The Seventh Deadly Sin: Pride
“Overconfidence precedes carelessness,” said Toba Beta, an Indonesian author. Hubris is one of the seven deadly sins in Christian ethics. Today we typically call it being cocky, something generally seen as excessive arrogance or pride.
Our past has been full of hubris. For example, our “most powerful nation” status went to our heads in the Cold War. We raced for arms and against another ideology rather than attempting to compromise, so sure of ourselves that we told the world democracy was the only way to go. An even earlier example was Hitler thinking he was strong enough to defeat Russia on their own soil. His confidence was warranted, given his success, but his success clouded his judgement in the same way the Russian Winter clouded Germany’s hopes.
With one breath, people tell others not to lack self-confidence and to never doubt themselves. However, if someone says they will never doubt themselves, it provokes a negative reaction in which people tell you to stop being cocky, to stop doing what they had told you to do in the first place. Then if the person begins to doubt again, it will begin the cycle all over again.
It is a hypocritical and endless cylinder that most people run in all of their lives. Note the cylinder, because there is a third side to this problem, and by far a better option between the two. It is a middle ground between the two. That is the middle ground where we all need to go. It is not any better to be over-cautious than it is to be overconfident.