One significant life lesson I have become comfortable with is knowing the difference between caring about what people think and receiving constructive criticism. Haters gonna hate, but if you are constantly being told you’re an asshole, chances are you’re an asshole. The easiest way to develop a positive perspective on this situation is to cultivate a healthy ego. Arrogance is fragile and weak, and it’s usually the shield that protects a very, very fragile ego from the mean, mean world. Arrogance is fed with energy from the outside. Usually stolen from those more weak than the seeker. A healthy ego, much the same as The Drive, is fueled from the inside. It is built on confidence mixed with humility. Self confidence, self worth, self reliance, self sufficiency, etc., are all built from and help foster a healthy ego It does not require a victim. A healthy ego does not view itself as better than anyone, it is simply comfortable with itself. It feeds itself reassurance through the accomplishment of goals and various achievements. It uses itself as its yardstick of success.
It is easy to spot arrogance. It is the athlete who sees a novice doing something wrong and relishes the fact that it will be a chance for victory. One who possesses a healthy ego will reach out and help the novice, realizing being of service is good to all.
True confidence is exclusive to the healthy ego. It cannot truly be possessed in the company of arrogance. I have had the honor and privilege to know the greatest armwrestler of all time, John Brzenk. He is truly the essence of a healthy ego. Never has an athlete dominated a sport the way this man has for 3 decades. If there ever was fuel for arrogance it would be to have such a label. Yet I have never heard a word out of his mouth belittling anyone or viewing himself as superior. There is an impressive cool confidence about him that just oozes in all situations, but never even a hint of arrogance. YouTube this man if you are unfamiliar with him. A true ambassador to the sport of armwrestling, the Elite mentality, and to the human race. The world needs more examples like this man.
Nobody is 100% immune to having their ego assaulted, but the stronger it is the less you will face situations that can stall The Drive. Full speed ahead is the only gear we know. People will always try to bring down people who achieve when they do not. Keep The Drive alive and make sure the ego is healthy and being fed internally. Sure it feels good to be praised and encouraged, and soak it up when it is there. It won’t be long before someone tries to bring you down to their level because they are envious and jealous. Just make sure that you never stop giving them reason to be.
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“There is nothing wrong with a healthy ego.”—Lee Haney