elitefts™ Sunday Edition

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with someone I respect and to whose opinion I hold very highly. During this conversation, she said something along the lines of, “I see arrogant Chad is back!” That is just the kind of statement that ends up sticking in my brain, and I will contemplate it for quite some time. I don't want to be an arrogant person, and I don't really see myself as one. I see myself more as a confident person. With that being said, I understand that sometimes the way we see ourselves is not the way others see us (a life-long lesson). So, I try to give things the thought and respect they deserve. (Sometimes this has to wait until I am done being all pissed off, though!) It's definitely not the first time I have ever been called arrogant, and it'sprobably not the last. On the flip side, I have had many people comment on how I am not arrogant at all. So, I have not come to any conclusions on this subject for now. However, in my contemplations, I did begin thinking about all of this in terms of powerlifting and being successful. And it seems to me that arrogance has its place in the sport of powerlifting.

My handy Dictionary.com app defines arrogance as "an offensive display of superiority or self importance; overbearing pride." I have to say, the sound of overbearing pride makes me smile. I am big on pride and wish more people had it. Dictionary.com defines pride as "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc." It also defines confidence as "a belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance." When talking about one's own pride, I do not feel that it can be overbearing because it is pride within one' s self. It also seems to me that confidence and pride go hand in hand. Confidence is maybe more of a belief in what you can do and pride is more of an opinion of yourself. If you have confidence and do well, then wouldn't you have more pride in yourself? Pride and confidence are good things, but too much of a good thing can be bad. In that case, it runs over into arrogance. You can have pride in yourself while not putting others down or strutting your stuff and bragging all time. The same thing goes for confidence. Actually, in my opinion, if you were to put others down or strut around, then it would no longer be pride or confidence. It would be defined as arrogance. As I wrote in my last article, a true champion is confident with pride.

So, how does all this pertain to powerlifting? Well, I feel that confidence always plays a very big role in putting up huge weights, and I even feel that arrogance has its place too. I have seen so many lifters on the platform who miss the weight as soon as they pick it up. You can usually see it in their faces and their eyes once they feel the weight on their back or in their hands, sometimes you can even see it on the walk out to the platform. They lost or never had confidence in there own abilities. It's a sad thing to see someone miss a lift when you know damn well that he has the physical strength to do it. I have always said that true strength comes from the heart and the mind. I say it comes from the mind because the mind controls the body. A confident mind will make confident muscles. You have to believe and know you can do it. If there is doubt in the mind, there will be doubt in the muscles. I also say it comes from the heart because the heart has pride. Pride of heart can give you confidence of mind. You have to be proud of your abilities and confident in what you can do. I would take an athlete with heart and mind over a genetic freak any day.

Let's talk a bit about arrogance now. I have seen many arrogant lifters in my day—most of which never make it to the highest levels. Then again, there are a few at the highest levels, but just a few. Most of the arrogant lifters I see are the ones that think they are all badass in their little gyms. They're also the ones that make all kinds of excuses about how any of the world class lifters can lift so much. These are the big fish in a little pond who never venture out because they know exactly what they are, and that's exactly why they put on the big show or front. They are too stupid to get out of their own way. I have seen many that could actually be decent, but they won't listen to anyone. They think they know everything or are too weak to admit that they don't. In this respect, arrogance is similar to ego, in my opinion. And in a gym—if you want to be good—you need to check your ego at the door.

In strength training there is always something to learn and something to change for the better. There is no constant because everything is always changing. As you get stronger your training needs change, and it will always keep going and growing. There is also the fact that what we see and feel in our own minds is not always the reality of what is really going on. Our mind and eyes like to play tricks on us. Thus, we need someone with an outside view to help us along the way. We are human and we make mistakes. It's just the way it is. Generally speaking, an arrogant person is so over the top about his or her abilities that he or she will not listen to others, even if they have shown that they have great ability in an area. This is often the reason why people get stuck and do not make much improvement.

If arrogance has a negative effect during training and doesn't allow one to grow and improve to meet greater goals, then how could it ever be a good thing? Well, I believe that on the competition platform, arrogance can be a great thing. Your talking (hopefully) about lifting massive weights that you have never lifted before (going for PRs), and that's not the time to be contemplating new things. It's not the time to change your technique or start doing things differently. It is the time to be over-the-top confident. Time to be the unstoppable warrior. Time to be every great conqueror you have ever heard of. There should be no room in your mind for weakness or even the smallest doubt. It's not the time to question your training cycle, your nutrition, your meet prep, or your technique. All those things are done. They are what they are and cannot be changed now. You may have to remind yourself of a few mental cues related to your technique, but basically all the physical training is done. It's just about knowing you are going to be successful and accomplishing what you want. While on the platform, you should think you're a god and that you're unstoppable. This is the one place I can accept arrogance and, to me, is the one place you actually need it. All that other stuff—like your training cycle, meet prep, nutrition, etc.— is very important and definitely deserves thought and consideration, but that is to be analyzed after the meet to see what can be improved upon next time. However, on the platform, there is just you and the weight. You need to clear your mind of everything except what you're going to do on that platform and the fact that you are going to completely destroy that weight.

Arrogance, pride, and confidence are all things you need to consider in life and in the sport of lifting. If you have goals and dreams of heavy achievements, then don't be an arrogant person in the gym. Be open to new ideas about training and your technique. I am not recommending listening to every Joe Schmo out there. I am just asking you to consider knew ideas based on the people with whom you are talking. Never become complacent or think that you know it all. If the idea comes from an intelligent and successful person, then it deserves some thought and consideration. Of course, you don't have to do everything that comes to you, but consider it and even remember it because if it's not right for you now, it may be the thing that helps you break through a plateau later. A confident and prideful person is willing to listen to others and consider what they have to say. They are not afraid of new ideas, and they realize that they do not know everything. Their confidence allows them that, and it gives them the strength to try new things. They want to keep improving, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. A confident and prideful person will understand that he may not be the best in the world, but he is confident in what he has done while he keeps improving. The arrogant person, on the other hand, usually thinks he is better then he really is and is not willing to take the advice or do the real work that it takes to be one of the best. I often say that the training itself is easy to do. Most of us love lifting and beating the crap out of ourselves in the gym. Setting your ego aside to ask for help and to really listen to others and act on what they say, that is hard. Having the confidence to do what you really need to do to get strong, even if it sucks—like doing recovery work, stretching, ab work, doing lighter weights in order to learn proper technique, or backing off because of overtraining, that is where the real hard work starts. It takes pride and confidence to do the things that will make you a successful lifter.

Take pride in who you are and be confident in what you can do. Not only will this make you successful in your training, but it will also make you successful in life. Keep vigilance and take heed to arrogance. It can come on quick and envelop you fast. It is a catalyst to failure. Pride and confidence are things on which we need to always be working and improving, just like our strength. Forget about it and it fades, train it and it grows.