Once there was a man who received a promotion to become the Vice-President of his company. He was so proud of his hard work paying off, as he should be, but let it go to his head. For weeks and weeks he would brag to everyone he was now a VP. This finally came to an end when his embarrassed wife said, “Hey Mark, it’s not as big of a deal as you think it is. Everyone’s a Vice-President these days. They even a have a VP of peas down at the Supermarket.”
Down and dejected, Mark called the local supermarket and asked if he could talk to the Vice-President of peas. The person on the other end of the line said, “of fresh or frozen.”
Mark suffered from pride and at the end of the story was greatly humbled. How can one suffer from pride? Isn’t pride a good thing? You mean pride can be bad?
Yes, pride is both good and bad. Let’s discuss.
What is good pride?
A sense of good pride comes from hard work, dedication, and responsibility. This sense of pride comes from maximum effort. Here the individual understands effort is more important than talent. And through this effort pride is born.
“Good men prefer to be accountable.”
When individuals give maximum effort they take ownership of their behavior and their life. They don’t let someone else take the wheel. Developing this sense of pride does not come from an individual effort. In fact, it’s more prevalent in team endeavors. Pride comes from contributing to a group effort and helping team members succeed.
Those with a good sense of pride respect all and fear no one. They know there is no need to tear down the opposition or competition. If one truly has a good sense of pride they have tunnel vision. They put the blinders on to the competition and solely focus on what they can control to become the best they can be.
Recently I heard Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) say, “I want to build the best and biggest building in town, but I’m not going to, nor do I want to tear yours down.” You can want to be the best without wishing ill will towards others. That is what good pride looks like.
What is bad pride?
Most often we associate bad pride with arrogance and entitlement. But I also think apathy plays a big role here as well. I see this as people going through life with a hand out instead of their head up. They lack internal drive and motivation. Excuses are common and have been allowed by loved ones. Here we see a real dependency on others well into the adult years.
“Excuses are the nails used to build the house of failure.”
This is a form of bad pride because it’s the absence of pride. If one truly has a sense of good pride, they wouldn’t look for handouts, or continually expect other adults to do things for them. Along with this comes entitlement. Here we see people who expect rewards without working for them. This is where we see arrogance rear it’s ugly head.
Those with bad pride are also fair-weather individuals. Their sense of worth and pride rises with the wind. When they’re winning everything is great and their chest is out. When things are bad and they’re losing, they hide from the public. They lose their sense of pride as fast as they gain it. These are the type of individuals who focus more on the outcome rather than the process.
Real World Example
This past week NBA legend Tim Duncan retired after an outstanding 19-year career. Tim Duncan is a man, and was a player, who truly exemplified the right kind of pride. He was never one to brag or draw attention to himself. Yet he was supremely confident. His presence made everyone around him better.
“If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, it’d be Timmy.”
~Coach Gregg Popovich
He was never arrogant and his humble demeanor made a lasting impact on both teammates and opponents. After reading several articles on Duncan, this story stands out. During a game against a young opponent, Duncan gave his opponent advice. After blocking his shot and running to the other end of the floor Duncan told his opponent, “That’s a nice move but you need to get into my body so I can’t get to you and block it.” He didn’t follow that with an insult or trash talk. The sincerity of the remark caught the young opponent off guard. The next time he got the ball, he tried Duncan’s suggestion, and it worked. Duncan said, “There you go, nice job.”
Tim Duncan was a five-time champion, and of the best power forwards to ever play the game. His play did the talking. He worked hard and treated others with respect. He had pride but was not too proud. He showed us all what good pride is all about.
Pride is not about being “better than”, it’s about being the “best you can be.”
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.