Success, Pride & Ruin

It’s troubling that success can often breed a dangerous kind of pride. There are definitely healthy kinds of pride. Pride that your child scored high on his math test, or pride in your country, or pride in doing a job well done. Those are all decent, sturdy sorts of emotion that, if handled reasonably, don’t end up belittling or damaging others (or yourself). But there’s another kind of pride that leads to ruin. I don’t mean ruin of a financial or physical sort. I mean ruin of the soul, of decaying from life into a withered mockery of life.

I’ve worked in a few different creative fields (television, animation, music, etc), and that second sort of pride is rife in those careers. Actually, almost a pandemic. I recently ran into a friend who’d been working on a project with a pop culture superstar. He related the same, sad old story of success turning a normal person into an ogre.

If you are ever blessed with creative success, I hope you don’t let it change you. Don’t forget that the guy bagging your groceries at Whole Foods is just as human and as unique as you are. Yeah, he might not be pulling down the same kind of paycheck and be enjoying the accolades coming your way, but the two of you are really the same. Enjoy your success, sure, but hold it lightly. At the end of the day it means next to nothing.

2 thoughts on “Success, Pride & Ruin”

    1. Yeah. On the flip side, it’s pretty refreshing to meet someone in the creative stratosphere who manages to stay real.

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