Arrogance of any kind is never healthy. It blindsides and destroys. It is easy to look at how other people live their lives, the decisions they make and think, “That could never be me…” Or, “I could never be that dumb or depraved…” At a safe distance from the crucible it s easy to think you are immune from failure or challenge. I thought I’d echo the words a friend said to me, “… you are not as immune as you think…”
Life and leadership are not without trials. Different circumstances affect people in varied ways. One can never fully know everything when you see others fail. How we view or process others’ failure to respond to challenges says a lot about us.
We need to learn from others’ mistakes while steering away from judgment. You can get so focused on judgment we lose sight of lessons. (Sometimes it is people you look up to, that will let you down.)
As you critique, review, or comment, remember: it is nothing but pride to assume immunity on your part. Have you considered: could those you critique have thought the same. Is it possible there’s a day they declared it could never be them or that they could never do x, y, z…?
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall – Solomon
For both life and leadership, humility is necessary. It is what keeps us vigilant. It encourages us tread carefully. This is not a taking away of self-confidence, but a healthy caution. It is not being risk-averse but putting in measures that protect you from taking unnecessary risk.
Humility is a guardrail
Humility makes us candidates for counsel. As the wise king also said, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success”. Counsel can help steer us around our blind spots. When the only counsel you heed is your own, your demise is near.
PS: Don’t mistake self-pity for humility.
Humility makes room for admitting failure and mistakes. This makes for faster course correction. Pride will more concerned about image and saving face and less about progress. Humility puts the mission first.
As you reflect on the shortcomings you observe on those who ‘fail’, remember: you are not as immune as you think. Humility is the necessary vaccine and guardrail.