I hear this a time or two every week from YouTube commentators. I think I woke them up with the PSA I introduced this video with (first :34):
Funny thing is, the only people who are offended by stuff like that are the very people I pre-empted with the PSA. And they say I should be more humble because… why? So they can feel comfortable criticizing someone who is 100x better than they will ever be in this particular area. That could sound “cocky” to you. Oh well, too bad — it’s the truth.
(BTW, I am not one to only notice a couple of weeds in a beautiful garden — I have way more fans who like and appreciate my vids/style than clowns who throw salt in the game. I am addressing this because it should be addressed and I have a thoughtful angle — I think — on the topic, not because I rail against my naysayers in lieu of paying attention to the people who bring positive energy to my work/day).
Reading this article by Jason Whitlock on RGIII, he made a great point about athletes: Cockiness and arrogance and swagger are what you see on game day (and figuratively speaking, “game day” can be read as any performance in front of an audience. We/I do much more away from the cameras than we do in front of them) — we need it to perform at a high level in front of all those people. The other 6 days of the week (in NFL football speak)? Humility is what gets us out of bed for practice. All those drills ain’t done out of cockiness — it’s humility that tells us we need to do them, to make sure the next guy doesn’t kick our ass in the next game. The discipline to take care of our bodies in the gym and at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table — there is no swagger in doing that; we do that so we have the energy to not get dunked on and end up on Sportscenter or someone’s YouTube Mix. Getting up every day and working out for hours in your sport when you have no idea when or if your next playing job will be — that’s not arrogance. That’s dedication. That’s hard fucking work, both physically and mentally.
That’s the kind of work I’ve been doing for years, which gives me the cache to tell some clown on his couch to kiss my ass if he thinks he can tell me how to work in my sport when I do this better than he does anything. Again, it may sound cocky to you, but it’s the damn truth.
To get to even where I am in basketball I beat steep odds. 15 years ago, everyone my age in my neighborhood was better than me. None of them are playing significant ball anymore. None of them is known, outside of their circle of friends, for their game anymore. I was cocky back then, before I was even good. I set the bar high with that cockiness, forcing myself to reach it or fall flat on my face. That attitude got me onto college teams and into the pros and reaching that bar gave me the confidence to put 3,500+ videos online and share what I know/do with the masses of up-and-coming players who lack guidance in the game, just like I lacked guidance. Do I expect any of you to be like me? No — and I don’t want you to. Be like you. That is your best and only chance of winning in this world, because you cannot possibly lose at that: There’s no competition.
Just because someone says “I feel blessed” or “I’m so grateful for this opportunity” or they smile a lot or don’t reply to internet shit-talking does not make this person “humble”. Trust me, anyone who is great at what they do feels the same way I expressed in that PSA. Not everyone is like me, though, when it comes to expressing those sentiments. The difference is, I have a very direct style of communication — I’ll tell you that PSA message right to your face, your feelings and opinions be damned.
If you’re gonna be great at whatever it is you do, you better be arrogant about it — in your mind at least. Humble thoughts reap the wages of humility. Reasonable mindsets lead to reasonable lives and reasonable deaths. I often I see the internet meme and hear the cliché:
I’d rather be a lion for a day than a lamb that lives forever
Yet when people see or hear the actions of that lion, they can’t believe it. “Be more of sheep! Who do you think you are?!”
The person humble enough to do the amount of work that allows me to be cocky. Who are you?