 5 helicopter high-fives (I think). Cruise, essential weird-o Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Kelly McGillis pull out all the stops in this tale of a legacy trying to follow his deceased father’s footsteps in the Navy. Cruise’s Maverick, of course, falls for his teacher and engages in verbal competition with Kilmer’s Iceman, and the cherry on top is an absolutely killer soundtrack of mega 80’s tunes. (Highly suggested reading soundtrack)

Maverick becomes known in the Top Gun ranks for his cockiness and absolute confidence, which isn’t really a good thing. We all know overly-confident people, and what an, ahem, pleasure they are to deal with. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we ourselves have stumbled into being this person. If there’s anything we can learn from Tom Cruise that doesn’t involve Scientology, it’s that arrogance doesn’t help in building relationships in the office. After all, in most workplaces, we rely on each other to accomplish goals and move forward, and a team member acting in their own benefit puts a hitch in that fragile ecosystem. Using Maverick as an example, let’s take a look at these tips from “How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky.”

Movie B-School: Are you confident or cocky? 6 Top (Gun) tips I North by Northwest Boise

Know your strengths

Maverick knows he’s good, which contributes to his cockiness, and makes him kind of a creep. Understanding what your strengths are is an important part of confidence, but knowing your limitations is just as important to staying grounded. This understanding brings us balance, rather than a lopsided sense of value.

Movie B-School: Are you confident or cocky? 6 Top (Gun) tips I North by Northwest Boise

Get a crew

Find your “people” at work who will be honest about your attitude. Iceman ended up being of value to Maverick, because Iceman called him out on his cockiness, and helped him realize there was more teamwork to the job than he realized. Take auditions for your personal Iceman, and be sure to choose someone who will be honest, but kind, with you and have your back.

Log your successes and failures

Although this is something I can see Mav being too cool for, the article suggests keeping notes on successes and failures. You’ll be able to look over the list when you need a boost, and it’s (again) an exercise in balance.

Movie B-School: Are you confident or cocky? 6 Top (Gun) tips I North by Northwest Boise

Be mindful and stay grounded

Mindfulness is a great art to learn, whether or not you’re dealing with over-confidence. It teaches you to slow down and be aware of your surroundings, and is very simple to practice. This article suggests setting reminders throughout the day, or you could utilize some of the great apps out there. For Chrome users, you can add the Bliss app which gently reminds you to journal, by answering questions about gratitude, stress, and other daily issues that arise. It’s simple, fast, and free. Awesome iPhone and Android apps include Headspace, Mindfully Me, Stop Breathe & Think, Calm, Zenify, Smiling Mind, and 7-Second Meditation.

Give yourself an epic confidence soundtrack

Okay, I added this one in, but it works! Find a song that makes you feel great, and withhold it for times when your confidence is low and you need a pick me up. For instance, whenever I’m driving to a networking event, I will put on “The Warrior” by Scandal. It picks me up and makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s still an incredibly goofy 80’s song, though, and helps me remember not to take things too seriously. Hint, hint…may I suggest you adopt…

**Puts on Ray-Bans**

(Images via, via, via, via)


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About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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