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Updated: Nov 5, 2021

The Jamaican spiritual leader Mooji said In the land of "I know," there is always competitiveness, jealousy, pretence, pride and arrogance. It is an aggressive realm - the realm of the ego. I say refuse citizenship. In the land of "I don’t know," the inhabitants move without conflict and are naturally quiet, happy and peaceful. The wise stay here.

Today’s show is a good bit longer than those you’ll hear in the rest of the season as it was prepped for season 4 but I hope you will find it interesting and enlightening.

They say that pride comes before a fall and that arrogance is the OBSTRUCTION of wisdom - and it’s with these old adages in mind that I will be looking today at how PRIDE and ARROGANCE can affect our productivity and limit our success and our happiness.

Everyone's definition of these traits is likely to be quite different but the Merriam-Webster online dictionary states that arrogance means “exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance, often by an overbearing manner” and that pride has two sides to it in the context in which I raise it today. A: inordinate self-esteem : which can become CONCEIT, that is excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue and B: a reasonable or justifiable self-respect. says that perhaps, one of the hardest things to recognize in ourselves is our pride. It can lead us to be only concerned with ourselves, seek recognition to exalt ourselves, and speak constantly without listening. Arrogant people too, are always preoccupied with their ego, and possibly, you’re struggling with the same trait.

Let’s face it, it’s far easier to see the negative traits which I am talking about today in other people, than in yourself - and to be entirely honest I think that the sort of people that seek out podcasts like this are far less likely to suffer from these issues than those who don’t. Arrogant people don’t need a podcast offering them advice because they already know it all. I think that this is a topic worth exploring though and I’ll preface what is about to come of course by saying that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be proud of what you have achieved.

Success is a process for all of us, and as long as you are making consistent progress towards your goals - sincerely giving your best effort more often than not - then you are already successful and deserve to feel proud of yourself. Hal Elrod

One of the cornerstones of productivity for me, after studying the topic and creating this show for two years, is self analysis. I believe that if you can’t honestly assess your situation, your actions and your behavior and then independently and honestly assess the results which you are getting as you try to achieve your goals then you will never know where your weaknesses lie.

Napoleon Hill pointed something out in season 3 mini series on the LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS and it’s stuck it my mind. He said that you are more likely to discover your weaknesses when raised in argument with someone who dislikes you, and enemy for want of a better word, than you are to hear about your weaknesses or problems from a friend. So what I’m saying is that the value of true and honest self-analysis can’t be understated. It’s a skill you should work on whenever you can. I realise that this may be asking for trouble from your inner critic but if you can get past that, it is an invaluable skill.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. John C. Maxwell

Over the years I’ve worked with several people who were incredibly egotistic, arrogant and overbearing, but who, most of the time, disguised it pretty well. I recognized that they were a bit of a dick pretty quickly, which is something I can forgive if I believe that someone is honest and decent in general or if they have great talent. I don’t believe that they were really evil people, just people who felt they had to boost their own self esteem by ordering others about and browbeating them into doing their will.

One in particular had honed his “humble” routine quite well and largely he got away with it; up until the point where people just had enough of him however and inevitably cut him out of their lives. I must say here that when you move away from someone like that you very quickly appreciate every day that they are NOT about and how easy life is without them. If you know someone in your life who is like that, then take a clear assessment of your relationship and decide if it’s really worth it – as here’s the thing…

When you eventually part ways with people like this you will very quickly hear from others who wondered why you put up with them for so long. Others, who are so unhappy about them that they go out of their way to do them damage, and that’s what truly arrogant and egotistic people don’t see. That many of the difficulties that they face are coming right back at them from the bad will which they have generated as they slice through life taking others down as they go. They are building walls every day which, as life goes on, they have to continually climb over, where their former respectful and decent colleagues do not. This is in effect a playing out of THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS, where the benefits gained by them using this tactic become less and less as time goes on than the amount of energy invested. They’re just so egotistic that they can’t figure that one out.

The truest characters of IGNORANCE are VANITY and PRIDE and ARROGANCE. Samuel Butler

In an article for Psychology Today Guy Winch Ph.D. asks “What distinguishes between people who feel confidence and pride from those who are boastful and arrogant?”

