Pride Goes Before A Fall: The Danger Of Overconfidence 

Pride goes before a fall: Recently, I got into a not-so-heated debate with someone about a business model and how to go about it; we both sounded very confident on how to kick start it and sustain it, but one thing we both agreed on was that we could not both be right, this is business model where in less than a month or two we will clearly see who is wrong if not both, you know, something like the game theory but it’s not that big of a deal, and I say so because it’s something we can correct very fast once we know who is wrong, the correction will cost a small price pay, but this is not the same for every endeavor, some prices are too big to pay, can be paid, yes, but too big of a price. We don’t know whose model is wrong, but that is not really the point of this article; the point of this article is that one can have so much confidence about something, which can be a good thing, but if you are not open-minded to listen to other people, at least to compare and contrast, that overconfidence, that pride goes before a fall. So here we are: Pride goes before a fall. What does this mean?


Pride goes before a fall: This proverb, some say, is coined from the well-known story titled “The Hare and Tortoise” from Aesop’s fables. We all remember having read it during our kindergarten days.

The hare, always quick on his feet, challenged a tortoise to a race; the tortoise knew that being a slow animal, he was no match for the hare, yet he accepted the challenge. On the day of the race, all the animals assembled in one place, and the race commenced. Like lightning, the hare sprinted across and disappeared from sight, but the poor tortoise walked slowly, as usual.


The haughty hare, which had gone too far away, paused under a tree; he knew that it would take a long time for the tortoise to reach him, so he stretched and slept. How long he slept, he never knew; meanwhile, the tortoise came there, saw the hare sleeping, and went ahead quietly and reached the winning post, giving a crushing defeat to the hare.

This was a lesson not only to the hare but to everyone who feels too proud and underestimates the others.

The age-old adage “pride goes before a fall” holds a timeless truth that transcends various aspects of human life, including personal development, professional success, and interpersonal relationships. This proverb serves as a cautionary reminder against the dangers of unchecked pride and overconfidence, which can lead to detrimental outcomes and hinder our growth and progress.

What Is Pride

The quality or state of being proud, such as reasonable self-esteem, confidence, and satisfaction in oneself, SELF-RESPECT. Merriam-webster


A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. The state or feeling of being proud.

A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that you get because you or people connected with you have done or got something good:

  • She felt a great sense of pride as she watched him accept the award.
  • He felt such pride walking his little daughter down the street.

If you go by this dictionary meaning, you can clearly see that pride is not necessarily a bad thing. You can take pride in what you do, you can take pride in where and how you live your life, and you can take pride in your successes; in fact, you should be proud, and if you are not, it means something is off, but that not what this article is all about either, the type of pride I am talking about is the one that goes before a fall, the one that comes with overconfidence, where you see yourself as superior and others as inferior, the type that is not open-minded, and respectful; this is the type of pride that goes before a fall.

Understanding The Pride That Goes Before A fall

Pride, in its positive form, represents a healthy sense of self-worth, confidence, and achievement, but when pride becomes excessive and transforms into overconfidence, it can cloud judgment and lead to a false sense of invincibility. This type of pride often comes from an attachment to one’s abilities, achievements, or beliefs and can manifest as a dismissive attitude toward feedback, a reluctance to admit mistakes, and an overemphasis on past successes.

This concept of pride manifests as:

Dismissive Attitude Toward Feedback

A dismissive attitude toward feedback can have serious and deep consequences in personal and professional spaces. When we dismiss or disregard feedback, we miss out on valuable opportunities for growth, improvement, and learning. 

In the professional realm, a dismissive attitude toward feedback can hinder career advancement and professional development. If we dismiss constructive criticism, we may struggle to identify areas for improvement and may miss out on valuable insights that could improve our performance, and this can lead to stagnation and a lack of progress in our careers.

Also, in personal relationships, a dismissive attitude toward feedback can strain interpersonal dynamics. Dismissing the concerns or suggestions of people in our lives can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and a breakdown in communication. It can create barriers to empathy and understanding, ultimately damaging the quality of our relationships.

Embracing feedback, on the other hand, nurtures a culture of continuous improvement and growth; it allows us to gain valuable insights, identify blind spots, and adapt other behaviors or approaches to achieve better outcomes. By actively listening to feedback and considering its merits, we can build stronger relationships and better our professional performance.

A Reluctance To Admit Mistakes

In the professional space, a reluctance to admit mistakes can hinder career advancement and professional development. If we are unwilling to acknowledge our errors, we may fail to take responsibility for our actions, leading to a lack of accountability and missed opportunities for learning and improvement, and this can impact teamwork, productivity, and the overall success of projects.

Taking responsibility for your actions goes beyond just a declaration; it’s an ongoing and continuous calling to action that can improve your life and positively impact those in your life.

When I’m in the middle of a conversation, getting advice or being corrected, one way I respond is to say, “I have heard, I can do better, and I will,” for me, this is more than just a reply, a statement, or an apology, It’s a way of telling myself that I’m better than this and calling myself out to take responsibility for my actions and do better.

Read More: How Taking Responsibility For Your Actions Helps You Grow in the Process

In personal relationships, the reluctance to admit mistakes can strain and turn interactions into a burden and lead to misunderstandings, and this dismisses trust and makes it very difficult to have effective communication. If we get defensive and don’t learn to admit our mistakes, we eventually find it challenging to resolve conflicts and build strong, trusting connections with others.

Our willingness to admit mistakes is essential for personal and professional growth; it allows us to take ownership of our actions, learn from our experiences, and demonstrate humility and integrity. Admitting mistakes fosters a culture of accountability, trust, and continuous improvement in any space or field of life.

