When pride gets in the way of success

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Pride is blocking the tool that makes us succeed: our mind. Our skill to improve, learn, build relationships, and be flexible is limited by pride. More importantly, this happens early in teenagers’ and young adults in their life. When we are overwhelmed with beginners eager to succeed, pride takes a minor accomplishment and turns it into a major one. During my absence, I witness two cases that destroyed one dream and start to destroy the other. In today’s blog post, I will show you examples of when pride gets in the way of success.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people;
and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

C. S. Lewis

When pride gets in the way – a never-ending process

when pride gets in the way - being stucked

When I started working on a desktop app with a friend in 2016, I was full of passion and energy to make this possible. Our idea was to build a social media app for gamers. Besides the functions of every typically social media like a feed, post, comments, likes, and follow, we wanted to integrate a connection feature. In this feature, people on the same server for different games can connect with each other. We wanted to let them decide what they want to do with that. Either connect to find new friends or even find new love.

In addition, we thought about scaling and monetizing as well. For example, young gamers who aim to be professional can upload their ranks and their best plays. By doing that, professional teams can scout them and maybe hire them. Another way to make money was to sell advertisement space for developers and game studios. With that, they can promote their newest updates or games for a fee. We thought about everything. From the name of the app to competing with big companies like Google, everything was planned. We had a plan for our app, Elodirect. Now, it is our task to make it happen.

It is about how you end

The only thing we had to do was to start and we worked hard. Well, I worked hard. In 2020 when there was a lockdown in Berlin, I focused my time on building this app. My task was to build the backend. For the non-programmers among you guys, the backend is the part where data are received, processed, deleted, or saved. After a month and through Christmas, the backend was ready. My partner was responsible for the front end. The front end is everything you see. The overall appearance of the app. The problem, until today it is still not finished. It might seem like a minor issue for most of us. But I know that he would play video games rather than work on our app. It is more frustrating that we are in our 5th year since we have this idea. You can imagine how unsatisfied and angry I am. 

I remind him over and over again. But my plead is unheard.  With time I grow impatient and lost hope that we will ever be finished. In my head, I almost gave up, but somehow I still believe in this. When? I have no idea. Does pride has a role in this problem?

Ego dazzles us that we succeeded

when pride gets in the way - illusion of success

While I waited for my partner to finish his tasks, I worked on a website for my first big client. At the same time, I looked for another business opportunity. After 6 months on the search for a store, I finally found one. And it is a great one. 20.000 potential walk-ins customers daily, surrounded by big brands stores, a good spaced store, and a payable rent, I finally can start my next business.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I will sell Bubble Teas in this store as a franchisee. In my blog post (business opportunities), I mentioned the guys who reinvented the brand. To summarize, we are like triplets. We have the same dream, the same passion, and are willing to work until we drop. I was really excited to develop with them the brand. And with the start of my store, our dream will come closer. Until I watched what they did in my absence and what they told me about their next steps. What I learned was quite disappointing.

The bubble tea brand is newly established and with it, many stores opened up throughout Germany. Not bad. However, the boys are already satisfied and are moving on to their next idea. Hold up. Wait a minute. So, that’s it? Just redesign the logo and the menu and we call it a success? Little as they know, the brand is still not well known and far from truly successful. Because there are two bigger brands that aren’t beaten yet. So, why do they call it a day and stop working hard on it? There is still a lot to do.

How Pride destroys the road to success

when pride gets in the way - destroys the road to success
Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

In both of the examples, pride plays a major role in their behavior.

My Partner and Elodirect

So, what is the reason for my partner’s inability to finish his task? It is pride. During our research about potential customers and our competitors, my partner boosted himself over and over again. He was proud of our idea, in a way that we were better than them. But in fact, we had nothing to show. Instead, we were far behind them. Only for the fact that we published nothing yet. In other words, his pride made him believe that our idea was already good enough to beat our competitors. I heard him gossip about our competitors how bad they are and that we will make it better. Stressed on the word will. Even though, we had no finished product to present.

His pride and the resultant feeling of satisfaction stop his eagerness to work. He does not feel any urge to finish, yet he might see himself as a great businessman than our competitors. If he continues this path of thinking, he will be stuck in this circle and he will never be able to accomplish something.

Bubble Tea Brand and their Founders

Similar, to my partner of Elodirect, the founders of the bubble tea brand are following the same patterns. They are not delusional yet. But I see many red flags already. It is true though that they accomplished something and it is well deserved. Selling many franchise-license is a great success. However, pride and arrogance will stop us from moving forward. Because if they start to rest on this success only, they start to believe that they have no reason to be better. A truly dangerous mindset for every entrepreneur. But the true test is still ahead of them. After 5 years, it will show if they are truly successful. To counter this pride and overconfidence, be humble.

When pride gets in the way- My early “success”

I was a victim of this early pride as well. As I can remember, entering university was a huge deal to me back then. I was proud. Maybe I was the first in the family to enroll in a university. In my mind, I accomplished everything I dreamed of. So, I have let myself slide. I increasingly missed classes and an appointment for a group project, and I did not learn for exams as well. Moreover, I was convinced that the enrolment was enough. I brought this mindset to other situations. The second enrolment, many relationships, and other minor businesses.

With time, I learned that the start is unimportant. How we do with the things that we achieve is much more important. Today, I am not filled with early pride. When I introduce myself, I humbly say, I am just a web developer. I never mentioned that I am a blogger, a freelancer with a couple of orders, or that I am going to be a co-owner of numerous businesses. I felt wrong to say it out loud if I am not successful. Or something that I realized.

For example, blogging is just a hobby with no great range. My freelancer work had more success than my blog. But even there I feel like I am still a beginner. So, another reason not to talk about it. And last but not least, the other businesses are not in the real world yet. No reason to talk about it or be proud.

When you say this you have the “Early Pride Syndrome”

Pride takes a minor accomplishment and turns it into a major accomplishment. Besides, pride separates reality and us. Is it really a success? Or is it just a small step that everyone else did? Moreover, should we be announcing every success we witness in our life? Pride makes us delusional and changes our perception of what is and what isn’t. Pride and ego say:

  • I am an entrepreneur because I struck out on my own.
  • We are going to win because we are currently in the lead.
  • I am a writer because I published something.
  • I am rich and successful because I made some money.
  • We are specialists in our own right because we were chosen.
  • I am important because I think I should be.

Each of these sentences is a wish or even an illusion. Just thinking, saying, or even living these statements makes us a fraud. Because nothing is real or a big issue yet. If we are doing the work and putting in the time, we won’t have to overcompensate.

Summary – When pride gets in the way of success

summary - when pride gets in the way

In every possible scenario, pride is lethal to a good, healthy mindset. It does not matter if the pride is justified or not. With justified pride, people do not like you. It is worse if your success is unjustified, people look at you like you were a fraud. I saw this early pride destroying personality, reputation, and success over and over again. The early pride dazzles you. Consequently, you will never finish something because you think you were the best without a valid reason.  Do you want to live in this illusion? When pride gets in the way of success you go through a lot of pain, time, and embarrassment.

We are still striving. And it is the strives who should be our peers not the proud and the accomplished. Without this understanding, pride takes our self-conception and puts it at odds with the reality of our station, which is that we still have so far to go, that there is still so much to be done. – Ryan Holiday



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