Pride: Overcoming the Overwhelming Tide of Emotions

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” – Emily Jane Brontë

Pride in moderation. It is perfectly normal to find delight in our achievements and in the achievements of others. But pride can be blinding: allow that sense of satisfaction to grow unchecked and it can become the debilitating disease of egoistic pleasure, where we take pride in ourselves; call it Narcissism if you will. And the most widely-known example of such unrestrained pride: Lucifer, who did not end up in a very desirable situation, I should think most of us should agree.

Thus, to heed by Lucifer’s lesson, it is necessary for us all to possess a degree of humility. But not in the modern sense of the word which is a grotesque disfiguration and the opposite of its original meaning. Instead, when we refer to possessing humility, we refer an inhibitor that stops us from getting ahead of ourselves, from allowing that pride to overrun our consciousness.

For instance, constantly reminding ourselves is that there is always someone better than us: the Chinese proverb, 一山比一山高 ( yi shan hai bi yi shan gao), which roughly translates into ‘there will always be a mountain taller than the last’ aptly encapsulates this idea. By telling ourselves this whenever we accomplish something, we can thus moderate swelling emotions.

Yet something intangible like the above can only do so much, and in the event that we are overwhelmed by our emotions, we need something tangible to keep us rooted in reality. Thus, while the past may hold many memories which we are not proud of, it is good to keep at least some relics from it, to not only serve as indications of our progress, but also to serve as reminders that we once had humbler beginnings.

Ultimately, there is a need to have an awareness that success and failure, like light and dark, while appearing to be contrasting forces, are in truth dependent on one another. One cannot exist without the other. Thus, successes are like failures: just part and parcel of life. As much as we love them, to be ruled by them is to give up our fundamental free will as our choices become dictated by them.

Extending this concept to the team level, take some time to celebrate together when your team achieves something. It works wonders for team camaraderie because there is a shared sense of achievement. However, do not let the team as a whole become complacent simply because it has faith in its achievements. That hinders progress, and can even lead to regression. Thus, be proud, but not too proud.