On Wednesday, March 9 Categories:

In the historical literature of Greek mythology, there is a central theme of 'hubris' or arrogant pride that often results in a tragic retribution. The purpose of the stories told by the ancients was to teach us the implicit danger of arrogance and overconfidence. In the context of business and life, there is a noted tendency for many people to significantly over-estimate the extent of their knowledge and abilities. Typically this manifests itself in the behavior of a person acting as though they know much more about a subject than they actually do. This phenomenon is demonstrated by the person who makes certain to 'top' every one of your experiences with something bigger, better, and more exciting.

When this behavior is limited to our personal interactions, it is generally contained as an inter-personal annoyance. When it spills over to the workplace, things begin to get a little more difficult as co-workers and managers play political games to gratify their ego. However, there is a dramatic series of adverse consequences that emerge when individuals are responsible for large amounts of other people's money. (Fund managers, company executives, and politicians fall into this category)

The danger from people who are in charge of other people's money is that if their hubris is allowed to drive them into making foolish mistakes, the impact ripples out to all of the people whom they are responsible for. In the case of a corporate leader, the shareholders and employees will pay the price for their foolishness. When political leaders become infected with the malady of hubris, they frequently get so enamored with the self-delusion of their own greatness that they attempt to re-make the nation in their own image. Typically, these acts of arrogant self-indulgence are devastating to the wellbeing of the nation that they purport to serve.

Each of us has the opportunity to tame our own hubris, or to let it dominate our lives. The critical question for each person to answer is whether we are willing to humble our ego and keep our lives in perspective.

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Sincere Thanks,
Douglas J Utberg, MBA
Founder - Business of Life LLC:

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