Enter 2018 with... appropriate... humility / by Will Ringland

Politics aside (like really, really, far aside) events in the world for 2017 were objectively terrible. More terrorism, more disease, more economic disparity and inequality. The world could certainly be better in numerous ways.

And I, hardly, am perfect and certainly could have been better about many things. Just look at some of my low lights from the last 52 weeks of virtue grids

With all that failure, it’s useful to remind myself that I did accomplish some things too. It’s easy to focus on failure, especially those of us raised in the “always be better, anticipate everything” mentality of Midwestern upbringing. We could be looking at a list of 10 things, 8 of which we accomplished, and just stare at those two unfinished things and scream...


...at ourselves until the first dawn of 2019.

Eww can all agree that looking only on the good things we did, the accomplishments, is vanity. Rarely are we perfect but it is equally vain to ignore all our triumphs for any or all of our failures.

Consider that hubris is pride in one’s actions to the exclusion of all other things. Let me bust out a little Aristotle. Aristotle defined “hubris” as:

”... to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge.”

We can dwell in failure, really dig in and slop in the mud, the same way we can for success. This can create the same sort of self-satisfaction, though not positive in affect, as external hubris used as a violent act on another.

Let’s not do that to ourselves?

Let’s remember that we are human and that we we will mess up in our drive to be better and that’s ok. Let’s enter 2018 with a self-aware humility that recognizes the best and the worst of 2017 without bogging ourselves down on one part of it.

So, buck up. Make some goals and raise a drink to all the good we did in 2017.