Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is Arrogance Creeping In On You?

A general dictionary defines arrogance in many ways like, "offensive display of superiority, self-importance, overbearing pride, pompous, haughtiness, behaving in a superior manner toward inferiors, etc." Each one of us would have definitely seen or experienced arrogance by someone at some time.

An arrogant person can impact you in many ways, and depending on your current position you may or may not be able to control such people. For example, an arrogant professor, teacher, boss or reputed personalities can make life hell for all his subordinates, and continue to behave with brazen superiority with everyone for years. Often you will not be able to do anything because such people control your core necessities like passing exams, promotions, salary hikes, sales figures, brand, etc. In some cases you can hit back with all your power at arrogant people. Nevertheless arrogant people in all walks of life are a pain and will be an important topic of discussion everywhere. Behind the back gossip like, "He or she has become arrogant, but wasn't like that before" is quite common in most workplaces, amongst friends, relatives, etc. However it does not mean people will be arrogant with everyone, but they will definitely not miss an opportunity to demonstrate it on someone they can afford to be rude with. Often the person being branded arrogant may not truly realize they have indeed become arrogant. It is always someone else who can be arrogant, but not we. We rarely think of ourself as being arrogant. But arrogance does exist in various degrees in everyone, including you and me. Now suppose you discover that people who matter to you are calling you arrogant behind your back? Or worse, someone tells you flat on your face that you are indeed arrogant. What will be your reaction? Being branded arrogant is something that nobody would like to hear. It can rudely jolt you from the grand benevolent image you hold of yourself. You could get furious, outraged and vehemently disagree with their opinion, or you can stop and think of it as a wake up call to mend your ways.

Arrogance is like a special body odour that you can't smell, but others can. But unless somebody tells you openly, or you have a mirror of snow white's stepmother you don't get to know it. Similar to how people recognize the harmful effects of junk food, high cholesterol, etc., it is also important to recognize some vital signs that could make one arrogant over time. So what are those signs that can make you arrogant? Here are seven signs that could make you arrogant over time, unless you take appropriate steps to puncture your bloated ego periodically.

1. Knowledge: Your subject knowledge is good and improving day by day. People come to you for advice, tips, guidance. Soon you begin to think you have become an expert and feel others are dependant on you. You have all the answers for anything and everything, or you believe so. And you gradually become dismissive of suggestions and recommendations by others, except yours, of course.

2. Salary: You have a juicy salary. You are able to pay all your bills, loans, expenses and still have plenty of spare money to buy the things you desire. Your bank balance makes you feel invincible and you start comparing everyone based on the money they make.

3. Job title: You have a fancy job title that can create an aura of awe around you. Titles having groovy words like global, enterprise, strategy, leader, etc., can quietly corrupt a person's ego faster than a person who is having a mediocre title like sales manager, though both could be doing identical jobs.

4. Contacts: You develop contacts and connections with reputed people, famous personalities, top brass, etc., and hover around important people. You have the blessings of a powerful godfather who worships the ground you walk on, protects you, listens to you and does not make a move without consulting you. So you now feel like a VIP with the power to crush ordinary mortals.

5. Successes: You have had a series of successes and promotions that are the envy of others. Everything you do seems like success. Or you have been very smart and quick in burying your failures before anyone notices them. Or somebody is doing the work and producing the results, while you are getting the rewards and hikes. Frequent success and winning can be a powerful arrogance booster. During temporary lucky periods in life a feeling of Midas touch can get into people's head. This is often the reason why many sportsmen, film personalities, businessmen, etc., become haughty and pushy.

6. Answers: You don't provide solutions to questions anymore. Instead you now answer every question with another question. You develop the skill to invent a dozen jargon filled smart, tough and tricky questions on the fly that can make others squirm, chew their head off or make them flee from the scene. Of course, it is not necessary for you to know the answers, or if answering is unavoidable, you can invent some more jargon filled questions to confuse the other party.

7. Personal: In addition to the above factors, an individual's personal qualities, or Mother Nature's temporary gifts to humans, like young age, physical strength, beauty, good health, IQ, etc., can also make one arrogant.

To summarize, the challenge for each one of us is to frequently pause and observe ourselves to see if any of the above factors are making us pompous. And we can conclude with a quote from Henry W Shaw, "It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too."

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