Saturday, June 18, 2011

people observation #18: too cocky for his caliber.

First I'm going to clarify that being cocky is never cool. I don't care if you just graduated from the first grade. I don't care if you just graduated first in your class at Harvard law after winning the Nobel Prize for your finding a solution to world hunger all while (very much so) enjoying your first season with the Boston Bruins. It is never justified. It's just annoying.

That being said, I'm going to begin with a little background.

I come from a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. It is a great place to grow up: very safe, education is important, we're healthy, we're cute, it's the midwest.

I had an awesome childhood where our parents would let us maniacally jaunt the neighborhood all day. The scariest person we would ever come in contact with was the ice cream man, and he was giving us ice cream for gods sake (he'd yell at you if you didn't put your buck-fifty into his scraped-up knuckley hands).

Somewhere around middle school though, the words of our first grade guidance counselor begin to snowball in our minds.

"You are special. You are unique. You are special. special special SPECIAL!"

and just like that my hometown became a breeding ground for all things douche.

I have no animosity towards the methodology of the parents and teachers in my hometown; most of us go to college, most of us don't end up working a corner. That being said there is a trend among my classmates that I've never neglected to notice, a sort of cocky way of carrying oneself like he or she is the most beautiful, brilliant, and brawny thing on the planet- but here's the catch- he or she is not.

And that's where my observation comes into play, too cocky for his caliber.

The irony is that I believe cockiness comes from insecurity. Whether it is the understanding of our own mediocrity, the fear that other people will realize our humanity, or a combination of the two, I find the tooting of one's horn to be an echo of such emotion.


The "I'm going to intimidate this person with my puffed out chest before they can intimidate me" philosophy.

The only thing I have to say about this is that it's stupid. There is no other word to describe it. It is stupid.

Nothing is accomplished, nothing is better in this world because of one's cockiness.

And I'm not saying don't hold your head high. Because confidence can and will be the difference between your success and failure. But do it in humility. And be willing to listen to others. Because everyone is smarter than you or better at you or more experienced than you in

And I'm not saying don't be proud of your accomplishments, it's okay to take a step back when you're finished with a project and just admire your hard work. But again, do it in humility.

So I came to college from a town where people seemed to be put into the arrogance machine and popping out at record speeds. But then I realized that every town seemed to have an arrogance machine. And there were citizens of the too-cocky-for-his-caliber nation everywhere. And I realize there always will be.

So what am I to do?

Sure, I can take advice of my first grade guidance counselor's purple puppet and don't forget that I'm special. (Finding your unique qualities is what is going to make you stand out in whatever competitive field you're working with.)

But I can also not let myself be intimidated or felt small by another's presumptuousness. They are too cocky for their caliber. They are the manager at a business in Columbus, Ohio.
They were the captain of the Division 3 high school baseball team. They got an A once. I'm over it. The cocky individual hasn't anything to even back up his or her self-love, yet he or she wants everyone to kiss their ass. And I'm not puckering.

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