Feb 282012
1-Percent Tip by Huffington Post

I came across an article where a banker left a 1% tip in defiance of “the 99%” at a restaurant. According to his dining partner, the banker “tips exactly 1% every time he feels the server does not sufficiently bow down to his Holiness.” He also makes sure to include a “tip” of his own. This “tip” was to tell the server to “get a real job.”

Clearly, there are all kinds of people in this world. But it is the dangers of pride that concerns me here. Pride can happen to anyone, not just the rich and powerful. If we allow our pride to get the better of us, our downfall is not far off.

Quick Note: Thanks to the heads up by my friend Vishnu Virtues, it seems that the receipt is a hoax. This is good to know because the server did not actually have to put up with such a nasty customer.

What is Pride?

Wikipedia defines pride as:

“A loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.”

The following definitions come from dictionary.com.


“A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”


“Offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.”

Breeding Grounds for Pride and Arrogance

To manage pride, we must be aware of the conditions where pride can grow and thrive.

1. Times of Success

Repeated success can make one proud. After all, everything is going well and it seems that you can do no wrong. Over time, pride can get the better of you by making you complacent. This is especially so if good times or times of ease follow your success.

But bad times follow good times as surely as day follows night. As tempting as it is, we cannot assume that things will always go well. Such an attitude can cause us to be unprepared to manage a sudden change in fortune.

2. Positions of Power and Responsibility

To rule is to serve. But it is easy to forget this when you hold a position of power and responsibility. Power can corrupt and pride can get the better of you. Over time, you might think that you are entitled to certain privileges because things would collapse without you. Instead of putting the interests of others first, you may end up putting your own interests first.

But the higher you climb, the more drastic your fall can be. After all, when you have reached the top, the only way left is down.

Proud by Firehawk77

The Dangers of Pride and Arrogance

Having seen the conditions where pride can grow and thrive, what then are the dangers of pride?

1. Complacency

Repeated success dulls your sharpness and makes you complacent. There is less incentive to be alert and careful with your approach and methods when things are going your way. After all, if it is not broken, why fix it?

But here lies the danger. An approach might work for one set of conditions but not another. If you become less than thorough in your plans and execution of your methods due to pride in your ability, it could lead to trouble.

2. Careless and Needless Mistakes

During times of adversity when you struggle for survival, there is no room for pride. As such, your methods, forged in the trials of hardship and necessity, are the best. You would quickly discard methods that do not work and keep those that do.

But pride can cause you to make careless and needless mistakes due to a lack of prudence. You may trust too much in your ability or underestimate the situation. As such, you may not be as thorough or as cautious as you used to be. This lack of caution can lead to a disastrous turn of events.

3. Loss of Awareness

Pride can insulate one from well-meaning advice. The last thing a proud person would want to hear is something that cuts him or her down to size. The very idea that they can be wrong or make a mistake is sacrilegious. To utter such words is blasphemy!

Proud people live high up in their ivory towers. They are unaware of all that happens in the realm of mortals. When unpleasant truths confront them, they either filter them out completely or hear and see selectively. This loss of awareness will bring about their downfall sooner than later.

4. Alienate People

One of the worst things about pride is that it can alienate people. Making boastful claims or boasting about your success, connections and power will not endear people to you. Also, it will not do your relationships any good if you hog all the credit for yourself. Such actions will only create resentment and turn people against you.

Proud people often find themselves without friends or support. This state of affairs can hardly turn out well for them.

5. Overreaching and Falling

Pride can cloud your judgement and make you lose touch with reality. As a result, you might end up striving for things that you think is possible, but in reality is beyond your reach. This could simply be a matter of a lack of caution and planning. Or it could be a matter of timing. In either case, the result is failure because of overreaching.

It is said that pride comes before a fall. This fall can be fatal if you overreach, lose your footing and fall from the height of your success and power.

