“Self-important,” “over-bearing,” and “offensive display of superiority” are a few of the definitions of arrogance. But blogger Tom Mendiola has a different take on this usually negative noun. He says that performance arrogance is a different animal than the kind we typically think of, and that it’s one of the things you’ll need if you want to rise above the crowd of ordinary and achieve extraordinary goals.

Some people might say that we could as easily use the word ‘confidence’ or plain old gumption. See what you think and leave a comment – is ‘performance arrogance’ the missing ingredient for wild success?

This is from playingtolose.com and reprinted here in full for your convenience.

Why Mother Teresa Was Arrogant And You Should Be Too

by Tom Mendiola Johnson

Arrogant bastards rule the world.

Take a step back and look at all the people that run the world today. The people that influence how you think. The people that influence what you say. The people that influence who you are. People like Newton, Gandhi, Galileo, and Mother Teresa. And possibly me, to a much lesser extent.

Now brace yourself for what I’m about to say, because it’s not meant to offend…but these people are some of the most arrogant people in history. And if you want to change the world, you’ll have to be an arrogant bastard, too.

What am I talking about? Keep reading…

Arrogance is defined by the World English Dictionary as “having…an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.”

To most people in today’s society, arrogance has been demonized as something awful. If you’re arrogant, society tells you that you’re a terrible person. Do you know why? Because our society conditions us to embrace “fairness” and “democracy,” and the ideal that nobody is better than anyone else. We’re taught that we should all be humble and gracious to one another, and the world will exist in perfect harmony. But that’s not how human social dynamics work. No-one is truly created equal. In every group, there will always be one voice louder than all others. And if it’s not you, then it’ll be someone else.

So let me ask you something: Why do people like Mother Teresa and Gandhi try to help people? Why do people like Galileo and Newton shatter preconceived ideas about science? Why do people like me write blogs? Because they’re humble and they think they’re no better than anyone else?


Because, even if their intentions are well-meaning, they believe that they have something important to share with the world…and they’re going to do it. Why? Because nobody else can be trusted with the task. Is it arrogance? Absolutely. But it’s well-intentioned arrogance.

  • If you believe you can achieve something that has never been done before…you are arrogant.
  • If you believe that you can make the world a better place…you are arrogant.
  • If you think you can put something in the world that has not existed before you…you are arrogant.
  • And if you think that you can change the hearts and minds of an entire generation…you are one of the most arrogant people of all time.

Now, am I seriously comparing great inspirations like Mother Teresa and Gandhi to the likes of someone like Paris Hilton, one of the modern-day queens of arrogance? Yes. Yes, I am. But not in terms of the motives that drive them, or the morals that they instill. No element of life is without its dark side, and even the water that nourishes us can kill us if applied in the wrong ways. No, I’m talking about the way in which these people COMMAND…how they can sway the opinions of others.

Why Isn’t It Bad to Be Arrogant, Again?

There are two types of arrogance. The one that’s seen most often is social arrogance. Social arrogance is your garden-variety cockiness, and it’s something that should be avoided. It’s when people are openly brazen about how much better they are than you. People who display social arrogance are…for lack of a better word…assholes. Many untalented celebrities have used this tactic to keep themselves in the limelight much longer than they rightfully should have been, and it’s the reason why most people look down on arrogance.

The second type of arrogance – the one that I’m hoping to instill in you – is performance arrogance. Performance arrogance is what you see in athletes like Tiger Woods, who are very soft-spoken and humble-seeming. People who possess performance arrogance think they’re better than anyone else at what they do, but they don’t TELL everyone that. That’s why their fans adore them.

Whatever you believe that you can do, you can do. Arrogant people do what they set out to do, regardless of the type of arrogance that they show. But if you truly want to DO something for the world…and not just be famous for being arrogant…shun social arrogance. And embrace performance arrogance. Because that is the true path to greatness.

If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall For Anything.

I’m sure we’ve all heard this motivational catchphrase at one point or another in our lives. It’s in the nature of most people to conform to whatever is popular in their culture. People tend to follow the crowd, because it’s what normal people do. Unfortunately, the crowd doesn’t always act in the best interest of its members, and sometimes individuals get hurt. The power of arrogance is that it grants its possessor some degree of immunity to bullshit. Arrogance convinces you that you’re too good to be a follower…and that you’ve got to take the wheel because you know better.

Arrogance allows you to craft your life as you want to live it. Because when you wake up every day, confident that you’re destined for something better…you’re not going to give up. You’re not going to say, “Oh, well, I gave it an honest shot, I guess I’ll never be the best .” No, you’re going to say, “These are minor setbacks, and I’m entirely too awesome to let them stop me.” That’s the power that arrogance can give you. It will make your confidence bullet-proof.

So give yourself a once-over.

And tell yourself that you’re a bad-ass every day. Because even if it feels forced at first, you truly are a bad-ass. After all, you read my blog, right?

But seriously, no human being is meant to be mediocre, and you can’t surrender your dreams to purgatory. People don’t fail because they tried over and over again. They fail because they give up. Arrogance is one of the things that keeps you from turning back. It keeps you striving for glory, even if the path seems bleak. So stay arrogant. Stay hungry. Keep moving forward.

And even if you never reach your dreams, you can still look back on all the amazing things you accomplished along the way…and realize that you never would have accomplished them if you had stayed the way you were.

Guide to Inspired Life