Just as the dictionary description did earlier Guy breaks his definition down into two sides. He says that AUTHENTIC PRIDE arises when we feel good about ourselves, confident, and productive, and is related to socially-desirable personality traits such as being agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable. On the other hand however he explains that HUBRISTIC PRIDE, otherwise known as EXCESSIVE PRIDE tends to involve egotism and arrogance, and is related to socially undesirable traits such as being disagreeable, aggressive, having low or brittle self-esteem—and being prone to shame.

American author, speaker, and pastor John Calvin Maxwell wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership explains the same thing as follows.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. I’d describe that as the feeling of pride you have when your child wins an award at school, or heck, when YOU win an award for some creative endeavour or act of bravery. So we can several different facets to good pride – We have self-pride, pride for someone else who has made you proud or even the military, or team or LGBTQ type of pride, where individuals share their identities and show how 'proud' they are with themselves and their group. 'Bad pride' is the opposite of all of these – It’s the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. It is directed inwardly to themselves and it is egotistic, excessive, aggressive and overbearing.

The association of shame to excessive pride was scientifically proven in 2007 in a study done by the association for psychological science: It details the matter as follows: When they studied people with tendencies toward one or the other form of pride, they found that they had very different personalities. People exhibiting authentic pride were more likely to score high on extraversion, agreeableness, genuine self-esteem and conscientiousness—all adaptive, appealing traits.

But those exhibiting hubristic pride were narcissistic and prone to shame. Further, they found that people who felt positive, achievement-oriented feelings of pride VIEWED HARD WORK AS THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN LIFE, whereas those with excessive pride tended to view success as predetermined, the luck of the draw. Guess which group was more engaged in life? The scientists behind this speculated that excessive pride or self-confidence might have been a social “short cut,” a way of tricking others into paying respect when it wasn’t earned. Those who couldn’t earn respect the old-fashioned way figured out how to look and act accomplished in order to gain status. Social cheaters puffed themselves up because deep down they didn't have what it took to succeed in their world. Whatever respect they got would have been fleeting, of course, as it is today.

Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right. Ezra Taft Benson

And that brings me on to a 3rd definition which I should touch upon before moving on and that is FALSE PRIDE. describes it as An exaggeratedly high or pretentious opinion of oneself, one's abilities, or one's circumstance that is not based on any real achievement or success. For example such and such a person “goes on and on about his brilliant filmmaking skills, but it's just false pride if you ask me—as he's still editing his first film and has been for the last 3 years!” No that’s not a dig at any filmmaker in particular btw, calm down you lot – it’s only a podcast.

And I highlight false pride as I come across fakers very often in my industry, and I find that some people really begin to believe their own hype sometimes in order for them to feel successful in their career, or within their families, friends or work group.

The essential productivity skill of self-analysis that I spoke of earlier, and your analysis of others truths or lies is a vital one, as you must be able to identify within yourself if you are bullshitting or not, as the bullshitter somewhere down the line will be asked to prove their case, and if they can’t their reputation quickly becomes that of the faker, or the liar. Do any of you want to become known for that? I mentioned before that I don’t mind the fake it till you make it strategy which people often implement at all, it’s really not a bad tactic if truth be told, but only if on some level you have an awareness of what you are doing and don’t start to truly believe your own hype.

As you go through life you also need to assess if other people’s work is truthfully as good as they present it to be or if they are just spinning you a yarn that they have begun to believe themselves. Believe me, I can list several people right now who are actively spreading lies about their body of work in order to win favor or convince others to part with money. You don’t want to get caught up with these people. They are a complete waste of time and effort. Right now I can point to two people in Scotland who use my name to gain favor, and I’m getting bloody sick of it, so please if anyone drops my name with you, get in touch for verification.

Desmond Tutu once said that Arrogance really comes from insecurity, and in the end our feeling that we are BIGGER than others is really the flip side of our feeling that we are SMALLER than others.

I think it’s fair to say I think that someone who is arrogant is someone who is likely quite desperate to make themselves feel better at the cost of another’s feelings, or time or effort but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who comes across as arrogant is inherently bad or deliberately nasty or hateful either; We might all occasionally come across as arrogant when we are in a situation in which we have little control and are trying to make our mark, or when we are so passionate about a thing and our nerves get the better of us, leading to us to talk about ourselves when we should be, as suggested in the previous two episodes, interested in others. This might occur in a job interview for example.

Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere. Paulo Coelho

So I think I’ve covered enough of the definitions now but let me ask a new question. How can we control pride and overcome arrogance?

