Preserving The Spirit Of Pride
The worst kind of pride is fueled by the envy of others. The problem is that it induces a competition with others, whereas the only worthwhile competition is with oneself.
Indeed, as I have explained on Superception, life is an endless learning experience and hence is a limitless challenge to self-certainty. Each person is a being in perpetual development and can never, with very few exceptions, realize their full potential.
Defeating others is relatively easy. Winning over oneself is an endless struggle because one can always invent new challenges. Incidentally, even in sports where one faces an opponent, it is often against oneself that the mental fight is the toughest.
It is even worse in mountaineering, where climbers face their limitations at the same time as they battle natural elements. Those experiences are both taxing and deeply enriching, as I explained in the book I devoted to the management of fear by professional mountaineers (only available in French):
“Even when they are roped together, there always comes a time when climbers, whatever their mastery level, are confronted with themselves, with their doubts and inadequacies. Thereupon, they face lonely moment of truths: Only them can overcome their fears. And, like in civil wars, the fiercest battles are fought when the enemy is within.“
Indeed, our greatest sources of pride are intimate and don’t require the approval of others. This lesson, which I learned from the practice of mountaineering, is also valid for management.
That is why I never put my teammates in competition with each other: My objective is that they give their best – and, in doing so, push me to give my best -, not that they give the best of their colleagues. The only benchmark that is worth, in terms of performance, is with one’s own potential. We can always find someone who is better or worse than ourselves. But we will never find in others the drive and passion to grow.
As Nicolas Boileau said,
“My shortcomings are my only enemies.“