When I was 12-years-old, our baseball team was hands-down amazing. We actually just barely lost to the team that won the Little League World Series that year. Needless to say, we were very good. Right before I was about to start a game, we were doing pitching drills and I fancied myself as a pretty good player. I was the last one to go and ran my way over to first base, caught the ball nonchalantly and went to go step on the bag without looking. Let me tell you, the big guy up above us proceeded to teach me a lesson I will never forget. I didn’t just trip over first base–I ate it and fell flat on my face. After I got out of the pile of dust I created, I had to wipe myself off. Needless to say, it was humiliation and dust combined. It was in that moment that I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life. Never…ever…be cocky.

Someone asked me the question the other day, “what do you think makes a good man?” Well, I am sure I could come up with a whole list of things, but one of the biggest things is to maintain humility. I think cockiness is one of the most unattractive attributes possible in a person. In fact, I apologize in advance to the ladies in the world for the guys you confront who are full of themselves, because I can’t even spend time around that kind of stuff. Most of the time, we have to talk about what we are doing rather than just doing it. This is because we need some sort of recognition. I think that lesson is part of the one that I learned falling on the ground that day long ago. Let your game speak and everything else will fall into place. If you are great, people will be able to see it no matter what. You don’t need to tell everyone how great you are to make it true.

There is a difference between arrogance and being proud of who you are. Often times, that difference will get muddled up by those who perceive you differently.  Just remember that arrogance is insecurity in disguise. Now, when people pay you compliments, you don’t have to deny them or say that they are untrue. All you really have to say is thank you. I honestly will never forget that lesson I learned at the baseball field that day because I felt like such a piece of junk. I’ll never forget the feeling of standing up in front of all of my friends and seeing them laughing at me.

I still have my jersey from those days. One day I will frame it, because that day was and still is incredibly important to me. It reminds me to stay grounded in all that I do.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project