Nothing can make you reevaluate your life quite like attending a party where most of the people are much more successful than you.

Not because it’s humbling. Not because it inspires you to do more or make more money (which is what too many people focus on in these situations)

But because occasionally you will run into someone–a person who has objectively done more or has more success than you will likely ever have–who, nevertheless….

-Has less swagger
-Talks less about themselves
-Is more interested in other people
-Is still willing to learn (has less emphatic opinions)
-Dominates the conversation less
-Undersells their accomplishments

You can’t run from or deny this–this implicit counterexample right there in front of you. It is a wordless indictment of you and the hubris and pride you’ve picked up over time.

And then you have to ask yourself, what’s my excuse? Where do I get off being such an asshole? It doesn’t look so good in comparison, does it?

Or I suppose you could miss all this or lie to yourself–giving yourself a bunch of disingenuous answers as to why you act like you do. But that’s another flaw on top of all the others.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.