I got my toes wet in “Well That Depends On Your Definition of Is“. Let’s go for a swim.
First of all, it’s hard to be humble when you’re great so this is probably going to read as though I might be a little arrogant. This is not the case at all, but it may seem so because you won’t know if I’m full of it or actually telling the truth – just giving the fair warning. It also must be stated that I have my moments of doubt, my character flaws and problems just like anyone else. I stink when I exercise and I put my pants on one leg at a time. There are a few things that separate me from the crowd, though they don’t place me above that crowd.
I know I’m awesome – or great, special, whatever you want to call it. I know it down to my baby toes. So how could that be, that one knows that he’s awesome down to his baby toes, whilst not being terribly wealthy, getting angry like everyone else from time to time, and generally doing a lot of the same things others do, and often not terribly well?
First of all, awesomeness – truly believing that you’re awesome has a lot to do with the definition of awesome. This is not a static thing, it’s going to change from person to person, depending on one’s life experience. My definition of awesome might raise or lower the bar when contrasted with another person’s (and I’ll get to that in a minute). Let’s look at the dictionary definition of Awesome:
- Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
- Extremely good; excellent.
When it comes to that definition of awesome, I meet or exceed that in a lot of ways. I’m an extremely good or excellent dad. There’s no doubt about it. My dad was an excellent dad, and I’m way better at this than he was. That’s not an arrogant statement, it’s just a fact. My dad did most of the things a dad should do for a family and he was one hell of a provider. I don’t make quite what he did in terms of money, but I’m a substantially better father and husband than he ever hoped to be, mainly because I’m stubbornly flexible, while he’s just stubborn. That’s just the way it is. I’m a decent business man, by all measures I’ve met all of the definition of exceptional. Sure I make mistakes from time to time, everyone does – the word perfect is never used in the definition of awesome though. I’m in awesome shape – of that there’s no doubt, so it can easily be said that my fitness is indeed awesome – does that mean that I’m the best or fastest? Of course not the word “best” never appears in the definition either. My writing skills? Well, you can have your way with that. I’ll survive.
Now, when one is content in their awesomeness, others will attempt to knock them down to size by pointing out flaws or defects in character, such as claiming one is arrogant for the sole, egregious act of being happy with who they are and accepting said awesomeness. This is purely projection: “I don’t feel that I’m awesome, therefore you can’t be either – and here’s why”. Think on that for a minute, the self-help industry – a multi-billion dollar industry – makes a living trying to get people to feel awesome about themselves… Someone finally makes it, and the rest that don’t, revolt. Most people can’t accept someone else being visibly happy with their awesomeness – at least not anyone close to them – and simply being happy with who you are is awesome in and of itself (if you back it up with what you do). Those who are removed by distance, emotional or physical, can be looked up to as examples of how it’s done, but only until someone finds a weakness in the armor and figures out how to tear them down, then the masses rejoice, for their mediocrity is then justified. Those who are immediate, on the other hand, are attacked vociferously for their contentedness from the beginning. Where this affects my awesomeness is if I believe the attacks. Being secure in one’s awesomeness is crucial.
There is a large factor that plays in one’s actually being awesome. Talkers are very rarely awesome – they are the arrogant folks that the normal folks will associate the truly awesome with. Sure the talker has a shot at greatness, but they’re usually too busy talking about how they’re going to get there, or how others got there, to actually do anything about it. No, if you’re going to make the attempt at being exceptional, you have a better shot if you’re a doer. When a “doer” does, he or she will run into a problems from time to time, but they begin by doing what it takes to achieve a desired result while others are still making a collage of what that success looks like for someone else. Off course, at some point during the journey, if trouble rears its ugly head, an assessment is made of the situation and the doer with then decides whether to continue on, try some other way, or move on to doing something else. If you were paying attention, you saw that right here on this blog. I began to work toward a goal of running a half Ironman. After a few weeks of training, I discovered that I couldn’t train the way I like to train, and I couldn’t meet my obligations (real and imagined) to my wife and children by continuing toward that goal. So I dropped the goal. The other-than-awesome associate this assessment of awesomeness with “quitting”. Usually because they’re ignorant of the surrounding issues, the less enlightened will drone on about how a person quit – this is almost always done as a defense mechanism to justify their own medi0crity. “After all, Jim can’t fit a half Ironman into his schedule so it’s no wonder I can’t get off the couch – I’m a lot busier than he is… Nom, nom, nom, nom”. Well, that’s all well and good, because there is a secret to awesomeness that makes all of that nonsensical chatter fade into the background:
My being awesome has nothing to do with anyone else. My being awesome doesn’t have anything to do with what someone else thinks of me either. It doesn’t rely on my comparing or contrasting myself -personally- with anyone else, other than my father (because other than God, he’s my only close example of what a father should be). My being awesome has to do with my being right with who I am and doing what needs to be done to excel. Period. The reason people like me are scorned as arrogant is because those who happen to be un-awesome simply don’t believe there’s anything they can do to be better than they are – so if I am happier with who I am than they may be with themselves, it therefore must be that I have an exaggerated opinion of myself because they won’t shed what it is that is holding them back: Actually doing.
