When Pride Comes Before a Fall.

You know those proverbial sayings that don’t make so much sense to you, because the last time you actually used them was when you were in primary school writing compositions and it was either the topic or the conclusion to your ‘made up’ story. But growing up, I have come to embrace many of these sayings, and hang on every word in them. Mainly because they to some extent hold the tips and tricks on how to handle some of the situations that life deals you.

creative space, tools of trade
After work, but still at the office. My little creative space and tools of trade.

It happens that when we’re starting out in whatever phase in life – whether it’s work or business or relationships; we display a lot of humility. In the way we handle people we directly interact with, in the way we handle the material things we have at that point, in the way we carry ourselves around. It could be because when we’re at that starting point, it’s the hope that things are going to get better that keeps us going. And so we’re generally just nice. I mean, you can’t be arrogant and you’re at the bottom of the pyramid, you need to choose a struggle.

Then by God’s grace, you climb up the pyramid and now you don’t have to choose a struggle, but rather whether to continue being humble, or to be arrogant.

  • Where you once could walk into a room and say hi to everyone, you now walk into a room and walk straight to the person who’s either at your level, or higher in the pyramid, and ignore the rest.
  • Where people could once easily approach you for your input or assistance on assignments or projects, you now instill so much fear in them that they have to really compose themselves before approaching you or even reevaluate whether they really have to meet you.
  • Where people could once effortlessly interact with you, you now become that unapproachable person, because you’ve created imaginary walls. And before someone can get through to you, they have to work so hard to bring those walls down, that by the time they get there, they realize it really wasn’t worth the struggle.
  • Where you once valued the small things in life, you now look down on them and don’t see why you should deal with anyone or anything that’s not grand, or that’s not lavish.
  • Where you once could easily remember names of people you interacted with, and when you meet them at a later date you say hello and have a lot to talk about because you’ve come from far. You now cannot remember anyone’s name, and you barely have anything to talk about, no throw backs, because you’re not about where you came from anymore.
  • Where you once were great friends, you now cannot see each other eye to eye, because after climbing the pyramid you cannot associate with people who are not in your social circles.

And in as much as we speak of oppression from a bigger scale, we forget that sometimes, oppression is right here with us in our homes, in our institutions and in our social circles. And this oppression is as a result of the pride that comes when someone thinks that they’re better than the other person(s) and they rub it in through their deeds or start treating you like you’re a lesser person because you have not grown at the same pace as them or they’re just way ahead in the success journey.

I remember there’s once we were having a conversation with some older folks (age bracket 55-65), and the one thing I admired so much about them is how they didn’t create barriers around them once they became successful. In my eyes they’re successful. Personal success to me is not in terms of monetary wealth per se, because that one is sometimes very controversial and difficult to determine. It’s when you reach a point where you’re comfortable with what you have achieved and acquired in life so far. Where you can comfortably have a sit and when you look around, you’re content with what you see and how you feel about yourself. And we the observers can say the same about you.

I liked that they didn’t create barriers in their friendships, or in their families. That even if their lives took different turns, they looked for ways to accommodate each other and not make each other feel like they are less of a person or like they are social climbers. They were very clear-cut on how life doesn’t happen the same way for everyone. Some might get there fast, while for others, it might take a little longer to get there, but they eventually do. For instance, you would find that you and the people you mostly interact with,

  • Didn’t graduate at the same time
  • Didn’t get a job at the same time
  • Didn’t buy a car at the same time
  • Didn’t get married at the same time
  • Didn’t get children the same time
  • Didn’t make your first million at the same time
  • Didn’t buy or build a house at the same time
  • Didn’t get promoted to management or executive level at the same time
  • Didn’t start a successful business at the same time

These things shouldn’t be what determines how you treat the person you interact with; your friends, your school mates, your colleagues, your subordinates, your neighbors or even strangers. People are more important than things or than the stage of the pyramid that you are at. It’s absolutely good for you if you’re moving upwards, but also good to remember that these things could easily disappear in thin air. So don’t look out and think that you’re breathing different air than the rest who are still at the bottom of the pyramid. I know I’m saying it and I’m not there yet (from a professional point of view), but I keep hearing it’s lonely at the top.

But I believe that when you maintain your humility, it’s not as lonely as it’s purported to be. With humility, it’s easier for people to be genuine with you, for people to share with you their thoughts, their ideas, and put their hearts into their work for you. Hence making it easier for you to execute your strategies and ultimately, be successful. Like the saying says, pride only comes before a fall.

As you rise up, let your head focus on the skies, but let not your feet float away with you, keep them on the ground. Because when you’re grounded, if and when you stumble and fall, it’s not as painful as and when they’re way off the ground.

I always respect people who make it in life (or are successful), but their principles remain grounded. And I have met and read about a couple like those. I salute you, keep it up!

Today, I’ve been inspired by a tweep, @AfricaOnMove, who was saying that people in the creative spaces should be more willing to help each other prosper. And it’s not always about the money, as important as it is. It’s about the relationships we develop and build while at it. It’s about pursuing our passions and using our arts to inspire each other and to see people grow through their arts. It’s about being able to reach a bigger audience and for it to hopefully translate into the ever elusive money, so that you can be able to live through your art someday. To play my part in this, if you’re in the creative space and you feel that I can help you today, reach out to me. I am willing to do so pro-bono. I mean anything from advice, strategizing, referrals, brainstorming, reviews, name it.

Ps: As I wrote today’s post, I was listening to Lianne La Havas. She’s a new artist I’ve just discovered today and whose music is so expressive and mellow. It grows on you so fast, I love her already and her hair too!

Clearly, today has been a good day. Happy Hump Day Snippers!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*