Managing Pride and Arrogance

Everything in this world is impermanent and fleeting. Nothing lasts forever and fortunes change constantly. So whatever we feel proud about will one day change as all things change. What then is the basis for our pride?

While it is good and healthy to feel pride in our achievements, we should not let it get the better of us. We should not let our pride go to extremes. Instead, it pays to be moderate when it comes to feeling pride. The Universe helps the modest to prosper but brings down the arrogant.

Taking Action

Is there anything I have missed out about the dangers of pride and arrogance? What are your thoughts and feelings about pride and arrogance? Are there any redeeming qualities? Is there any room in this world for pride and arrogance? Have you ever met any proud and nasty people? How did that turn out for you?

Have you ever struggled with pride? How did it turn out? What areas of your life do you find it hardest to manage your pride? Does your pride get the better of you or are you in control? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  22 Responses to “The Dangers of Pride and Arrogance”

  1. Thanks Vizier for touching on this issue and for calling the incident what it is – a display of pride and arrogance. I saw these stories in acouple different places too and was shocked. Glad social media and the internet allows these types of stories to become public. This incident makes me upset that people would do the kind of things this banker did. But instead of turning this into a judgmental event, we should, as you suggest, turn inward and discover the pride within ourselves. These external reminders remind each one of us that we have issues, faults of our own that we can address. Looking forward to your next article (unless you’ve touched upon it before) how all of us can overcome pride and arrogance within us.

    • Hi Vishnu,

      Thanks for the heads up about the hoax. But this can still serve as an example in the study of pride and arrogance.

      In any case, it is not hard to imagine or meet people like that. There are all kinds of people in this world. We all have our reasons for behaving in a certain way at any given time. Best to observe and follow the good and to take note of and avoid the bad.

      Haha! I may just touch on how to overcome pride and arrogance in the future. Not sure what I will write or feel like writing next.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. Insightful post, Irving!

    The first thing that popped into my mind was the Proverb that says, “Pride comes before the fall”. I’ve had many experiences that have taught me that pride never pays what the we often expects from it.

    I personally struggled big time with pride in the past. It got really bad for me after I graduated high school. I believe it happened for me because growing up My mother, my two younger brothers and I rarely had much to be prideful about back then, we struggled financially and went without a lot of our wants and some of our needs more often than not. So, as soon as I graduated and joined the Navy I started attaining success, money, and material things. I can honestly admit now that I definitely let it all go to my head.

    The thing that bought me back to reality was the fact that none of the things I had pride in would ever last me very long. Like you said several time throughout the post, things constantly kept changing.

    Money would get spent just as quick as I would make it, mostly because I was constantly trying to uphold an illusion that I had it going on. The material things I would purchase would get stolen from me, destroyed, or would simply vanished into thin air. No jiving. Every time without fail, I obtained something of value that increased my pride, I would lose it shortly afterwards. It caused a light bulb to go off for me, and that light bulb helped me to see that something within me needed to change.

    The lessons I would grasp is that moderation is the key to life. It’s OK to have pride towards accomplishments, but when those accomplishments cause us to react in a way of looking down at others or treating others differently because they haven’t acquired similar pinnacles of success or items; we as human beings should take a serious step back and take self-inventory of why we’re putting more value on those things.

    For instance, I adopted pride back then because I thought that my accomplishments and successes defined me. I thought because I broke away from a life of poverty, I was suppose to think of myself more highly. And I was, but not in the highness of mind that I had taken on. I was totally off by a long shot. I learned from those experiences that when we allow such things to define us, we set ourselves up to be disappointed hugely if and when those things get taken away from us.

    When we choose not to be prideful we tell ourselves that we are enough already, and the money, material things, and success are simply accomplishments. They are nothing that should define who we are.
    Deeone Higgs recently posted..Top 10 Things to Know About the School of Hard KnocksMy Profile

    • Hi Deeone,

      Ay. Change happens all the time. Therefore we have to be careful about what we depend on to define our self-worth.

