May 8, 1990


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A few years ago I attended a neighbor meeting to start a baseball league for dads and their boys. A former college baseball stud had the vision and the plan to launch a small league that would help dads spend time with their boys and allow neighbors to get to know each other. I was invited to the information meeting to talk through the idea. About a dozen dads showed up. The meeting was going fine until a spirit took over.

Dads began to get their competitive juices going and there was a little physical and verbal strutting taking place in Bill’s living room. And then finally someone played the in-house umpire and called a foul. Bill regained control of the floor and said, “Fellows, fellows…. This is not about you! It is about your boy. Can we restart the meeting and get them in the middle of the circle instead?”

It’s not about me. Boy, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

There is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.—Benjamin Franklin

The question always arises. Is all pride bad? No. There can be a good side to this dangerous muscle. But even the good expression can suddenly get sucked down the pipe of the dark spirit of pride.

When a young girl stands up for her convictions and says no to immorality because she has pride in herself we would all stand and applaud her. At least every dad I know would. When an employee decides to go the extra mile and redo the presentation because it just doesn’t meet the standard of the company and his pride in the excellent standard his company has drives him, we all say terrific. Give that person a bonus.

The man who does not take pride in his own performance performs nothing in which to take pride.– Thomas J. Watson-

But that is not what we are talking about when we talk about the temptation of pride. We are talking about the spirit and the energy we all have to make life rotate around our world and us.

Pride goes bad is when it gobbles up all the attention and doesn’t share the praise and recognition around the office.
Pride goes bad when it really thinks you did it all by yourself with no help from anyone.
Pride goes bad when it practices the “invented here” mentality
Pride goes bad when it look down in arrogance on others for any reason
Pride goes bad when it takes credit where credit isn’t due.
Pride goes bad when it takes the focus off the person in need.
Pride goes bad when it looks out for number one all the time.
Pride goes bad when it showers praise on others (often ostentatiously) and primarily in hopes that its kindness will be noticed and is itself praised

Nineteenth-century writer and art critic John Ruskin asserted, “Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.”

What is it about pride that is so negative? Professor, writer, and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis offered a perspective on pride with great insight. He believed that pride leads to every other vice. He remarked,
Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me?…” The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise…. Now what you want to get clear is that pride is essentially competitive, is competitive by its very nature, while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident.

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.—C.S. Lewis

We say that people are proud of being richer, or more clever, or better looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.

At the heart of pride is competition and comparison. In our pride we strive to be better than our neighbor. How can people treat others as they want to be treated if their preoccupation is to beat them? They can’t. In fact, if your goal is to be richer, smarter, or better looking than everyone else, your focus is entirely on yourself and your self interests. Pride can blind you – to your own faults, to other people’s needs, and to ethical pitfalls that lie in your path.

1. Who or what is the central focus of your life?

2.What is the difference in pride and confidence?

3. Which of the following pictures most accurately represents you?

Organization Self

Others Organization

Self Others

4. What is the main conflict between pride and the Golden Rule?

5. How can removing the focus from self benefit you?

6. How much time do you spend comparing yourself to others?

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