Cultivate Your Ego

If you do not think you are the shit, nobody else will either. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to do it to a point that is beyond rational. I get accused of being arrogant from time to time, and maybe the accusers are right. I am strong, not by accident, but because I worked my ass off for decades to get that way. I am stronger and better than most of the world at a few specific things. I don’t believe that those facts alone make me more important than anyone else, and I don’t believe that my life is necessarily more valuable than anyone else’s. However, I sure as shit believe that I’m entitled to feel proud of myself. Anyone who has spent any appreciable amount of time succeeding should be proud, too. And yet, in feeling pride in myself and in my accomplishments, I have to fight against American culture’s unspoken rule that it’s wrong to acknowledge my own successes. Somewhere along the line, we’ve confused the honor and dignity that accompany pride with the buffoonery and brashness that accompany conceit, and, on the way, self-effacement and masochism have taken the place of true humility.

Your self-perception is best served by a little bit of delusion—there can’t be any limit to what you perceive yourself capable of. Instead, clarify your ideal vision of success and then step backwards to your current level. By following these steps forward, you’ll reach toward those unreachable limits one step at a time, one day at a time. Obviously, a solid understanding of the laws of physics and logic and the application of such before and during daring attempts shows intellect and will be the best avenue for safety, but anything that can be envisioned can be achieved by working backwards and breaking the path down into manageable steps. Every single goal that has ever been accomplished, in the entire history of mankind, began as unthinkable and unreachable . . . right up until the moment when one person did it. Once that one person does the impossible, it suddenly becomes fully possible, something that anyone could do. This one act unlocks a door so that the mind can begin to wrap itself around the unthinkable.

My little two-step process for keeping my ego out of control is this:

  1. If it is something that has never been done before, I think to myself, “I can do that.” Then I begin working backwards, cultivating a plan.
  2. If it is something that someone else has done before, then I ask myself, “Does that person possess an appendage that I do not?” If someone was able to fly, and he had wings while I do not, then I might be willing to admit defeat. However, unless someone has an appendage I do not, then I see no reason to limit myself.

I don’t allow myself to be constrained by any self-doubt. I’m only constrained by how hard I’m willing to work, and I’m willing to work as hard as I have to. My drive is only limited by the scope of my vision. I erase limits from my mind so that I can truly become something more.

Today I will do what others won't so tomorrow I can do what others can'tNow, here is the tricky part: Do you really believe you are capable of anything you put your mind to? Do you really believe that you possess unlimited potential? If you do not believe these things, then you are correct. But—and this is a but of Kardashian proportions—if you do believe these things, then you are also correct, to the degree that you wish to push yourself. The intended audience of this blog is NOT the folks who are content with mediocrity, with living within the mass expectations of reality. The people I want to reach with this blog are the people who strive to improve themselves every day. Yes, on a Dalai Lama level, we are all completely equal. But the reality is that only those few who push themselves beyond the commonly accepted visions of limitation are the people that we laud as heroes, innovators, and role models. Those are the people that continually remold our understanding of what is possible.

Our present choices need to be activated by our goals for the future, both personal and communal, not stymied by setbacks of the past. Imagine how crazy the first person to try swimming must have seemed to the chumps who had only ever experienced fear of the water. Maybe no other people were swimming, but other “things” were swimming. That first swimmer would have known, based on observation and experimentation, that water wasn’t poison. And maybe that observation was enough to spark an idea, a thought process that began something like, “Maybe this will work . . . Ouch! Nope, guess not. Well, how about this? Hell! Would you look at this?! Hey, everybody, I’m water flying!!!!! You guys have to try this!!!!!!” In the future that I envision, children will graduate from high school with a knowledge and skill base equivalent to today’s master’s degree. Throughout the course of this education, they’ll be encouraged to identify their passions and natural strengths, and they’ll receive opportunities to develop themselves physically to new levels of ideal. Given the proper facilities combined with the encouragement of supportive teachers and coaches, my vision would be possible within 80 years.

I believe that everyone in the human race is capable of things beyond imagination—things we haven’t even thought of as fantasy yet are within our reach at the shiny end of the intelligence spectrum. But on the other hand, we limit ourselves by what we believe we can or can’t do. After all, how many people attempt activities that are even mildly impressive, things like handstands or juggling? To lend some perspective to your understanding of what people are capable of, just YouTube “people are amazing”—you’ll find video after video of feats of coordination and extreme performance that will shatter any notions that you have of limits. I just watched two of these videos. One was a kid solving a Rubik’s cube in 5 seconds, and the other was a rocket landing precisely back on its launch pad. WTF?! These videos show people who do not think in terms of limits. Do not let the limitations imposed by self-doubt creep into your creative thinking or into your perception of your capabilities.

Leave any comment, question, or suggestion here on the blog or email me at jbrandonhall78@gmail.com if you want to continue this discussion or pursue my online coaching. I would love to hear from you.

“Stay thirsty, my friends.”—The Most Interesting Man Alive

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