Go Forth and Be Cocky

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I’ll never be satisfied with my life until someone calls me cocky.

I know that humility is a sought-after trait. I know that Christ taught us to be meek and humble. I know that nobody wants to be friends with the kid on the playground that brags about his game even though he can’t even shoot. I know that through humility, we grow. But too often, I see people take humility too far. They start believing that they aren’t actually any good at what they do. And that starts to seep into their work. And that’s not good.

We have forgotten the importance of self-confidence. We stress that everyone is a winner, that everyone’s work is equal—and let’s be honest, that’s a load of poo. In the real world, there are winners and losers. Someone will get to lead the next presentation at work. Someone will win that promotion. Only one person will be selected as team captain. Only one side will win the war. Are you really going to hurt your chances by thinking less of your abilities?

I competed in the music world when I was a kid. I met a lot of people while I was out for auditions and playing in groups. The best players are almost always the cockiest bastards that I’ve ever had the (mis?)pleasure of meeting. They knew they were good, and in the audition room they believed that they were invincible. That’s why they won everything. I know that every time I did well in an audition, I walked into that room thinking that I was top stuff. 

That said, if you talk of nothing but yourself, refuse to give credit to the people that helped you reach your goal, and actually stink at whatever it is you’re bragging about, nobody will ever talk to you. You’re only the star in your life; to everyone else, you’re a co-star at best.

There’s a way to be successfully humble. There’s a way to acknowledge that you are not a god, that you have a lot more to learn and achieve. I don’t know if I mentioned this when I spieled about Braden, but as cocky as he is during Monopoly games, he’s humble when it comes to running. He always credits his team members and his coaches for their massive part in each of his victories. He knows his competition. He judges fairly, and willingly admits when he had a bad race. But Braden does something that so many are forgetting to do: he pledges to make himself better. He puts on his game face and races his heart out like he is the best.

For one moment, right before a performance or test or competition, your thoughts are your own. You have to believe that you’re indestructible. You can’t pull any punches. You can’t let anyone intimidate you. You cannot be humble. Or else you will fail. And what kind of thanks is that to all those that helped you along the way?

If we end up with a world of unconfident, apologetic people with a little bit of talent, what kind of progress will we achieve? Go kick some serious butt at whatever it is you do. If not for yourself, than for all of those people you keep crediting for your work.