We admire successful people because they always win no matter what. Even if they bash their competitors in the process. When the arrogant wins — no one seems to cares about what they leave behind in the dust.
”Be successful” has become our motto. You must prove that you are superior to everyone else in every moment. That’s why arrogance is rewarded — it comes with the job of winning. However, what you leave behind is not just the people you defeated — you sacrifice your integrity. We all pay a high price for our arrogance.
Ancient Greek literature uses the term “hubris,” in which people think of themselves to be of a higher status than ordinary mortals. That’s the problem with arrogant people: they expect others to treat them like a god — they want to be revered.
Being arrogant is not an exclusive trait of those who have power or hold higher positions. Arrogance is a drug that can boost anyone’s confidence. It can make someone feels like a god if they lack self-awareness.
Arrogance reflects an interpersonal quality: the desire to overpower others. The opposite is affiliation — the desire to get along with other folks. Arrogant people are respected for their accomplishments, but not liked. Being over-confident won’t get you many friends. That’s one of the many punches arrogant people don’t see coming.
People high on the arrogance trait are drawn to dominant-related words or images. They are on the lookout for anything that will help them get ahead. Once a situation triggers their desire for power, the arrogant will work even harder to bash its competition.
Authentic pride is when you feel confident, productive, and good about who you are. Hubristic pride is when egocentrism and arrogance take over. The latter is associated with aggressive behaviors, while the first is driven by affiliation — you see others as a group you want to belong to, not your competition.
That’s why our definition of success is falling to pieces, as I wrote here. When your goals are externally-driven — rather than internally — you look for approval. You want to conquer others — either by defeating them or getting their full attention. Instead of focusing on what’s good for you, your measure of success requires gaining other’s acknowledgment.
The most arrogant people don’t want to listen to others. They believe that other people are not up to their level. That’s why the arrogant likes to feel right and thinks that their opponents are ignorant and worthless.
Lack of self-confidence drives arrogance. We tend to take ourselves too seriously, that’s why we want to look better in the eyes of others. The best antidote to overcome arrogance is to treat ourselves more kindly.
Laugh at yourself. When you can poke fun at your flaws, you let go of the need to look perfect in front of other people. You don’t need to downplay yourself either. False modesty doesn’t help. Acknowledge your weak links. Feel proud of being a “work in progress.”
Spend time with yourself. Meditate, go for a walk, write your accomplishments in a journal, or simply take some time to appreciate your own company. When you feel good being alone, the desire to be appreciated by others diminishes. Look for your own acceptance rather than others.
Be kind to yourself. If you are over-critical about your achievements, you will never feel satisfied. Take it easy. Learn to treat yourself with respect. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Be your own benchmark. Acknowledge your progress. Don’t feel a failure when you fail, learn from your mistakes.
Stop trying to be right. There’s no one truth. Every time I say this, many people get upset. They write back and say that I’m wrong, and want to impose their truth — they have “the answer,” they tell me. I don’t judge them. It just keeps me aware of not playing a game that no one wins.
Life is a journey of never-ending discovery. Take science for example. Scientists love making discoveries and prove former theories wrong — until another scientist comes and outsmart them. And the cycle goes on and on.
Authentic pride means understanding who you are and what you are worth. You don’t need to pretend to be more than you are. You don’t need to bash your competitors to be successful either. Appreciate your true-self.