Hello there! Welcome to my new series, Ask Dr Kat, a place to get your burning questions answered so you can create a truly remarkable life you love. Watch the video here!
Folks, today we’re going to talk about two little words that can literally crumble our achievements quicker than a crouton under a cement truck.
I’d like to set the scene by sharing a really cool study on arrogance, which is actually the complete opposite of what we’re going to be talking about today, which is humility.
But what exactly is arrogance? It’s time to geek out with today’s definition:
"Arrogance is a set of behaviors that communicates a person’s exaggerated sense of superiority, which is often accomplished by disparaging others (1)".
So essentially - we puff ourselves up while belittling other people. Not very kosher in my view.
So the study used an interesting method which got participants to watch vignettes acted out by actors, so think of it like short skits.
In each skit, one of the actors gave advice while the other actor received advice.
Participants then rated how arrogant the receiver was depending on how they accepted or rejected this advice.
Here’s the top 2 things that produced higher levels of perceived arrogance:
1st, If a person doesn’t know anything and they dismiss the advice provided by an expert, they’ll come across as arrogant.
An example of this might be if you wanted to become a singer and you blew off advice coming from Beyoncé.
And example of this might be if you won a gold metal and you said “of course I won, I’m the best.”
Which brings me to today’s anonymous question:
“How do I be happy with my little accomplishments?
Even with the smallest wins I still think "oh you could have done better / faster / neater"... Why can't I see and allow myself to feel and enjoy these little wins?”
Can you relate?
If you can, let me ask you all this very simple question:
if you were on a deserted island, and you were able to start a fire out of nothing but twigs, would you be proud of yourself?
Of course you would! You‘d be just like Tom Hanks in Castaway, dancing around like an idiot.
Which brings up a really important point: when it comes to being proud of ourselves, even if it’s just in our head, are we worried this will come across as arrogant to others?
More than likely, yes.
But as we just learned from the study - if you’ve achieved something, and you’re not rude about it - chances are, you’ll come across as genuinely happy for yourself.
Which leads me to today’s “put it into practice”.
Today’s practice is about removing two little words that crush our ability to celebrate our own achievements.
Are you ready for them? Here they are:
Let me give you an example.
You’ve just been nominated for your company’s top employee award as being the most effective salesperson on your team.
Here are 2 ways you can respond:
“Yes, but… I have a whole team helping me”.
“Wow, what an honour. And I’m so grateful to have the support of my team alongside me”.
You see what those two little words do?
They discount the positives and erase all the hard work you put into your accomplishment, and leave you feeling flatter than a pancake.
So your put it into practice tip of the day is this:
Cut “yes but” out of your vocabulary for good!
Because no winner in the history of mankind has ever belittled their efforts.
Have you ever pulled a ‘yes but’? I’d love for you to share your example in the comment section along with how you reframe this negative into a positive.
Last but not least, if you have something you’d like me to answer, simply submit your question using the link.
Best of all, you’re always welcome to keep your question anonymous, so go deep and ask big.
That’s it for now.
Until next time, a gentle reminder that if you’re still breathing, there is still time to change into the person you want to become.
(1) Johnson RE, Silverman SB, Shyamsunder A, Swee H-Y, Rodopman OB, Cho E, et al. Acting Superior But Actually Inferior?: Correlates and Consequences of Workplace Arrogance. Hum Perform. 2010;23:403–27.
Milyavsky M, Kruglanski AW, Chernikova M, Schori-Eyal N (2017) Evidence for arrogance: On the relative importance of expertise, outcome, and manner. PLOS ONE 12(7): e0180420. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180420