An Overemphasis On Past Successes

An overemphasis on past successes can have significant implications for development. While we can both agree that celebrating achievements is important, dwelling excessively on past successes can hinder growth, innovation, and adaptation to new challenges. 

An overemphasis on past successes can lead to complacency and a reluctance to embrace change. If we become too attached to our past triumphs, we may resist exploring new ideas, strategies, or technologies, which can slow down progress.

Plus, an overemphasis on past successes can create a fixed mindset that inhibits learning and growth. If we are overly focused on our past accomplishments, we are likely to resist taking on new challenges or exploring unfamiliar territories, and this can limit our potential for personal and professional development and hinder our ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Balancing the celebration of past successes with a forward-looking mindset is essential for sustained growth and success. Reflecting on past achievements can provide valuable lessons and insights, but it is equally important to use these experiences as a drawing board for future exploits. Developing a growth mindset allows us to approach new challenges with resilience, curiosity, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures.


Rudeness is a behavior that can have very damaging consequences in personal, professional, and social interactions. It can create an atmosphere of discomfort, tension, and negativity, leading to strained relationships and diminished well-being. Rudeness in the workplace can lead to a toxic work environment, decreased morale, and lower productivity. 

When we experience rude behavior, we may feel disrespected and undervalued and may struggle to maintain positive and healthy relationships with rude people. Promoting respectful behavior is essential for positive relationships, creating a harmonious work environment, and building a supportive community. Encouraging empathy, active listening, and open communication will certainly help us develop a greater understanding of others’ perspectives and experiences. 

Seeing One’s Self As All Knowing

Seeing oneself as all-knowing or possessing a sense of infallibility can have profound implications; this mindset, the unwavering belief in one’s own knowledge, and a dismissive attitude toward others can hinder learning. 

Acting like you know all can lead to resistance to feedback, an unwillingness to seek advice, and a reluctance to acknowledge our limitations; this can result in missed opportunities for growth, a failure to recognize the value of different perspectives, and a lack of adaptability in the face of change. Plus, it can put a dent in teamwork and togetherness.

Again and obviously, the perception of being all-knowing can lead to a closed mindset. If we assume ourselves as all-knowing, we will struggle to recognize our own blind spots. 


A closed-minded approach is a reluctance to consider new ideas, perspectives, or information, which can have profound implications for our growth; this mindset, which is a lack of openness and flexibility, can hinder learning; this can not be overemphasized.

University of Pennsylvania: Open-mindedness is the willingness to search actively for evidence against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly when it is available.

University of Oklahoma: To be open‐minded is to be aware of one’s fallibility as a believer, and to acknowledge the possibility that anytime one believes something, one could be wrong.

Dr. William Hare, Mount St. Vincent University: Open-mindedness is an intellectual virtue that… means being critically receptive to alternative possibilities, being willing to think again despite having formed an opinion, and sincerely trying to avoid those conditions and offset those factors which constrain and distort our reflections.

Read More: How to Be an Open-Minded Person

Shutting The Doors To Corrections

Shutting the doors to corrections can have detrimental effects on our growth, relationships, and overall success. Shutting the doors to corrections can lead to resistance to change, and this can result in missed opportunities for growth.

Shutting the door to correction can limit our ability to reflect on our actions, learn from mistakes, grow from experiences, and lead to stagnation.

Since we are so enmeshed with pride, corrections can be difficult to give freely and receive gracefully. It is possible to say that we are grateful for constructive criticism and feedback or perhaps say we’re open enough to recognize our shortcomings and adjust whenever necessary.

However, even if we learn to accept criticism and corrections that help us improve, hearing these things isn’t always simple, though it could become more of a breeze and get easier. We sometimes tend to be defensive and experience a certain amount of resentment whenever someone gives us criticism or challenges us. This is particularly the case if we’ve never requested feedback but they provide it. This kind of criticism could also push us into despair or cause us to feel as if we should give up.

Read More: How Well Do You Handle Correction?

Pride Goes Before A Fall: The Pitfalls of Overconfidence

Overconfidence can lead to a range of detrimental outcomes in both personal and professional spaces. 

In personal development – overconfidence can result in a reluctance to seek help or guidance and obviously missed opportunities for learning and growth. 

In professional settings – overconfidence can cause us to underestimate challenges, overlook potential risks, and fail to adapt to changing circumstances, eventually leading to poor decision-making.

In interpersonal relationships – overconfidence can make interacting with those people tiring and lead to misunderstandings.

Overcoming The Pride That Goes Before A Fall

To overcome the pitfalls of overconfidence, we must cultivate: 

Recognizing our limitations and seeking opportunities to do better is very, very important. Let us embrace a growth mindset because it allows us to approach challenges with resilience, adaptability, and the willingness to learn from failures and setbacks.

Plus, building a culture of: 

Because it is vital for creating an environment where different perspectives are valued and considered, encouraging and promoting a spirit of curiosity, continuous learning, and empathy will definitely help us overcome overconfidence and pride.

What The Bible Says About Pride

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 NIV

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 NIV

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5 NLT

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 14:11 NIV

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 18:12 NIV

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 29:23 KJV

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,

Galatians 6:4 NIV

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The proverb “pride goes before a fall” serves as a timeless reminder of the failure of overconfidence and the importance of humility in our lives, but by recognizing the pitfalls of unchecked pride and cultivating self-awareness, we can do better, be better, and learn from others. Don’t forget humility and openness to feedback allow us to forge meaningful connections, grow, and achieve sustainable success in our endeavors.

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