It’s a funny old word, not widely used but I think we see way too many examples of it every day.  The Great Sage GOOGLE says:




  1. excessive pride or self-confidence.

“the self-assured hubris among economists was shaken in the late 1980s”


arrogance, conceit, conceitedness, haughtiness, pride, vanity, self-importance, self-conceit, pomposity, superciliousness, feeling of superiority.

  • (in Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to punishment.


I am a big believer in confidence. We need to be confident in our daily activities, in our workplace and in ourselves. But sometimes that confidence becomes inflated and the result is hubris. And the way in which we experience it can sometimes be hilarious.

Have you ever been in a bar and spent your time watching what the other people are doing? Of course, one must do this with at least a beer in hand so as not to appear to be a pervert. Put away your camera phone and I would suggest that you not take notes. As you were watching them, the bartender is quite possibly taking note of you. Try explaining this to the police!

But I digress. In any large group of people, especially where alcohol is involved, they’ll always be at least one peacock. An individual who believes that he, or she, is the pinnacle of human evolution. They will prance, yes I said prance, around expecting adulation. They never for one moment think that they are anything less than perfection.

Some people are able to go through their entire lives believing in their perfection. It is quite sad when reality sets in. But not unexpected. After all, Society is the one who feeds in to this idea of hubris. We don’t let our children see reality. We coddle them and praise them, as we should, but they also need to know that failure does happen. We need to understand failure in order to appreciate success. I read a story many years ago about a grandfather who took his small grandson skating. When they were on the ice the older man lifted his arms and said “fall down” the child did just that. This happened several times in a row and the child asked why his beloved grandfather was making him fall down. The answer was simple: “You need to learn that it’s okay to fall down. When you’re not afraid of failure you can truly succeed.”

Our children need to learn that it’s okay to fail. It is part of the equation which leads to success. You are not ‘less than’ if you don’t succeed the first time, you’re simply on the learning curve. We need to let people, children, know what failure is like. Otherwise we will create a society with way too much hubris and not enough compassion.

The lessons we learn as children mold us into the adults we will become.


18 thoughts on “Hubris

  1. Murphy's Law

    Yowzer, if there was ever a word to describe Trump, you found it Pam!!

    Confidence can become arrogance or conceit so fast it would make your head spin. Another one of those fine lines we have to learn to negotiate. Children absolutely need to understand that failing at something and being a failure are not one and the same. Expectations need to be realistic, but they should require some effort.

    This is a very thought-provoking post Pam. Well, we don’t expect anything less from you my friend! Hope your day is a good one.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  2. scifihammy

    It is a funny old word – thanks for explaining it. 🙂
    We learn more from out failures than our successes in life. It is all part of the experience of growing up.
    And I like the colours and depth in your fish painting – feels like you are in the ocean. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion

    I have to start with the fact that I almost spit my coffee when I read “Have you ever been in a bar…”

    Our dad always told us “you’re no better or worse than anyone else” – always in that order. Confidence was ok. Anything beyond that was not.

    You make many good points, Pam. I wish this was required reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John W. Howell

    The prancing is always present. There was a time that I envied those who never questioned their abilities. As I got older I realized that I was most fortunate to be able to face failure and keep going. The confident ones weren’t so lucky. Great points Pamela.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Almost Iowa

    Yeah, hubris is a bad thing. It is why I always avoid it and go full tilt for humility. In fact of all my virtues, humility is tops. Nobody but nobody is as humble as me or so I never tire of telling the crowd down at The Pit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. delphini510

    Very interesting and revealing post. I have met some Hubris people ,as you describe, at various parties. I don’t really think they realise how sadly boring they are.
    I like the Grandfather’s lesson to the little boy. Yes, it is o.k. To fail as long as we get up and
    go again.


    Liked by 1 person


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