How to Prevent Arrogance from Knocking You Out

Arrogance is a trait that we both reward and punish. We admire successful people because they always win no matter what. Even if they bash their competitors in the process. When the arrogant wins — no one seems to cares about what they leave behind in the dust.

”Be successful” has become our motto. You must prove that you are superior to everyone else in every moment. That’s why arrogance is rewarded — it comes with the job of winning. However, what you leave behind is not just the people you defeated — you sacrifice your integrity. We all pay a high price for our arrogance.

Our society confuses self-confidence with being arrogant — the concepts are related but are not the same. Confidence inspires others and will help you get the job done; arrogance turns everyone off. At work, confidence can get you hired; arrogance can get you fired.

Arrogance feeds ignorance. You become over-confident or ignore what you don’t know. Your blind spots make you easy prey. The punch that you don’t see coming is the one that knocks you out.

Ancient Greek literature uses the term “hubris,” in which people think of themselves to be of a higher status than ordinary mortals. That’s the problem with arrogant people: they expect others to treat them like a god — they want to be revered.

Arrogance is a form of manipulation — one exploits others’ perceptions of oneself to avoid self-esteem from being hurt.

The essential nature of arrogance is inherently negative. However, it has a positive aspect too. Vanity is the negative outcome and pride is the positive one.

Pride is about recognizing your own good qualities. It means you neither exaggerate your abilities nor mask your vulnerabilities.

Vanity is an excessive pride. It’s the need to continually compare to others in a way that you always look superior. You excel at uncovering other people’s flaws, but not yours.

Arrogance is knowledge minus wisdom.

Celso Cukierkorn

How to Overcome Arrogance

Lack of self-compassion drives arrogance. We tend to take ourselves too seriously, that’s why we want to look better in the eyes of others. The best antidote to overcome arrogance is to treat ourselves more kindly.

Laugh at yourself. When you can poke fun at your flaws, you let go of the need to look perfect in front of other people. You don’t need to downplay yourself either. False modesty doesn’t help. Acknowledge your weak links. Feel proud of being a “work in progress.”

Admit your errors. Owning your actions makes you free. Even if that means becoming accountable for your mistakes. When you stop blaming others, you stop pretending you are better than everyone else.

Spend time with yourself. Meditate, go for a walk, write your accomplishments in a journal, or simply take some time to appreciate your own company. When you feel good being alone, the desire to be appreciated by others diminishes. Look for your own acceptance rather than others.

Be kind to yourself. If you are over-critical about your achievements, you will never feel satisfied. Take it easy. Learn to treat yourself with respect. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Be your own benchmark. Acknowledge your progress. Don’t feel you’re a failure when you fail, increase your mistake tolerance and learn from your errors.


When you stop taking yourself too seriously, you don’t need to use arrogance as a crutch anymore.

Stay alert on how you deal with self-pride. Don’t become a victim of a punch you didn’t see coming. Avoid arrogance from knocking you out.

Stay human.

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