      You have certainly gained deep insights from your experiences. That in itself is great. It shows that you can master the lessons life has to offer and in so doing, prepare yourself for greater things ahead.

      Instead of being proud about what we have achieved for ourselves, I feel we would derive more satisfaction from helping others to achieve their goals as well. Helping to lift others up so that they too can enjoy a better life is richly rewarding.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. Irving,
    WOW – powerful and very good article on pride and arrogance. There is no room for pride in my realm for I live from the spirit and the world wants to overtake us with pride. A humble spirit full of gratitude is the way to peace and love.

    Pride does go before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. YES, I do agree that pride can lead to the falls but even in the falls there is another chance for us to look at ourselves and change.

    You can see the prideful people for they want the attention and the recognition and are never happy until they get it.

    In total humility,
    Nancy Shields recently posted..IS IT TIME TO GET OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE – PROCRASTINATION?My Profile

    • Hi Nancy,

      I am glad that you enjoyed my article! :)

      Indeed a humble spirit full of gratitude is the way to peace and love. What can be more meaningful than that?

      I think we will all stumble from time to time in life for various reasons. What matters is that we pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and change for the better.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Pride is something I try to be mindful of. In fact, lately, my focus is also about spiritual pride. Whether one is proud about possessions or spiritual awareness, pride is still pride and the ego needs to be managed.

    I used to get very disappointed whenever I see someone who appear to be spiritually conscious being very arrogant. Oh yes, I had a number of encounters. I have since learned to be less judgemental and know that everyone has to take his or her journey. At the same time, I remind myself to be humble and that we are essentially one.

    Thank you for your post. It is a good reminder for me to be aware about pride and arrogance. I like having constant reminders.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..12 Love Quotes For InspirationMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      You’re right. Pride is still pride and the ego needs to be managed.

      Spiritual pride can be a tricky thing especially when it manifests as a holier than thou attitude. But I agree. Everyone has their own journey to make and we each progress at our own pace in life. Who is to say what is better or right?

      Applying our standards to others may merely result in us missing the whole point for their particular circumstance.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. i became very proud, and arrogant, and prejudiced. i think that was partly why i fell. to bring me down to earth
    NOch Noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..writing poetry againMy Profile

    • Hi Noch Noch,

      I understand a little of where your pride came from since we are both Aries.

      It is easy to become proud when things are going well and we are not fully conscious of ourselves.

      Everyone falls. What matters is that we pick ourselves up and press on with more humility.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. There are two points that especially stood out for me in this article. First, the idea that to rule is to serve. That’s probably a foreign concept to many. And second, that impermanence is a natural force of life so it is more reasonable to be modest than to get stuck in arrogance. There are many great spiritual masters who would refer to themselves as an “old dog” because their humility is so great. But this again seems to be a foreign idea in these modern times. Thank you for these lessons on arrogance.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..The Joy of a Meaning-Less LifeMy Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      Yeah I can understand why “to rule is to serve” is a foreign concept to many. Power can go to anyone’s head and they might think they owe their success to themselves. But no one achieves power and success on their own. It is usually a group effort. We have to acknowledge those who have helped us on our ascent. We have to use our position and power responsibly to benefit others. Otherwise, we might find ourselves falling from grace.

      We need only look around to see nothing lasts forever. In history, empires rise and fall. In our world people become rich only to lose it all. Better to be keenly aware of changes in fortunes so that we do not lose everything due to our arrogance. Power is meant to be used to benefit others. Only then will we ensure our continued good fortune. To rule is to serve.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  7. Hi Irving,

    Oh I certainly have been prideful although hopefully not arrogant. Each time I thought I “knew who I was” and deserved things because of work I had done (degree means you should have a great paying job, for instance) or even had pride in my children’s innate intelligence or accomplishments – anything really – I got knocked right back down to the ground until I finally GOT IT. Now I am sure I have much more to learn, but so far it seems like you have to find joy in the blessings but not depend upon anything external as a measurement of self worth – because those things have nothing to do with it. I often remind myself that we are all equal, no one is better than anyone else, and everyone has a contribution to make based upon their own path and decisions.
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..In All Things Be Yourself And Never Rise To The BaitMy Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      Yeah the Universe has its way of humbling us the moment we let pride get to our heads. I too have experienced that many times myself, so I am more watchful and alert about pride today. Although there may be slips from time to time, I make sure not to stray too far.

