“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”C.S. Lewis
Many men are competitive. In fact drive is an important part of manhood. There are too many men who have lost their drive. Some may have been driven in the past, but life has beaten it out of them. Others may be driven but in the wrong pursuits. We can’t minimize the importance of drive in the pursuit of holistic manhood.
But left unchecked, drive can also become the fuel in the engine of pride. The bad kind of pride that we talked about in this week’s podcast, the kind that elevates yourself over others is often driven by comparison.
Comparison can be devastating, if not deadly. I find myself getting caught up in it all the time. I look at others in my profession, compare my success (or more accurately, lack of success) with theirs and all of a sudden I find myself driven. But, I’m not usually purpose driven, I’m proving myself driven. I want to prove to others that I’m just as good as others.
Now, I think there can be a positive side of this kind of drive.Being in relationship with others in your field and driving each other through some agreed upon competition can be a good thing. But it’s the unknown, unspoken competition that I think can be dangerous.
This unspoken competition can drive us to view people as something we must conquer. Instead of facilitating us in healthy competition, they become the enemy we must defeat. And it’s not just in business that we do this.
We do this with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. When our pride drives us to need to be the “king of the hill”, it almost always brings about vilification of the people we are supposed to care about the most.
The question is: Are you competing with the other men in your life because it makes you a better man, or are you competing with them to defeat them? Are you comparing yourself to other men because you must have more, do more, be more than they or are you comparing yourself to them because you see by comparison areas you can improve?