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Hubris and Humility


Techniques Self-Development Methods > Hubris and Humility

Hubris | Humility| See also


Hubris and humility are opposites. And yet they can be good bedfellows, at least in some moderated way. Finding the right balance of each can make you a more successful, liked person.


Hubris is arrogance to the point of foolhardiness. It is about pride that blinds and is often quoted as a key reason for business failure. It is too easy to feel we have to be upbeat, especially when everyone else is being so positive. Doubts can indeed be detrimental, yet they can also be appropriate. Yet they are so often suppressed by social pressure.

In a more positive light, pride can be positive when it is justified and not used as a status tool, where we seek to position ourselves as superior us to others. It is best linked to justifiable success and unasked-for praise from others.

Confidence, too, can be positive. Indeed, it can be essential. Confidence inspires confidence in others and powers success. What is important is to know the limits, where confidence turns into over-confidence, arrogance and hubris.


At the other end of the scale, humility seems a mark of a modest and likeable person. After all, nobody likes a show-off. And yet being too humble can make you unpopular too, especially when others suspect you of playing a game of holier-than-thou inverted snobbery. It can fail, too, when it stems from fear of criticism. When we and ourselves before others, they may assume this is our correct place in the social hierarchy and continue to treat us as inferior.

Humility works best when it is truly authentic. A key measure is that the person does not feel superior to others, even though they may be confident that they know the best way forward. It can also be seen in consideration for the feelings of others, even when those feelings may necessarily be impacted. It is too easy to preserve your own feelings by maintaining an emotional distance, and in doing so seeming to lack any real concern.

See also

Values, Trust, Relationships


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