      Any external measurement of self-worth is likely to lead to disappointment from time to time. This is the way life works since change is the only constant. Indeed it would be better to focus on the joy in blessings and to realize a blessing is just that. It is not something we can or should take for granted, neither is it a special privilege. We have to continue to keep on making the right choices as we live our lives.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  8. Hi Vizier, yes that receipt is apparently a hoax but I do want to say that tipping is not automatic – it is for a job well-done. I don’t tip waiters that don’t treat me right. And frankly, I don’t care how that comes across because that is my standard :)) and their treatment of me and my overall experience is the impetus for deserving of the tip. Tipping in the US anyway is for a job well-done and not for a crappy job. A lot of waiters forget this. I wonder whether I would have sided with the banker – minus the clever “tip” he left – if he had indeed been mistreated in the restaurant. :)
    PS: I tip generously for a job well-done too.
    Farnoosh recently posted..How to Treat Your Blog as a Business Not A HobbyMy Profile

    • Hi Farnoosh,

      I agree that tipping should be reserved for a job well-done. It is something that the servers have to earn and it makes little sense to tip if the overall experience has been less than satisfactory.

      I have encountered a fair amount of servers who have been less than satisfactory in my experience. It would have made little sense to tip them. But if a server did provide good service, then I too would be more than happy to acknowledge and reward them for this.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. Such an awareness to all. True. Pride and arrogance will never do you any good. They’ll just pull you down.. And they’re very good at it. Anyway, thanks for sharing..
    Nicole recently posted..ppi refundMy Profile

    • Hi Nicole,

      It is true. Pride and arrogance can so blind us to the world around us that they can cause our downfall in the end.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments!

  10. I was also reminded of the Bible verse about pride going before a fall. On the other hand, there is false modesty, which also doesn’t serve us. I know you are a Bruce Lee fan, as I am. When asked by an interviewer whether he was really “that good,” he replied, “If I say yes you till think I’m arrogant. If I say no, you’ll know I’m lying.”

    As for me, one of my own pride confessions is about a speech I was asked to give. I was so nervous about it. In order to handle my nerves, I tried to detach myself from the outcome. I got very philosophical about it, viewing my role as opening up to the universe and getting my ego out of the way. However, after the speech, which went very well, my first thought was about how I did such a great job! The good news is that I caught myself right away, and focused instead on a humble acceptance of the way things turned out.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..You Can Choose Happiness Despite the ObstaclesMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      I agree with you about false modesty and you have given a perfect example with Bruce Lee. Sometimes, we just have to acknowledge things as they are without making too big a fuss about it.

      I think it is good to give yourself a pat on the back about your speech. But this self-congratulatory moment should not last beyond what is necessary. It is great that you were able to catch yourself so quickly and to focus on humbly accepting the way things turned out. Few people have your detachment and humility and it is something we could all do well to emulate.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments!

    • Arrogance is a mirror of your own thutghos there is no value in that mirror. Leadership is the man who surrounds himself with wise men who disagree and listen to wise thutghos without arrogance and humbles himself enough to listen and learn. (In the absence of gender we defer to the masculine. Speaking as a woman I say this to women too)

      • Hi Stasiek,

        I agree. If we surround ourselves with people who share different views and consider their input when making important choices, we are less likely to be arrogant or to make poor choices.

        We can all learn from others if we take the time to listen.

        Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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