There’s a blurry line between pride and arrogance, but there are a few ways you can avoid the trap of arrogance. When you’re judging your own value, avoid looking at intrinsic talent and instead focus on effort.
Park your pride car on Effort Street. Photo by secretlondon123.
As author Jessica Tracy writes in her book Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success, you can control your effort, and there are positive reasons to be proud of that effort. However, some people come with natural advantages that are hard to quantify. You may not even realise the advantages you have. If you base your pride on how great you are, rather than how hard you work, you can quickly fall into the trap of arrogance:
This difference — between feeling pride for reasons that are controllable and action-based, as opposed to reasons that are uncontrollable and identity-based — seems to be crucial to the psychological distinction between the two prides. Authentic pride is the emotional response to successes that are hard won and that people know occurred as a result of their own efforts. Hubristic pride is the emotional response to successes that are perceived as less effortful and thus less controllable, events that, people believe, occurred simply because of who they are. No wonder authentic pride is associated with feelings of achievement and accomplishment while hubristic pride is linked to egotism and arrogance. If you think you succeeded because of your hard work, you should feel confident, productive, and accomplished. And if you believe you succeeded because of who you are, well, then it makes sense that you’d feel pretty great about yourself in a manner that could be described as conceited or smug.
Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t ever acknowledge your talents or the hard work you’ve done in the past. However, if you’re coasting along because you had success early or you were born into a successful family, allow yourself to acknowledge that. Focus instead on what you can do to improve your work.
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