The Two Kinds of Pride - THINKERS Notebook

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The Two Kinds of Pride

Your ideas have immense power.

Whether you recognize this or not, it's true.

Think about it this way: no one on earth has your combination of genes, experiences, perspective, and knowledge ... which means that no one else on earth can duplicate the thoughts and ideas you generate.

And that matters, at least inasmuch as you are willing to record, develop, and share your ideas.

Because an idea left inside your head can matter only to you. But ideas that you invest your attention in, and that you share with others, have the potential to leave their mark on the world.

As the line in
my favorite children's book goes:

Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my very eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.

I don't know how to describe it, but it went from being here to being everywhere. It wasn't just a part of me anymore ... it was now a part of everything.

We all have the ability to create ideas that burst into the sky and become a part of something beyond ourselves. It's an inherent quality of being human. It's something we should take pride in.

But we need to make sure our pride in our ideas is authentic pride, not hubristic pride.

I covered this subject, and many others, in a webinar this week for the THINKERS Workshop with Jessica Tracy, author of the book Take Pride.

My biggest takeaways from Jess' book is this difference between authentic pride and hubristic pride.

To simplify the difference:
  • Authentic pride is generated by things we do: helping others, working hard, solving a problem. We earn our pride because our achievements were derived from actions we control.
  • Hubristic pride is generated by things we believe that we are: smart, attractive, high-status, etc. We feel pride because these attributes lead us to believe we should.

Obviously there are shades of gray between these two extremes. And one of the biggest potential trouble spots is authentic pride morphing into hubristic pride, which can happen if there is not enough humility there to keep us properly balanced.

Reading Jess' book and having the chance to explore these topics with her got me to thinking about how these two kinds of pride relate to our ideas. 

It's easy to see how hubristic pride can lead someone to overvalue their ideas. If someone believes they are inherently better, more intelligent, or more creative than others, that person is likely to believe their ideas are better. That person is unlikely to be open to feedback, advice, or criticism.

But someone who feels authentic pride in their ideas has to come to this feeling a more durable and convincing way.

This authentically prideful thinker has probably:
  • Spent time with pen and paper exploring and developing their ideas, not just trusting that their mind is a brilliant steel trap.
  • Shared their ideas with others not to show off, but in a genuine attempt to receive feedback and open a channel of collaboration.
  • Read widely and in-depth.
  • Explored tools for idea capture and organization because they understanding the limits of their own mind.

Which begs the question:

Which type of pride do you feel in your ideas?

Do you believe in the power of your ideas because they are your ideas?

Or do you believe in the power of your ideas because you've worked hard and with humility to develop them?

It's an important mental model to keep in mind. 

Authentic pride will drive us to our best thinking and decision making. Hubristic pride will leave us impotent in the face of cognitive bias and closed off to diverse views that could make our ideas and decisions better.

Read: Take Pride by Jessica Tracy
In this week's THINKERS Roundup, I've collected three additional resources to help you gain the right kind of pride in your ideas and your ability as a thinker.

But first, learn how to access the replay to my chat with Jessica Tracy inside the THINKERS Workshop.

This Week in the THINKERS Workshop

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Jessica Tracy to discuss her book Take Pride. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, and I invite you to watch or listen to the replay if you want to learn more about how pride can be a source of good in your life.

Replay: How the Two Different Kinds of Pride Impact Our Thoughts and Actions.

We also have these two events coming up over the next two weeks:

And rememberL even if you can't attend the live Zoom sessions, you can get on-demand access to the replays (and all past replays) inside of the THINKERS Workshop.

The THINKERS Workshopcosts $99.99 per year (or $9.99 per month) to be a member. If you own a THINKERS Notebook, then you get in free. If you haven't activated your free account, just reply to this email and let me know so I can send you the special link.


Now on to this week's links ...

Want to develop belief in yourself? Get moving and get learning.


You won’t always know what you need to know. You won’t always get other people to see what you see. And sometimes even you might stop believing. Obstacles have a way of seeming insurmountable, but rarely is that true.

Today if you start thinking your idea isn’t good enough, take a deep breath and remember: What’s important is not what you know in this moment; it’s what you believe you can learn and do.

Read: Tiny Wisdom: On Believing in Your Ideas (Tiny Buddha)

Do you believe in your ability to make your goals happen?


The biggest difference I've noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn't intelligence or opportunity or resources. It's the belief that they can make their goals happen.

We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure. Some of us trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out.

Read: Believe in Yourself (And Why Nothing Will Work If You Don’t…) (James Clear)

Keep the good parts of pride and discard the rest.


You can feel a sense of pride and still show humility. Just because you do something well, doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to brag or seek praise. Be comfortable with knowing that you are doing your best work without having to have validation from outside sources.

Read: How A Little Bit of Pride Can Bring A Positive Force To Your Life (Lifehacker)
Quote of the week

“We must remember that the getting there -- the hard work or perseverant effort toward something that feels meaningful -- is what earns us the pride we seek."

-- Jessica Tracy in Take Pride