One hundred years ago today, the unsinkable ship sunk. One hundred years ago today, 1,500 people perished because of mishaps that occurred due to excessive pride.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Titanic, the Hindenburg, and events that surround these types of human accomplishments. It was particularly interesting to me how The History Press gave a detailed account of the Titanic’s doomed voyage with their Twitter account @TitanicRealTime. It is almost like you were there and got to relive it. It made it more real for me than James Cameron’s Titanic could — even in 3D!
But, this article from Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald made me think about the meaning of the Titanic’s sinking more deeply. As Pitts writes:
The great ship represented another wonder in an era rife with them, a marvel of technology and a model of humanity’s ability to master its own environment. She was the ultimate expression of the age, the ship they said God Himself could not sink.
How bitter those words must have tasted as they were swallowed, as humility was imposed upon humanity.
After reading this article, especially the portion above, I asked myself — have we changed in the last 100 years?
The answer, obviously, is no. A BIG NO! We are still the same unabashedly overconfident human beings we were then and have been for centuries. We think real estate bubbles don’t burst and home values always rise. We think governments can be run through deficit spending and bloated debt levels. We still think we need to keep up with the neighbors to have any sense of self-worth. We think nothing bad can happen to us.
This is even more true for my generation — Generation Y. We EXPECTED to have jobs after college. We thought we could major in the arts and humanities (because business is evil) and could save the world. We thought we could take out thousands of dollars in student loans — and have other people pay it off for us. How humble are we?
The lesson to be learned here is that excessive pride (hubris) will ALWAYS lead to our downfall. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s inevitable. This is what lead to the fall of the Roman Empire, to the sinking of Titanic, and what could ultimately lead to the fall of the United States. Greece, France, and the Eurozone are well on their way as well!
If you’re overconfident with your personal finances, you will lose sight of your goals and fall back into debt. If you’re overconfident with your business as an entrepreneur, your lack of humility will make you feel your competitors can’t touch you. Overconfidence begets laziness. When you’re overconfident, you think nothing will touch you. Where before you were more attentive and humble, you neglect areas that were once of great concern. You get lazy.
As the head of a household that handle’s a family’s finances, you’re RESPONSIBLE for the financial fate of the other family members. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you’re RESPONSIBLE for your customers and your employees. If you bring excessive pride into either of these areas in your life, you can EXPECT to fail. But, you’re not only going to affect your own life. You will be affecting the lives of others.
That is the takeaway from all of this. Excessive pride lead to the deaths of 1,500 people. Excessive pride made the Titanic sinkable.
Don’t let pride and a lack of humility sink your ship and banish your dreams to the bottom of life’s great ocean.