During cold winters, it's difficult to imagine what it's like to feel hot. During twenty years' unopposed dominance of a nation, it's hard to imagine being beaten by the opposition party. In neither case does failure to imagine a possibility have any bearing on its inevitability.  

For non-South Africans, please forgive a seemingly cryptic opening paragraph. My fellow countrymen, however, know only too well what I mean, after witnessing a historic election in which the once apparently unstoppable ANC government has been largely trounced in local elections around the nation. 

This brings us neatly on to the topic of hubris. 

Prior to the elections, the ANC sent out messages to its members from what can only be described as a position of arrogance. Despite over 700 counts of corruption against its poster child - our current president, Jacob Zuma - one of their tweets read, 'If you don't support Comrade Zuma, we don't want your vote!' 

...so they didn't get it. The approach backfired, as hubris generally does. 

I've always been an advocate of a strong viewpoint for thought-leaders, and I regularly argue against wishy-washy, politically correct messaging. Take a stand. Yet here's the distinction: When taking a stand, it has to be for something meritorious. When your strong stand is based on puff and spittle, rather than convictions for a cause, and when your ideology is exclusively self-serving, and not useful to others, you end up with...well...a losing party sending out poorly judged tweets. 

As you go about positioning yourself as an expert, this week I'd like you to ask yourself a philosophical question. It comes in two parts:

1. Am I taking a strong stance on something pertinent to my arena? But:

2. Is it meritorious, or am I simply being arrogant? 

One way to tell is to pose this hypothetical: If your point-of-view became global, would humanity benefit? Or would prosperity accrue to you alone? In the case of the former, congrats, you're championing a cause, and you should continue to fight for it. In the case of the latter, you might be a mini-dictator. And that's getting a lot less votes just lately. 

Stand for something worthwhile, without arrogance or hubris, and you just might become the greatest in your game. 


Douglas Kruger is a professional keynote speaker at conferences, and the author of five business books with Penguin. See him in action at www.douglaskruger.co.za