Arrogance and Insecurity: Two Sides of the Same Coin
I didn't appreciate my instructor reprimanding me publicly for my arrogance. Unfortunately for my ego, she was right. She was holding me up as an example of a successful seminar leader doing it alone. She pointed out I was here for me and only me. I was out to prove something about myself, not to serve others. The more I tried to wiggle my way out of the conversation, the more obvious it became to the 100 other seminar leaders how my arrogance had me by the throat; like a fish flopping on the deck of the boat trying helplessly to get back into safer waters. But everyone else knew how fucked I was.
It was only when I admitted that I'd rather be right than face my weakness; that I don’t want to help others unless I will be praised for it, did I achieve any relief or distance from my arrogance. And therein lies my humanity. Arrogance has been a character defect I have exhibited for years. But where does it come from? Why is it so automatic? It all stems back to a deep sense of insecurity I feel about myself and my abilities.
Structures that are insecure are likely to break. Like the frame of a building built upon sand can't withstand a spring storm, my confidence would crumble at the first forecast of my ego being threatened. If you are insecure, you are more likely to break under the pressure of life. So it is a natural human response to counteract a sense of insecurity by constantly needing to prove to yourself and others that you've "got it", you're fine on your own, and you've made it without the help of others. If you can fool everyone else that you're brilliant, smart, handsome, and successful, maybe you can fool yourself. Maybe not.
Arrogance and insecurity are two sides of the same coin. I artificially inflate my own self-importance because I am not grounded in my own power, power that has been given to me through the decades of life experiences and rigorous training I have received.
Back to my instructor. Fortunately for my higher self, she threw me a life line; a binary choice forward "it's either you (your ego) or people." "What'll it be?" she shouted through the phone. "Choose yourself and quit this program, or get over yourself and do the work to learn and grow." After an uncomfortably long pause, I chose people. I chose to get over myself. At least that one time.
I traveled back from this weekend training to my weekly seminar of 50 participants and simply let go of my automatic desire to be the center of attention. What unfolded was one of the most successful seminar programs I had ever delivered. My attention was on the people, their lives, and exploring the conversations necessary to impact each and every human being in my seminar.
In order to achieve sustainable success, I must constantly shrink my ego down to fit through the narrow passages that lead to higher states of thinking and collaboration. Many men I coach in my webinars, Warrior's Weekend or Warrior's Odyssey Mastermind are the opposite of me. They lack confidence in themselves, just like me but they wallow in that insecurity. One is not better than the other. We're all the same. Every man I have guided is hiding their insecurity from themselves or others. And in that sense, we are all hiding our brilliance from ourselves and from the world.