A Critical Doer works as hard to develop strength of character as strength of talent
I know what you’re thinking…I got the passage from Proverbs all wrong. The correct version is “pride goes before a fall.” Far be it from me to argue with Proverbs…it’s not wrong, but for sure we interpret it dead wrong.
To explain the rationale, I’m going to borrow a term from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas…”prime mover.” The prime mover, according to the two philosophers, is the force which set everything else in the universe into motion. In any human endeavor, there has to be a prime mover that serves as the intellectual basis of belief that a particular task is achievable. The manifestation is confidence, but the prime mover is pride.
The part that leads to misinterpretation of the Proverb is the definition of pride. In context, what we’re really referring to is arrogance. Arrogance is a sense of self-worth that is generated from within and projected outward. Its value is arbitrarily assigned inside your own mind and its purpose is self-serving. Since the value is based upon an illusion, it dissipates rapidly under stress since it’s there to mainly mask insecurity.
Pride on the other hand comes from outside and works inward. Hard work, repetition, perseverance…are all demonstrated measures of performance that have a very real value. Because the source of pride is from something earned, its value is real and stands the test of a challenge. Its purpose ultimately is not self-serving…it sustains a person through times of challenge to do great deeds that benefit many.
It’s very important that you understand the difference between pride and arrogance, and resist the temptation from others to lower your sense of self-pride and embrace a culture of mediocrity…because that’s exactly the destination you’ll reach absent pride and confidence in yourself. Mediocrity is cerebral cocaine that numbs the senses to the emptiness of underachievement and creates a hallucination of success through bringing others down rather than raising yourself up.
In order to increase your capacity to do, first and foremost acknowledge that a healthy sense of self-pride that produces confidence is a good thing. If you focus on the joy of the struggle and the good that comes from the effort, you will develop healthy self-pride. If “you” become the “why” you’re trekking down the path of arrogance and a fall most likely awaits.
Arrogance goes before a fall…pride goes before a victory. There’s another old saying that “a bird sitting on a branch does not fear the branch breaking, not because its faith is in the branch but in its own wings.” Make that part of your personal philosophy and increase your capacity to think critically and achieve at the level of fulfillment…because you’ve earned a rational reason to be confident in your own wings. It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!
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