For most of our lives, we’ve been taught pride is a negative trait. Pride is associated with conceit, an over-inflated ego. We’ve all heard “pride comes before a fall.” But without some sense of pride, we would get nothing done and live unhealthy, unproductive lives. So what’s the right balance?
The tagline for Semplice, my portfolio system, is “build with pride.” I believe we should strive to do work that makes us proud, and Semplice is my attempt to help creatives do this. Having pride in our work means doing our best. It means creating something worthwhile, rather than something that just gets the job done. Sharing your work because you are proud of it is not bragging. It’s caring. This form of pride is healthy. It motivates us and keeps us moving forward.
Lately, it seems society has embraced the concept self-love. In our social media obsessed, anxiety-ridden world, we are being reminded to celebrate our accomplishments, take care of ourselves and be unashamed of who we are. That’s all terrific, but this often seems to translate to nothing more than more Instagram selfies. Mantras like “Don’t apologize for who you are. You are perfect.” have, with exceptions, become tired lines meant to sell fast fashion or get another follower. Of course we should love who we are and take care of ourselves, but our current approach seems rather empty.
Pride doesn’t mean you believe you are perfect without flaws. Pride means you are never 100% satisfied with yourself or your work. Because deep down, you know you can be more. You’re proud not because you think you are the best. But because you believe this is just one step on your path toward greatness. In a sense, this is a form of conceit. It’s almost delusional. You set a high bar for yourself without any real proof you are capable of reaching it. But it’s that delusional sense of pride that helps you grow. Pride isn’t just about what you’ve already done. It’s about what you’ll do next.
Being content with what you’ve made, who you are or how far you’ve come is important. Minimizing shame and insecurity is necessary for a happy existence. Loving ourselves makes the world a better place. But if we stop there, we’ll miss out on so much potential.
With a healthy sense of pride comes humility. It's recognizing our flaws and accepting who we are. And at the same time, knowing we can be better.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!