I don’t like to label things, but if someone asked what my favourite movie was I would have to say it’s Drunken Master, starring Jackie Chan. There’s a consistent theme in a lot of Chan’s movies, none more so then Drunken Master. Jackie has tremendous skill, but he’s arrogant and lacks respect. There’s an amazing fight scene mid way through where after Jackie had just disrespected his master and ran away, he received a beating from a highly skilled mercenary.
Humbled, Chan returns to his Master to train, only now, with his ego pushed aside, is it where he evolves as a martial artist and as a person. I see this in sports and in life, that losing is often the best thing that can happen to someone. It’s then that they find perspective and discover what’s important.
As I’m still an infant in life, yet to come close to mastering anything of value (I may have mastered awkwardness on a few occasions), I often find myself in situations where life just beats the shit out of me. It’s how you react from these situations that mold you as an individual. Lately I’ve been throwing myself into these scenarios, and I’m now convinced that confronting humility is an amazing tool for your personal development.
What Humbles Me
Hiking is my passion. I like the ability to physically and mentally push myself to my limit in such an amazing setting as a forest or a mountain range. More than anything hiking gives me a sense of perspective. Any sense of ego or entitlement vanishes when you reach a mountain peak and look out at the beauty and vastness of the small area of the world that you currently occupy. The air from the forest and the water from the stream is what allows me to experience life.
My first time training Jiu Jitsu I got tapped out twice in a 3 minute sparring session, this is humbling. Anyone starting Jiu Jitsu will most likely spend many, many years getting submitted by people much smaller than you. While I’m very new to Jiu Jitsu, the bond and respect shared between trainees is amazing. To be able to make it to an elite level it would be almost impossible to do with an large ego. This is what drew me to this sport. There’s a true art to the movement, as well as a mutual respect between participants, it’s something that I feel any human can benefit from.
Bouldering is a more technical form of rock climbing. I’ve been training in a gym for about five years now, but I knew that starting Bouldering would be incredibly difficult and humbling, it was. Climbing is such a pure movement, it’s something that’s lacking in modern day life. We were born to climb, and the combination of strength and fluidity is what makes climbing so appealing to me.
Humility the Hard Way
Georges St Pierre is an incredibly talented fighter, but he’s also very respectful. This wasn’t always the case. GSP was on a win streak and had every right to be confident going into his title defense against Matt Serra. Serra knocked out GSP in the first round and took his title in a shock upset. Defeated, Georges realised the error in his ways in taking the Serra fight lightly. This was a turning point in his career. St Pierre dominated Serra in the rematch, and has won all title defenses since. Now, He’s known as one of the hardest training fighters in the UFC today, and also one of the most well respected and humble. There’s a line between confidence and cockiness that once crossed will affect your personal attributes, stay clear of that line.
GSP is a great example of a respectful, super talented guy. I used to think Jon Jones was humble…
Then I realised that humble doesn’t drive a Bentley, and crash that Bentley while driving drunk.
I would rather someone be a cocky motherfucker than be someone there not. If you’re that person, then by all means be yourself. It’s up to you to choose the people who are important to you in life, just be genuine.
A Quiet Confidence
Humility should not be mistaken for a lack of self confidence or belief, it’s quite the opposite. When you realise that you are a small speck on this earth, your problems, your goals and the hard ships you face will also seem a little less daunting. People spend a lot of their life consumed by negative thoughts and emotions. When you make the switch to the positive you realise that you have a lot of time in this life, time to achieve your greatest dreams.
It’s also not about settling. Jobs, money, and fancy shit will come and go in life; what we have are our bodies and our minds, the physical and spiritual vessels which we have control over. Respect the earth and everything in it, and if you’re not getting happier as your getting older, then you’re fucking up.