Arrogance can be very useful. A firm confidence in yourself may be all that you have to sustain you in difficult times. This is even more critical during times when you go against the throng, or of assault upon your sense of worth. An important key to this is self-knowledge. If you know yourself well, act to improve yourself, and don't expect perfection then it is difficult to attack your image.

The primary rule for creative arrogance is: "Never take yourself too seriously." Do not confuse excellence with perfection. Your confidence should stem from a firm knowledge of yourself and good judgement. It is the process, not the results, of which you should be certain. This confidence in the process should not blind you for the possibilities for error. Your opinions and defenses should be reasoned and flexible instead of dogmatic, and you should always listen to criticisms. They might be accurate. The difference between unbearable, overweening arrogance and healthy confidence lies mostly in attitude and an ability to make admit mistakes.

Much of the quality of excellence is built on the principle of recognizing and correcting mistakes. Mistakes should be avoided when possible but you should be more interested in pursuing excellence than in defending your ego. A strong ego is the one that needs the least defense. Humility need not imply a low self-worth, but merely reveals a low need for general approbation. All people need some support but assurance and a strong self-image can shield you from a great deal of social pressure. Your ego should be strong enough to allow you to do the right thing.

If you limit the number of people about whose opinions you care then you have minimized the social pressure on you without cutting yourself off from all outside opinion. Limiting that number also makes it more different to anger you. People who can't reach your inner self with their games will often become angered and as you continue to observe them from your detached viewpoint they will often grow angrier. This smugness can be overdone easily and remove you completely from the realm of human interaction. Just retain your sense of humor and humanity.

The biggest strength of arrogance lies in giving you the ability to pursue your own goals and learn from your mistakes. Not having to strive for outside approval helps keep you from coming into conflict with people playing ego-gratification games. It is easier to yield if you realize the irrelevance of the game and have nothing to prove. Don't let your smugness interfere with your quest for excellence. The mark of the positively arrogant person is a relaxed yet effective demeanor, colored with humor.

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Copyright 2000 by Gregory R. Gagnon