How To Deal With Arrogance

The world sure does have its fair share of douchebags.

If you meet a lot of people, you know this of course. I’m not teaching you anything. Those of us that travel for a living have to contend with all kinds of people and take it in stride. We get better at it but things can still hit us the wrong way.

I’d argue that most people in social media are actually pretty sensitive, so we get get hurt more than we would probably like to admit to.

The position I’ve started to take with those that are arrogant is that they’re simply on the defense with their views. They’re not into questioning them; they’ve already decided they’re right and they’re unlikely to change.

In fact, I largely divide the world into those on offense and those on defense, but that’s another idea altogether.

Anyway, your first line of defense (heh) when dealing with arrogance should always be the shrug, which says “he’s an asshole, but I’m brushing it off.” It’s an important idea because the more we think about how someone upset us, the more mindspace and energy we give it. The more we give it our attention, the more power it has.

What arrogance effectively tells you, when you read between the lines, is: “I am done learning on this subject. I’ve learned enough. I know what I need to.” Humility says the opposite.

Often, we don’t know what we, ourselves, are expressing to others when we take a certain stance. This is one of those times. It applies to others, but also ourselves.

Next time you’re in a debate, ask yourself if someone is on offense or defense. If they’re neither, then you know you have someone you can learn from (and vice-versa). The calmest ones are always the most certain– and the arrogant are not calm.

Maybe that’s why they’re arrogant– maybe they aren’t so sure themselves?





6 responses to “How To Deal With Arrogance”

  1. John McLachlan Avatar

    Going back to your previous post about learning from nature, I think being defensive (or arrogant) is fear similar to how my dog will bark or show aggression when he feels scared. I think people do the same thing.

  2. Scott Gould Avatar


    Thank you for this. I’ll be quite honest and say I’m often the arrogant one – not a loud and proud arrogant one, but just this subtle hint that pokes up here and there.

    You’re right – arrogance says “I’ve arrived” – this is a useful insight for me and one that I can feel already is helping me over come this.

    Thank you,

    1. Julien Avatar

      No problem Scott, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. arun Avatar

    So, we have decided that arrogant people are wrong? Arrogance sometimes comes from helplessness.

    I often take arrogant and aggressive people as serious as others. Because if I don’t, I will be a victim of taking things emotionally – not logically. There may be hundred reasons why one sounds arrogant. But what’s my ONE reason behind thinking that what he says is not important, or even untrue?

    Sorry if I sound arrogant. I was just saving time by NOT beating around the bush praising you.

  4. Danielle MacInnis Avatar

    Here is Seth’s view on it
    This is a fear and a paradox of doing work that’s important.
    A fear because so many of us are raised to avoid appearing arrogant. Being called arrogant is a terrible slur, it means that you’re not only a failure, but a poser as well.
    It’s a paradox, though, because the confidence and attitude that goes with bringing a new idea into the world (“hey, listen to this,”) is a hair’s breadth away, or at least sometimes it feels that way, from being arrogant.
    And so we keep our head down. Better, they say, to be invisible and non-contributing than risk being arrogant.
    That feels like a selfish, cowardly cop out to me. Better, I think, to make a difference and run the risk of failing sometimes, of being made fun of, and yes, appearing arrogant. It’s far better than the alternative.”
    Kind of changed my view of so called arrogant people.

  5. Johnny5 Avatar

    I love it when people say that there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. The reality is that there is a gapping gorge between the two. Being arrogant is nothing more than a contrived defense mechanism for people who feel inferior, unimportant and threatened. I have met droves of people who are boastful of their arrogant façade, but not too far below the surface is often self doubt, low self esteem and inner turmoil.

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