Recently someone told me I was arrogant.
At first, I was a little taken back. How could I, the fun-loving guy who still wears superhero t-shirts to bed and enjoys a little bit of self-depreciating humour, be arrogant?
The person then went on to mention that “you may be smarter, bigger and stronger than most people but you don’t have to go around letting everybody know.”
Honestly, I’m not sure if they kept on with the tirade- I tuned out once I heard how great I was.
Arrogant yet unrepentant
It wasn’t until I grunted heavily, swore at the bar, cursed the heavens and ripped the 230kg bar off the ground that I noticed something.
They were right.
Just before my attempt, I had bounced around the gym like the Tasmanian Devil hyped up on too much Red Bull, shouting at people and making a scene as if I was Lindsay Lohan leaving a court hearing club.
I was arrogant.
Then, moments later, as my quivering neurons and muscle fibres were recovering from my max effort attempt, I decided to put 240kg on the bar.
With a sound that would make Chewbacca proud, I grappled with the weight, getting it to my shins before, unfortunately, my body said no more and forced me to drop the weight, crashing it back to the floor.
As I sat there, cursing my failed attempt, I realised something.
If I didn’t have any arrogance about me, then I’d never accomplish anything. I would never have attempted a PR, started writing, or strived to be better than the me of yesterday.
Yes, I had some arrogance about me and I’m damn sure glad about it.
My new motto in life
Frank Lloyd Wright, the guy who invented the Aeroplane which, without him, would have meant no ‘Snakes on a Plane’, said:
“Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.”
Nobody gets anywhere in life by pretending they aren’t great at something when they are.
What if LeBron James had shied away from the spotlight? Or if Michael Jordan refused to take all those last minute shots? What if Steve Jobs had never branched out from Microsoft because he thought he could do more?
Of course, I’d never imply that my arrogance is THAT out of control that I’d compare myself to LeBron, Jordan or Jobs, but everyone needs a bit of unabashed swagger- it’s what drives us to succeed, to be better than yesterday, it attracts members of the opposite sex and allows us to be the alpha version of ourselves…
… As long as it’s honest.
Nobody likes the guy who walks around the gym claiming he can bench three plates only to need three people to bicep curl the weight off of his crushed sternum.
Don’t be that guy.
Nobody wants to be that guy, and that’s why I’ve devised my new motto:
Be arrogant in belief, humble in victory and demonstrate humility in defeat
Like I said, whether your goal is to bed every woman on the Maxim Hot 100 list (seriously, Miley Cyrus at number 1?) or simply up your PB’s in the gym, if you don’t believe that you can do it, you won’t.
It’s that simple.
However, on the off chance that you do find yourself breaking World Records or ticking names off of a list, not everybody needs to know about it.
In all likelihood, there is a cast of nearly hundreds that have helped you get there. Nobody likes the actor who stands up to receive his or her Oscar, refuses to thank anyone and then sits back down.
And lastly, we all go down in flames sometimes. It’s part of growing as a human. It is from our losses we learn, evolve and, like the Phoenix, become reborn better and stronger than before.
Acknowledge the times when you’ve been beaten, thank your competition and show grace in the face of defeat.
Do you have a motto?
Most people flounder through life wholly and blissfully unaware of their full potential. Instead of setting goals, they are happy to struggle through on a day-to-day basis.
I’d urge you to now think of a motto- something original- that you can live your life by.
Something you can draw strength from and something that will help you persevere in tough times.