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I'm sure all of us are familiar with the phrase "Pride comes before the fall." Interestingly enough, this common saying may hold some significant weight according to an article from The Speculator entitled: "On Wall Street, Pride Signals a Fall."

In this article, pride is referred to a hubris which is defined as: "Presumption, originally toward the gods; pride, excessive self-confidence." 

Looking at the world of business, we can see how hubris affects success. When businesses are doing well, their leaders often start to develop hubristic views. The hubris feeling often leads to boasting and a sense of feeling "above the world." This overconfidence and pride is often followed by a drop in business. 
To test this, The Speculator writers looked at magazine covers featuring CEO's and company leaders. Data showed that companies appearing on covers like Forbes and Time started doing worse after the issue was published. If we look at this, it seems to make sense. Someone who agrees to be on the cover of a prestigious magazine most likely thinks highly of themselves and their company. They are full of hubris, and that triggers their decline. The article then goes on to show similar results with companies who purchase stadiums and who start to take over other corporations.
This sense of hubris ties in directly with tragedy. If we consider Oedipus from Sophocles' play, we are shown a clear example of hubris. Oedipus is a powerful king and the savior of his people. He sees himself as a lofty individual, and in his efforts to prove his nobility, he uncovers the secret incest that brings shame upon him. Likewise, his brother-in-law/ uncle Kreon is also full of hubris in Antigone. He is very proud and eager to show his power by punishing Antigone for her crimes. In the end, his confident ways lead to the suicides of both his son and wife.

Hubris has left its mark upon once-successful individuals. Its distinct ability to cause destruction is a good indicator to us all that we need to eat our daily helping of humble pie.
 
  In this video, Alain De Botton shares quite a bit of insight about how we as humans view success and failure. He also ties in how literary tragedy relates to all of this.
    First, De Botton states that in our modern times, career anxiety has become increasingly common. Everyone experiences an inevitable moment when, "...what we thought we knew about our lives, about our careers, comes into contact with a threatening sort of reality..." 
    He says that one of the reasons we feel this anxiety is because of snobbery around us. He defines a "snob" as someone who uses only a small part of you to judge who you are entirely. Essentially, the respect they show you is directly related to how much power your position holds. I can relate to this (as I am sure many of us can) and I find this definition for snobbery very fitting. In my own life I have let others' opinion of me cause me to feel like a failure. 
    Another reason for this anxiety is that we have extremely high hopes for our careers. In this day and age, people are essentially equal, so there is more competition. With this equality also comes envy. This envy is rooted in our societal definitions of success versus failure.

We live in a meritocratic society, which means we believe that people become successful because of their talent and hard work. People are successful because they deserve it. The problem with this philosophy is that if you base success on merit you are also saying that those at the bottom, the "losers", deserve to be there as well. This is cruel because we cannot be successful at everything, and we shouldn't be labeled as losers because of the things we fail at.
    If this were true, all of the heroes in tragic works would be losers. We cannot say they are losers simply because they lost. De Botton explains that tragedy is an art showing how people fail, and it allows them sympathy. The reason we want to label characters like Hamlet as losers is because our ideas of success and failure come from people other than ourselves. Our families, traditions, and media force ideas of these concepts upon us. De Botton stresses that we need to get rid of these ideas and define success and failure for ourselves.

What I have taken away from this video is the realization that failure and success are in the eye of the beholder. Just because I may not live up to society's ideal image, does not mean that I have failed. Basically, my own opinions determine whether I have succeeded or failed.