Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|August 23, 2022|3 Minutes|In Opinion


The sin of hubris is bad for your wealth.

It is a word taken from Greek tragedy that has been at the heart of a lot of African tragedies for entrepreneurs.

The  word is Hubris – the sin of pride that can destroy lives and fortunes.

Even if you don’t know the meaning of the word, there is a good chance that you may have fallen foul of it.

Your Hubris moment comes when your success goes to your head and clouds your judgment. It can turn a solid, focused, entrepreneur into a headless chicken. Under the influence of Hubris you can undo decades of hard work in a few frivolous months.

I have been interviewing entrepreneurs in Africa for more than 20 years and have heard them all when it comes to Hubris the damaging pride.

“We tried to grow too fast.”

That means you spent more money than you had and went bust.

“We weren’t going to listen to our over-cautious investors.”

You went into a business you didn’t know, with the false optimism of a fool, and lost your shirt.

“I wasn’t going to help him, by this time it was beneath me.”

You are cutting yourself off from the people who supported you and sustained you when you were building the business – a recipe for disaster. My grandmother always taught me to be nice to the people on the way up because you will meet them again on the way down.

“There were days of cigars and whiskey.”

You are wasting money celebrating success that has not yet earned enough to pay for the extravagance of Cuban smokes and smoky Scotch.

In short, Hubris lulls you into believing your own PR propaganda that says you know best and everyone else can go hang. You make decisions as if you are the only one who knows; any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you to think and listen before you act.

But overall take a deep breath and think before you act as an entrepreneur and proceed with humility. Avoid rash decisions and always respect your peers and take in advice along the way.

Avoid Hubris like a pothole in the road – in the long term, your bank balance could depend upon it.