“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that is above you.”
– C.S. Lewis
Pride has a deceptive appeal but is a terrible stumbling block. Much of our modern culture promotes “me as a brand”. There’s value to appreciating your own capacity. In fact, there’s an incredible importance in having an honest assessment of your limitations and abilities. Unfortunately, it’s easy to take this too far and turn a useful understanding (what is really what we would call confidence) and turn it into something ugly and manipulative: pride.
It is good to find satisfaction in your accomplishments. Even in the smaller things, there is a feeling of fulfillment when a task is completed. Have you ever worked through the morning mowing your lawn only to spend the rest of the day glancing at it out the window? Similarly, have you ever spent an hour washing your car (bike, motorcycle, transportation-of-choice) only to look for opportunities to drive it around and show off your hard work? It’s only natural to feel good about a job well done; we benefit from this, as well, as it creates incentive to continue trying. The danger, however, is when it all goes to your head.
When we focus on ourselves, we lose sight of the world around us.
Certainly, my intention is never to discourage success or passion. Likewise, I wouldn’t detract from what anyone else has managed to accomplish. Having said that, there is a caution to keep in mind: the higher you climb, the farther you might fall. This isn’t to say you should cease climbing; just be mindful and humbled by your situation lest you misstep.
All analogies aside, think of it this way: given the option, would you rather work with someone who is arrogant or someone who is humble? Far be it from me to speak for everyone, but I believe a majority of people recognize and appreciate humility. Personally, I find a person much more attractive who has incredible talent inside and yet displays no trace of conceit in their manners. Your mileage may vary, but I believe an open, appreciative, and humble attitude will get you farther.
I’ve mentioned confidence already – and for good reason. Confidence and pridefulness are often confused for each other, but they are not the same. Confidence is a very important characteristic. A person who is confident in their ability will dare to go farther, work longer, and risk more. Conversely, someone who lacks confidence is unlikely to be successful in life. Whether fair or otherwise, neither nature, nor humanity, favor self-doubt. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible to have a high level of self-confidence while still being open to suggestion and improvement. I believe this is a better goal.
Something worth thinking on: When you stop seeing yourself as having room to grow, you will stop growing. If you truly believe you are the best, you’ll never become better.
The modern, western culture has bred a generation of young people who believe they are incredibly special, but no one has taken the time to teach them how to succeed. Each person is the capacity for a miracle, but raw talent will not suffice. Greatness is a habit, success comes from hard work. Don’t let your pride be blinding – and be wary of anyone who feels similarly of themselves.
Thank you for your time.