The Limitless Life YouTube channel has a video called You May Have To Sacrifice Your Pride To Achieve Success in which the presenter explains that his car had been damaged but that he is going to sacrifice his pride, in wanting to have it fixed or replaced but not doing so, in favour of him achieving his larger goals. He said that he doesn’t want to be distracted by having another car payment and having to spend more money as one of his goals is to get out of debt, to put money into the business and to be able to keep doing his videos and if he was to start adding new car expenses he wouldn’t be able to do that.

He explains that SACRIFICE is giving up something of a lower nature for something of a higher nature. He is giving up something of a lower nature he says - a newer car – in favour of something of a higher nature - pursuing his dreams and goals.

So it is possible, if you can engage in higher level thinking head on this topic to take control of the traits of Pride and Arrogance. Here are a few tips from that will help you to do this.

1. There are questions you may ask to yourself in order to identify the cause of your pride like “How often do I admit I am wrong?”, ” Why do I want others to see or hear me?”, or “Why do I have to talk about myself and my opinions so much to other people?”.

2. Rationalize and justify your prideful thoughts. Sometimes, you just have to shut up, swallow your pride and accept that you are wrong because it’s part of growing up. Try to compare your prideful thoughts to reality, and then balance things. This is part of the honest self-analysis I mentioned before. One of the greatest things I have learned when working professionally is knowing when to shut up. My opinion is not always relevant. You need to realise that yours may not always be relevant either.

3. Seek feedback from people you trust, to make sure that you are doing right for other people. Accept criticisms and learn from it. It is a common mistake doing everything on your own but you also need to seek feedback and use it to improve yourself.

4. Share credit and build others up. Recognize the contributions of other people; because once you build others up and share credit, it will cause others to want to work with you again.

5. Admit your own mistakes. This may be tough but if you want to overcome your pride and arrogance, you need to cope with them. By simply admitting your mistakes, it lowers your pride and you take responsibility for your failure. Remember that, you can learn from your mistakes if you are not denying them. Now I have to add here that admitting your mistakes in my line of work also marks you as professional. I had a big problem last year with someone who lied about their mistake and tried to pin it on me. This didn’t work out well for them as everyone knew me and my work and now they are known as a liar. It’s not about the blame game, it’s about honesty and respect.

6. Be courteous to others. Let go of your arrogance and boastfulness. Learn to genuinely respect the opinion of other people and know how to accept criticism. This is one of the rules by which I live my life, but it is becoming less common these days.

7. If you really want to overcome arrogance, be modest. You will only look stupid if you praise yourself and boast about your achievements in life. Set aside the attitude of focusing to yourself even when worried about what other think. Don’t be egotistic, but instead learn how to think of other people’s feeling towards you. If you hear yourself inside saying “I” a lot you may be heading in this direction.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

8. Be optimistic. Your negative thoughts will lead you to negative behaviour. Optimistic people tend to anticipate the best possible outcome in any situations.

9. Be an active listener. Instead of just thinking about yourself, try to listen to other people as well. Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. Listen, in order to understand and learn. Your ears were made for a purpose, so you better use them. Moreover, listening is a skill you can all benefit from improving. I refer you to the Dale Carnegie quote I mentioned a minute ago.

10. Many people don’t realize what awaits them, if they just let go of these attitude and move forward. Instead of looking at yourself as “wise in your own eyes”, let yourself be humble and willing to learn from other people.

How to Win Friends and Influence People has a ton of other great quotes on this topic so if you fancy getting to grips with this a little bit more directly, go grab yourself a copy.

Be proud of yourself folks and constantly work on being the best version of yourself you can be. Never cross the line to arrogance by thinking somebody else to be less important than you are just because they might be doing a ‘seemingly’ less important task.

Always remember the Golden Rule and Treat others as you'd want them to treat you. If you live your life by that rule, then arrogance and pride will have to take a back seat.

Thanks for joining me here again today and investing in yourself. If you have enjoyed the show I would be incredibly grateful if you would take the time to leave a rating or a review on whatever app you use to listen to podcasts. It’s the one thing that really bumps this show up in the rankings. Next week I’m going back to my shorter style of episodes for this season and I’ll be discussing a business premise known as THE LABOR ILLUSION.

I’ll end now with a few words from Jane Austen who wrote - Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.

Now, take control of your own destiny, get working on your sense of urgency, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!

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