The 5 Levels of Arrogance


This post is about arrogance. Arrogance can be very ugly, but it also can be attractive. I see it as a shape shifter in many ways.

In looking at the 5 Levels of Arrogance (professional, personal, etc.), one thing is clear:

Arrogance is rooted in deep insecurities.

My views are experiential. Your experiences may differ and could come from angle more vast. Regardless, arrogance is a killer. Anyone living in America would have to agree that arrogance is doing just that.

Here’s my experience with the 5 Levels of Arrogance:

  • Childhood-In the earliest level of arrogance, it literally is a childlike thing. A boy or girl is full of energy and opinions. In many ways it’s a calling out to the world. It’s a demand, a protest, a fight to get what is wanted. There is no other way. I guess that’s why we need parents to cool us down, help us realize that regardless of how we feel, the world does not set a course based on our whims.
  • Adolescence-I consider this the age of overreach. The time where things are coming to together mentally, such that you feel no one can tell you anything. You haven’t experienced much, but you’ve read about it or seen it on the screen. You have little patience and admitting your lack of understanding is out of the question. I found this to be a time of proving and openness to what would lie ahead. Funny, how dangerous this time was. The cement begins to be applied.
  • Youth-I define this period as the time you move into adulthood. There can be no doubt that adulthood is where arrogance settles in. The dye is not cast at this point, but roots are certainly formed. Adulthood reveals much about a person. The audience has seen you long enough to form an opinion, create opposition or applaud loudly for what you accomplish. In my case, I had something to prove (perfect son who could do anything). For others, it could be a defining defeat back in adolescence or a bad relationship with a parent in childhood. As I mentioned before, insecurities drive arrogance. Youth is the stage for bringing that out.
  • Mid-Life-This is the level where I was saved/had my uprooting. One of the most defining times, and one of the most painful. As it should be. I got humbled by circumstances and my relationships. Some were expected, some were not. Mid-life is full of crossroads. The crossroads found here range all areas of life. The decision to let the dye cast (I am who I am), willingness to change, choices for the time remaining, all confront in mid-life. No surprise to you, that the term mid-life crisis originates here. I believe this stage is where arrogance becomes fully displayed and rooted.
  • Legacy-Coming to an end always stirs something in us. Whether it’s saying goodbye (even though that happens throughout life) or wrestling with regret, typically there is pause for everyone. At the legacy stage, if arrogance has never been dealt with, regret and ugliness will reign. I’m not a person who believes that it’s impossible to change, I am a realist who knows danger. If arrogance is allowed to remain unaltered, it will be very difficult to turn around.

I was 40 when God uprooted my arrogance. It was one of the best things to ever happen to me. My hope for you is that you find the exit ramp-by force or thoughtful decision.


A Minute in Boston


What happened in Boston has left me without a conclusion. I am still processing all that was, and is, a tragic event. Maybe it comes down to a minute in Boston. A minute to reconsider, a minute to stop and text an I love you message or a minute to react to what was not supposed to happen.

Many of us in America are searching for answers. Inside of us is this inescapable feeling that what was over there is now permanently over here too. Maybe that's an inherently good thing. The recognition that we do live in a dangerous world-terrorist or not. Maybe we now understand that taking things for granted is no longer an option to be chosen by accident.

A minute in Boston, or anywhere else, should teach us the power in "now" and living life accordingly. No more waiting on a government to fix things or restore things, no more worshiping at the alter of career, no more depending on someone else to do what only you can do.

If we don't get this right soon, history will swallow us whole. 

The Time Issue

Time doesn't fly by and we don't have a "time issue." Time has been moving at the same pace as it always has and your time issue is more than likely an excuse.

As I write, I must plead guilty. Many times I've written those worn out cliches of:

  • Time goes by so quickly
  • Life is brief
  • Don't blink

I could go on, but I've slowly been coming to an awakening. 

The reason we in America (maybe in other parts of the world too) feel like time goes so fast, is we are always:

  • Chasing after something
  • Wanting something
  • Afraid of losing something
  • Getting involved in something
  • Worrying about something

That group above will make you feel like your driving a high performance car on the Audubon-in all waking hours. Why not find your moment instead? Why not take the road less travelled? Why not take a risk and say no?

Being in the moment is not a worn out statement. I wish it were, then it might be an indicator that we've stopped the madness. Being in the moment is essential and everyone can do it, if they want. The scary part is many will wait to the end before they realize how much time they've burned. 

