When I start explaining the concept of Primility to people, one of the common responses I get is:
But isn’t pride a bad thing?
Pride is a positive, powerful emotion.
You cannot and will not ever achieve anything important without pride — because you’ll never feel worthy or ready, so you’ll never even start.
But … too much pride? Yes, that’s a bad thing.
Because too much pride actually isn’t even pride anymore. It’s conceit.
And there is a huge difference. And it makes all the difference.
The literal difference
Just look at the definitions of the two words, via Google:
- Definition: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
- Used in context: “The team was bursting with pride after recording a sensational victory.”
- Synonyms include: pleasure, joy, delight, gratification, fulfillment, satisfaction, a sense of achievement.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Now look at the other one.
- Definition: excessive pride in oneself.
- Used in context: “He was puffed up with conceit.”
- Synonyms include: vanity, narcissism, conceitedness, egotism, self-admiration, self-regard.
Which of these two feelings is more likely to drive you to fulfilling your potential, working well with others to achieve sustained and meaningful results, and feeling satisfaction in your daily life?
And which of these seems likely to result in hollow victories where one person takes all the credit, and no one else really cares?
You know the answer.
The difference it will make to you
Pride is not bad. Not in and of itself. We have to stop thinking that.
Again, it’s when pride morphs into conceit that there is an issue.
- Conceited people never fulfill their potential because they think they have all the answers.
- Conceited people don’t work well with others because they want all the credit.
- Conceited people cannot feel sustained satisfaction because they are more worried about proving themselves to other people, rather than simply proving themselves … to themselves.
This is why you don’t want to be conceited, and why you must embrace pride while being extremely careful to never let it run amok inside of you.
Conceited people cannot possibly be as happy and fulfilled as the rest of us who are not. Why? Because human beings are wired to appreciate and need meaningful relationships with other people … but conceited people yearn for love and affection from others without reciprocating. How could they? They live to serve themselves.
And you’ll never guess what the antidote to conceit is …
Humility is the way
The way to keep your pride from running rampant and morphing into conceit without you even knowing it, is to be ever-mindful of staying humble.
Balance your pride with humility, and conceit is not possible.
- Humility keeps you asking questions, because you know there is so much you don’t know.
- Humility keeps you working well with others, because you know they have so much to offer.
- Humility allows you to feel deep, sustained fulfillment and satisfaction as you achieve meaningful successes because you don’t care who gets the credit, you revel in feelings of accountability to a cause greater than yourself … and you can rejoice genuinely in the shared joy of victory for all.
Without humility, pride can turn into something else and kill.
Without pride, humility just keeps you on the sideline sitting still.
The lesson, as always: embrace both, balance both, live primility, and you can do anything.
You can make all the difference in the world.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Lassi Kurkijärvi.