Pride: Hubristic vs Authentic

While I was going through the course material for week 2, I realised how small and vague the line between Hubristic and Authentic pride is. ex: I loved volleyball since I was a kid but was not able to be a part of my school team as the standard was pretty high, but when I played with people outside my school(say kids from my neighborhood) I felt happy because I was able to keep up, thinking back this may be a mixture of hubristic and authentic pride. While authentic pride is encouraged to be made a part of your happiness definition( it is a part of my definition), I wonder how one can be weary of where their source of pride/happiness comes from?


An excellent question, Mervyn.


Hi Mervyn,

This is a really great question. It seems to me that defining what hubristic pride is, and what authentic pride is would be helpful. It’s like the idea that Raj talks about with happiness: it’s hard to know if what makes us happy until we have defined happiness for ourselves.

I found this great research paper that looked at the effects that authentic and hubristic pride have on delayed gratification. The researchers defined authentic pride as “the prosocial, achievement-oriented form of pride known as authentic pride”, and hubristic pride as “the self-aggrandizing, egotistical form of pride known as hubristic pride” (Ho, Tong, Jia, 2016).

Based on that I thought that the happiness and joy you gained from playing volleyball sounded like it fell into the authentic pride arena. But I guess it depends on how you approach your games. If you only care about winning at all costs and have to be the one that scores all the points, regardless of how experienced or excellent your teammates are, then that would go towards hubristic.

If you ever have a chance to watch Ted Lasso on Apple+, the character of Jamie Tartt oozes hubristic pride. Whereas the character of Dani Rojas oozes authentic pride.

Ho SY, Tong EM, Jia L. Authentic and hubristic pride: Differential effects on delay of gratification. Emotion. 2016 Dec;16(8):1147-1156. doi: 10.1037/emo0000179. Epub 2016 Oct 10. PMID: 27732013.


I will check that out! thanks!
It is hard not to give into hubristic pride, and even harder not to derive happiness from it. I guess from your example what would happen if Dani Rojas was put in the place of Jamie Tartt wherein he experiences hubristic pride, but then does he choose not to derive happiness? but if happiness does occur subconsciously, won’t it re-enforce his prior attitude?

I guess something that answers a part of this is gratitude, because this will attribute the happiness derived from the action towards other people, hence not re-enforcing the prior attitude.


I think it can be difficult to distinguish both types of pride. There seems to be some overlap between the two, and a blurry line separating them. But maybe a helpful heuristic is considering who you compare yourself against. Comparing yourself against your past self is probably a healthier option and more conducive to happiness. But this often requires introspection, which is a skill in itself.

I like the way David Malan puts it in CS50’s intro (another great online course): “What ultimately matters in this course is not so much where you end up relative to your classmates but where you end up relative to yourself when you first began.” I think it’s an all-around good approach, beyond the context of online courses.

That’s a great example!