What Is Hubris?

Hubris is the characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong. The overwhelming pride caused by hubris is often considered a flaw in character. Hubris can cause short-sighted, irrational, or harmful behavior since the person does not stop to examine their behavior or consider the opinions of or effects on others when behaving. Hubris often causes humiliation to whom it is directed. 

Key Takeaways

  • Hubris is an over excess of confidence or arrogance in oneself.
  • Hubris often leads to a lack of self-awareness, which in turn causes harmful behaviors.
  • Hubris is often found in very successful individuals, due to the nature of their positions.
  • When hubris becomes all-consuming, it frequently leads to an individual's downfall.
  • Overcoming hubris is possible with practical techniques, and increased self-awareness.

How Hubris Works

Hubris may be developed after a person encounters a period of success. Corporate executives and traders overcome by hubris may become a liability for their firms. A manager might start making business decisions without fully thinking through the consequences, or a trader may begin taking on excessive risk. In many cases, people overcome by hubris will bring about their downfall. 

Chief executive officers and very successful businessmen who are overcome with hubris tend to be difficult to work within team settings. They lack the ability to consider the opinions of others when they conflict with their own. This inconsideration is because they believe they always know best. 

It is essential to differentiate hubris and confidence from one another. Having a realistic amount of confidence in oneself is crucial to long-term success, while hubris can be detrimental. 

Special Considerations 

It is crucial to overcome hubris in oneself to avoid damaging professional relationships. To overcome hubris, seek out knowledge that will assist in doing so, such as books and self-help guides. Reforming thought patterns by considering the consequences hubris causes to others, instead of self-focused thinking is an effective way to initiate positive changes. Hubris can be quelled by adequately bestowing praise and credit when working in a group setting. It is of utmost importance to stay self-aware during periods of success. Be vigilant in remembering that current accomplishments do not mean that future hardships can not occur. 

Criticism of Hubris

The arrogance and overconfidence that come with being hubris can eventually lead to one’s downfall. Hubris causes a lack of questioning in oneself that would not otherwise exist. When aiming to be successful, most individuals utilize a meaningful process of thought and execution. A person affected by hubris will jump into a situation without questioning their methods. The lack of adequate processing and planning often ends in eventual failure.

Example of Hubris

A well-known example of Hubris occurs in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” The protagonist of the story is Victor. Victor’s hubris is demonstrated in his venture to become a scientist who is unrivaled by any other. In the end, his hubris leads only to catastrophe.

In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, the character of Mr.Darcy has an exorbitant amount of pride in his social status and himself. His hubris leads him to unfairly judge his eventual love interest Elizabeth, to the point where he nearly loses her. Only after a transformation of self is Mr.Darcy able to overcome his hubris and win Elizabeth’s heart.