We care a lot about finding people who are brilliant, who get things done, who make a difference. We care a lot about finding a stage-play writer with talent, a doctor who can cure us, a programmer who can get the thing to work.
Along the way, many of the talented people who are able to do work like this develop affectations, obsessions and even obnoxious qualities. They might demand an over-equipped dressing room or a private jet or merely be difficult in meetings and conversations (or show up late, which is almost as bad).
We often put up with this, because, after all, they are superstars, right?
Somewhere along the way, we confused the signals with the work, we confuse random flashes of brilliance with brilliance, we confuse diva tendencies with being a well-mannered diva.
Now there are people who start with the bad behavior and the affectations, hoping that it will be seen as a sign of insight and talent. And they often get away with it. “Who’s that?” we wonder… “I don’t know, but they must be good at what they do, because why else would we put up with them?” It’s a great plan when it works, but I don’t think it’s a strategy to be counted on.
An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life of becoming a better person.
The key to getting a reputation for being brilliant is actually being brilliant, not just acting like you are.