TS 7 – Don’t Get Cocky

Whilst there are clear benefits of a certain level of self-confidence because it empowers us to take on things without fear of failure, or because it allows us to push ourselves further than we would otherwise go, we should avoid getting cocky (over-confident). Cockiness leads to a loss of focus and we relax too much, thinking we’ve made it. Alternatively, we push ourselves too much, thinking we can do it all. When I was 18 I was playing football and having the game of my life. I felt like I could do anything. Then, 20 minutes before the end, I tried to do too much, tore my ACL and never played again. That experience, and the constant reminders I received during my training, all help me to remain grounded and not get cocky.

It takes control (and discipline) not to get cocky, but when we look back over the seminars so far, as we did at the beginning of this one (see the first seven minutes of the video below), we see that we have much more control than we realise. Whether we’re observing our own behaviour and mind, or implementing procedures to deal more effectively with life; or whether it’s understanding the power of thought, patience, and of building foundations, we have the power and control to influence and improve things at every level. And we can do the same when we’re in danger of getting cocky.

The Lifecycle Of Development  (p.88)

This post uses the comparison between learning a language and personal development to evaluate my progress in the early days of my training. It states that cockiness (arrogance) is part of the process of maturation – whether for an individual, a culture, or a society – and makes links with the four stages of competence.

Looking To Be Rescued  (p.209)

18 months into my training I wrote about my misguided strategy of getting myself looked after, but I include the entry in this piece because of its last paragraph:

Karaj: After 9-18 months of enthusiasm, comes the consolidation stage where not so much happens. It usually lasts 1-3 years. This is the worst time in personal development: monks walk out, people give up meditation. If someone makes it though this stage, that person will become a winner. Most people, however, get cocky or rebellious or give up during this part of the journey.

I got cocky and rebellious, and in the end I had to leave because of those things. I have since learnt that there is always work to be done and that humility is a precious quality. In short, if we think we’ve made it, we definitely haven’t.

Just When We Think We’ve Made It  (p.35)

This is an example of what happens to all of us when we make progress – we abandon the procedures and routines which got us there, thinking that we don’t need them anymore. In fact, it is an indication of how well my clients are doing as to when I warn them of this, because the more progress we make, the more likely we are to get cocky, and the further we will fall when it happens.

Keep Doing What Works  (p.361)

One sure way of avoiding such a fall, is to maintain your procedures. They are not just necessary to get us where we want to go, they also serve to keep us there. Keep using them until they become automatic. If you think you can drop them, then they are not automatic. The classic example is cleaning your teeth. Day after day your parents forced you to do it because they knew it was good for you, yet there were plenty of times when you wished you didn’t have to do it. Nowadays you don’t even think about it.

Stay Grounded In Routine  (p.8)

A very short example of the benefits of sticking to routines which we know work for us. It is also one of the ways which can help us to celebrate our progress because routines allow us to enjoy our success whilst maintaining our humility – just as successful sports people must return to training as soon as possible in order have any chance of further success. (see also: Stay Grounded)

Write Stuff Down  (p.327)

When it comes to celebrating our success, we can share it with those closest to us, with people who know what we have been through and who can appreciate our achievements. And we can also write it down. This entry is a powerful summary of the value of writing things down, and the video below (from 11:32 onwards) talks about its importance in celebrating our greatness.

Calmness In Excitement  (p.197)

I include this because of one paragraph which summarises the process of success, excitement and celebration in an appropriately calm way:

Having dropped Robert off at the train station, the three of us returned to the house. As we drove, I talked about my calmness which has been there for the last few weeks and seems to be becoming more and more a part of who I am. It’s as if my progress and new-found competence fill me with excitement but do not actually cause any imbalance. It is not the dangerous excitement I used to have when things went well, and which can be very damaging. It is stable and calm, as if the excitement appears and is instantly grounded because I have my feet on the floor, as opposed to my head in the clouds. Stay grounded. Don’t get cocky.


Additional posts: Setting New Standards | Cockiness & Humility | Stay Grounded | Celebrate More Often | Dreams, Facts & Celebration | This Is Our Celebration


The video summarises the first six seminars, and goes on to talk about how important it is to be careful not to get cocky (7:00), whilst at the same time finding a way to celebrate your greatness (10:45). One of the most powerful ways to do that is to write down how good you are (11:32). It may feel a little weird to do so, but it will give you the opportunity to value yourself in finer detail, and in a way which will help you to stay grounded.

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