Anyone ever told you that you didn’t have anything to prove? A lot of times, in the movies, right before someone does something incredibly stupid, one of the person’s friends says something along the lines of, “don’t do it. Bro, you ain’t got nothin’ to prove to no one!” After hearing this phrase, the perpetuator of the alleged stupid act then either comes to his senses and abandons the fleeting call of stupidity or goes through with the act against the sage advice of his “bro”.
I have heard this phrase in real life. For me it wasn’t a stupid action I was being warned against. When I heard the phrase I was being warned not to make an otherwise good decision for the wrong reasons. I was being told not to make a major life decision based on the need to prove to others that I could do it. In that case the advice was extremely sound and I followed it (I am glad I did). However, I don’t agree with that advice all the time. I am going to tell you something different.
Do it, bro, you have something to prove to yourself.
Gentlemen, I know we try to keep this hush-hush (ladies just pretend you didn’t read this part) but I know we struggle with feeling inadequate. We struggle with self-confidence. For many of us the struggle is more with our performance than our looks (although we are not above that either). It can be as big as a missed promotion or as small as losing an arm wrestling match, but it all affects our view of ourselves.
Honestly, we shouldn’t be surprised. The average male ego is larger than Dwayne Johnson’s pecs. Not only is the ego big but it is powerful in the mind of a man. We are driven, to some extent, by our ego. Now, contrary to what our culture would have you believe, a man’s ego is not all bad. In fact, without an ego a man just can’t be a man. Our ego drives us on to accomplish things. When we see other men doing great things we are driven by our competitive nature and ego to do better ourselves.
So, given our ego and the role it plays I am telling you to prove to yourself that you can do it. Whatever “it” is for you. Go run that race, complete that degree, whatever it is that you doubt you can do. Yea, I know if you are like me you probably say (and believe to an extent) that you can do anything. But I also know that, like me, you probably have doubts sometimes. Sometimes you wonder if you really can. You wonder if the task is too hard. You don’t voice those doubts because it would never do to show weakness but they are there. When I feel those doubts I do my best to push them out but I also let them drive me on to prove myself to myself.
An example for me right now is the Spartan Race. I am signed up for a Spartan Beast at the end of this month. If you know me, you probably know I don’t run beyond a quick dash (and I will be out of breath at the end of that). The race is 12-14 miles long with 30+ obstacles. Since signing up I have had doubts about my ability to actually finish this race. Running the full race without obstacles would be an accomplishment all to its own, adding in 30+ body straining obstacles and, well, people don’t do a Spartan Race because it is easy.
Adding to the fact that a Spartan is so tough anyway, I have also discovered that I have knee pain while running (I never really ran before so this wasn’t known). Now I have to contend with not being able to fully train the way I would like.
All that said I am going to finish this race. I do not care if I have to take a 6 hours to finish, I WILL finish. Part of my determination is I am a stubborn guy who’s ego won’t allow surrender. Part of it is the need to prove to myself that I can do this. Deep down I know I can but I need to eradicate the doubt. I am going to grab the doubt by the neck and rub its face in my success.
And you should too.
If you doubt your ability to do something, if you wonder of you have what it takes to do something you want to do, then get off your butt and prove to yourself that you can do it! That affirmation of your own abilities will boost your confidence and lead you to better things. No matter what anyone tells you, guys, there is not a thing wrong with feeling like a bad butt. Not a thing wrong with it. In fact, I would argue it is good for a guy to feel like the baddest thing to walk on the face of the Earth (as long as you don’t become stuck up or something: remember you want confidence not arrogance).
When a guy feels bad, when he is just bleeding confidence, he walks a little taller and fights a little harder to meet his goals. So, yea, get out there and be the baddest dude you know. As long as you don’t try to pick a fight with Chuck Norris you should be OK. Do something to drive your confidence.
P.S. You are doing this for yourself but if anyone has ever doubted you, it will feel pretty great to prove yourself to them as well. Just remember, don’t make decisions based solely on feeling the need to prove anything to other people. Next time we can discuss when you do need to prove yourself to others.