//When has pride pushed you back?

When has pride pushed you back?


Has pride ever prevented you from moving forward and instead pushed you back?

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.


Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

Books read by Subir

It’s wonderful to have pride in your work, or to be proud of your children. But pride has a dark side, called “ego”. If left unchecked, your ego can get in the way of being straightforward.

Pride exists at the organizational level and can just as easily become tainted.  Think about it.  How many times have you witnessed senior level executives not acknowledging a problem? The reason?  Pride.  Ego.  They don’t want to admit that there is a problem because of ego:  someone else will think they’re weak, or that they’ll lose face.  To admit your decision was wrong means you are weak, correct?  Absolutely the opposite!

I once shared with a head of product development that I had saved another organization a billion dollars through our company’s work.  I even showed him an article that backed up my statement.  I had been wanting to work with his organization, so I thought this would be a good way to break the ice.  When we met, I told him that I was confident I could save his organization $500 million. He told me they were already doing well, and even intimated that the other company had “faked” the data.

Yes, he used the word “fake”.

You can only imagine what I was thinking in that moment.  I asked him if he realized he had just accused me of cheating. To his credit, this guy quickly apologized, but again told me they were doing well. My instincts told me his ego was getting in the way of admitting they could be doing better.  In his mind, admitting his organization could be doing better meant he had somehow failed.

I pushed him and asked him if he was saying there was absolutely no room for improvement. He told me that, of course, there is always room for improvement. I asked him if he was afraid to admit he could use help. After a pause, he responded that he was, indeed, concerned to admit he could use some help.

You can’t fix a problem if you deny it exists.  If you allow your ego to get in the way, you’ll never move forward. When was the last time pride prevented you from moving forward, and instead pushed you back?

A musician that made a difference

One of the most memorable days of my life was meeting my favorite musician, Pandit Ravi Shankar, the legendary Sitar Maestro. Nearly half a century earlier, George Harrison of The Beatles traveled to India to learn sitar from him. A friendship formed, and it reshaped aspects of The Beatles music. Likewise, Ravi’s music had a huge impact on my own life.

Fear freezes your ability to be straightforward

When we are scared, nervous, or afraid, we shut out the outside world.  We become less open and transparent. Instead of accepting our true selves, and admitting that we are afraid, we put up a wall designed to keep out the truth.  We make things up to compensate—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. We lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest. Fear can undermine openness and honesty in anyone—including me!

Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley

The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Berkeley has an ambitious mission ahead. At the top of their list are innovative projects that aim to improve garment-industry safety, apps to solve social problems, and gathering data on antibiotic-resistant bacteria found on fruits and vegetables. And that's only a month after it opened on March 30.

The difference between process and people

Part of having a caring mindset is being thoughtful. And you can’t be thoughtful if you’re overextended or overcommitted. When I need to recharge my batteries, I usually go for a long walk. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with one of my kids. I always end up feeling refreshed and reenergized when I return.