I follow 71 blogs. I would bet that half of them have authors who are truly awesome people, of those 36, half might believe they’ve got some awesome in there somewhere and another half that might know it, but wouldn’t admit it to anyone else for fear of scorn, while only a handful are truly content in their awesomeness. Being awesome is good…and it’s not all that hard – I just have to show up and do my best. In business, there’s a saying: If you just show up you’ve beaten half of the population. If you work hard, you’ve beaten another 40%. The rest is just a dog-fight at the top. There’s a wealth of truth to that… So what’s it gonna be?
My decision to refrain from completing the half Ironman filtered like this: Can I still be awesome at being a father and a husband if I have to miss up to one more hour per day to get ready for the event? The answer was no. Can I still be an awesome provider for my family, thereby awesome at my job, if I have to miss time to train? The answer was no. Is there a reason that I must cross that finish line to maintain my awesomeness? The answer is no. Next…
Quitting is stopping because you “can’t” when you’re just not willing to apply yourself. Awesome is moving on to something else because you simply can’t shoe-horn in one more awesome thing into your already awesome life.
I should know, I used to be a quitter.
I absolutely love this post. You have a lot of awesome thoughts packed in there!
Thanks… I got nervous about using “awesome” one too many times in there, but I figured what the heck, you only live once. 😀
It was perfect! And you made the point well. The “only live once” comment reminds me of something a friend says when I complain about being tired. He tells me I need to push hard and keep running because I’ll have plenty of time to rest when I die. 🙂
That last point is absolutely right… I always say that I want to leave this world exhausted.
Great post! I plan on running one in May!
Love love love this post! Great writing, great thoughts. You have to feel awesome to be awesome, I would know, because I’m awesome myself! Thanks for your insight. It’s inspirational 🙂
Thank you for the kind words.
Quitting is not training properly, doing the race anyway and then stopping in the middle when you realize you are not prepared. Great post! I am single with no children and I feel bad I don’t have time to spend with my dogs. Working full time and training 10-15 hours a week is incredibly time consuming. I don’t know how people do it with families and train for a full iron distance. Children won’t speak with awe at how much their dad worked out, they will brag about how much their dad was there for them. You are awesome!
Thank you. It’s all about my girls. I’ve got my eldest fired up to do a mini-sprint with me this summer – she’s 8…It’s going to be fantastic.
I just think you’re awesome!
Thank you. It’s taken a lot of practice.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
I did enjoy the post and I don’t see an arrogance, only a confident man!
Well that was indeed awesome. We are often taught growing up to be docile, subservient, and humble and yet the luckiest ones are those that have parents and role models that tell them that it’s okay to be awesome. The self-esteem movement only makes sense if it is realistic. But I like your sentiment that you can be awesome independent of others. Giving everybody a first place ribbon is not realistic. There is a secret ingredient that Lance Armstrong and Steve Jobs have that make them excel far above others. I wish I could just get a whiff of that secret ingredient. Your blog post is on the right track, I think. Thanks for a great posting.
Thank you doctor.
Thanks for writing this. I have very low self-esteem and this helps me to steer myself, when appropriate, to say that I am awesome without feeling any sense of shame about doing so. I like this blog post and am going to re-post to my Twitter feed.
Glad you liked it, Floyd. I’m glad you liked it, and thanks for sharing it. 👍