America is in trouble for a number of reasons. Our abuse of time in the pursuit of "all of the above" is insuring a troublesome outcome. I'm convinced there is a desire, but as in many things, desire is not enough. I've moved to the place where I purposely, every day, find my moment. I have to.

Find your moment and turn around.

The Impact of Parenting

I've been married for almost twenty-two years, fourteen of that as a parent. I am in the camp that can't believe that much time has gone by. It really feels like yesterday for all of the roles-husband and father.

Maybe like you, you have a child that participates in an activity or two. My two, are into dance and basketball. It's in those environments that I observe much. What has struck me in this new year is the impact of parenting. Specifically, when it fails and damages the child. No psych analysis here, just observations that are vivid if you look close enough.

Many children are trying to thrive in the midst of chaos and pain.

We here in America place a lot of pressure on children. From education to athletics, we want them to succeed. Even though most adults have a difficult time defining what true success is. Just the same, we put a lot of pressure on them.

Now add a broken family to the insanity.

For the life of me, I have no idea how we will survive this. I pray often on this. Most cultures don't survive what we've laid at our children's feet. A thirteen or 16 year-old is supposed to be able to handle divorce, grades, hormones, and the list goes on? And as you know, many of these children are alone in the management of the list.

Here's what I'm doing with my children:

  1. Pissing off a business partner when I have to take my son to basketball practice
  2. Sending myself a note via my iPhone everyday that reminds me to affirm
  3. Showing them how much I love their mother
  4. Laughter and humor
  5. Pray everyday for their needs

By the way, the above list used to be very alien to me. It took serious change in my life to move me forward. I am thankful.

Need and Demand

It took me some time (probably more than I care to admit) to realize that to move things you must have need and demand, in-order to create a successful venture that changes the world. I would add scarcity too.

I know n America there is no shortage of life coaches, leadership gurus, management consultants, and the like. The question remains; has the needle moved? Is there evidence of strong ROI? The measurements and data tell a story. This article is one vivid example.

We'd be wiser to put our money somewhere else or change the machine. I write all of this knowing I am a part of the many. The many who have a sign on the door saying "open for business." My reform has begun.

The problem is we've come to this very dangerous place where many individuals and organizations say they need help/direction, but don't have the will to have the demand that produces change. Our government's treatment of our debt crisis is an appropriate portrait. Most politicians would say we have a debt problem, but haven't moved to a place of demand to fix it. Sadly, I fear we've come to the point of no return. I hope I'm wrong.

The reality is the same for those in business to help people move to breakthrough. An entrepreneur may have a thriving practice with many clients, but if the clients are circling the airport, it doesn't mean you have value. It just means your getting paid and they're circling the airport. And getting paid is sometimes the problem. Money often likes things to say just as they are. I tell every client that if we don't see change, they need to fire me.

Sticking yourself inside of the arena of change is dangerous, and most do not like danger. That's one reason the status quo is so appealing. Are you willing to ask yourself if the needle is moving, if change is occurring? Not change where you just move the furniture around, but where you go deep and examine everything to the foundation.

And you thought the big part was building a career.

Thoughts Around Good Friday

A very special day for me, Good Friday.  In this frame I find myself thinking of my areas of purpose and destiny.  My post is not meant to be too personal or a downer. 

I am struck by what Good Friday represents.  For me, a day of surrendering to your destiny.  The man on the cross new what the cost was and how it played into his destiny.  Is that courage in me?  It is a daunting place to be when you look dead into the eyes of what you were (or are) meant to be.  It can scare you, it can leave you feeling exposed, but it always extends its hand.

Is it crazy that people will ignore their own crossroads experience?  I used to think so, but not anymore.  In America, there has been so much change delivered at a pace unlike any time in our history.  Things that were steady are now in question.  The history we thought would be our future is not so "for sure."  Imagine this, there are people who are holding on tightly to the security promised by an employer (implied or otherwise).  All the while, the employer is soon to be disrupted by a start-up in some place thousands of miles away. 

What is security?

My advice is to get aligned with who you really are and the destiny that follows.  That will weather many, if not all changes.  So if you're an artist, then be an artist.  Damn the voices that say you can't take such risks or that no one will understand.  Anything less will result in regret, or worse, medication to numb you from the truth you aren't willing to face.

I know my post title may have led you to believe I was going to write something religious, but the significance of Good Friday (this one anyway) is about being ok with who you are open and honest.  And the courage to go where your destiny is leading.  For whatever you may think of the man, Jesus did a beautiful job of it.