Pride comes before the fall. An all too familiar adage, but we often overlook the warning. We stroke our egos by convincing ourselves we’re better than we are, nodding as we listen to these sweet lies we tell ourselves.
It’s these embellished stories of self-worth that topples careers and cripples empires. It’s how teams go from super bowl contenders to cellar-dwelling losers and how lottery winners turn into penny-less bankrupts.
We’re all culprits of writing these puffed up tales. They’re stories of great battles yet to be fought, and missions gone unaccomplished. Unfortunately, it’s these thoughts that pen us into the authors of our defeat.
Learning to corral these thoughts and humbling ourselves is critical to gain any traction in our life, career, and future. If we are to exceed expectations we have to see the reality of the world around us. These facts ground us to the truth so we can accurately assess the situation for what it is.
When we remove our head from the clouds of arrogance we get to work, we take action, and real progress is made. Instead of giving into to these innermost thoughts we sit in the lab and work on our latest creation. These are the moments when we distance ourselves from the pack and break into the threshold our real potential.
Everything else is just aspirations yet to be forged in the fabric of life. We talk in detail about our dreams to those around us, but it’s far more important to show them. We must strive to become men and women who can say I have, rather than I will.
For example, Kobe Bryant one of the greatest NBA players was humble enough to know that he could always improve and it showed in his workout regiment.
There’s a story of Kobe during the 2008 Olympic where he woke up a trainer to run drills at 4 AM. Upon entering the gym, Kobe was soaked in sweat, already deep into a workout. The trainer did some conditioning with him and later left to catch some sleep.
When the trainer returned to the gym at 11 A.M. later that day, Kobe was still there shooting his 800 shots. At the time Kobe was a 3-time champion, two-time scoring leader, and a ten-time all-star. He was an already an established player with nothing to prove, but yet he self-assessed, he worked, and he grinded.
The difference between Kobe and most people is that he does not rely on past glories to carry him to the future. Rather than resting on his laurel, he works today so he could have a better tomorrow. His ability to analyze and improve is what made him so great.
We too must learn to self-assess and divvy up the truth from our stories. We must become critical of ourselves to become great, be honest and don’t puff up the facts. Let’s face it, we do it all the time, but we got to ask ourselves, are we Stoic thinkers because we have a clever Facebook status? Are we photographers because we own a Canon camera? Are we entrepreneurs because we struck it out on our own?
These are the questions we must answer, if not we run the risk of ruining our progress in the process. Look at the facts, self-asses, and adjust accordingly. Just know that impressing ourselves is far different than being truly impressive.