Over the years from playing sports to construction to church I have been able to work alongside people who had talent. One of the sad realities is that great talent does not always come with humility. It’s hard many times for those with great talent to defer to another teammate.
I have been a Los Angeles Laker fan since I was a kid. Magic Johnson was a great talent, but he was even a better teammate. He made everyone around him much better. Kobe Bryant on the other hand, while a great talent, is less of a great teammate.
Great Teammates do at least four things well:
1. Get excited when others excel.
2. Defer to others.
3. Get along with others.
4. Possess great attitudes.
Magic Johnson did all four and more very well. Someday your name will come up in a conversation. How will you be remembered? More for your talent, or more for being a great teammate?
As the San Francisco 49ers head for the Super Bowl, one story caught my attention. It was about the quarterback and his tattoo artist. It’s a great story, but at the same time illustrates why pride should simply not exist. The story begins in the Philippines with a broken home. Through a series of events the mom moves to the US, gets married, and eventually brings her son to Nevada to live. Reno, to be exact.
One day the quarterback of the University of Nevada football team walks in to get some ink for his skin. They hit it off and the tattoos kept coming until Kaepernick had his arms covered along with his chest and back.
But tattoos are everywhere. No big deal right? Yes, until K becomes the starting quarterback for the 49ers midseason. Now he is on TV every weekend. The tattoos begin to get noticed. The team keeps winning, makes the playoffs, wins the NFC title, and is now in the Super Bowl.
Guess who else is getting tons of attention and business? You guessed it. His tattoo artist. Currently he is booked three months in advance and now requires deposits.
As a result of his success should the tattoo artist be lifted up with pride? Think about it. He had nothing to do with his family life in the Philippines. He had no control over his mother getting married and bringing him to the states. And certainly nothing to do with living in Reno. To top it off he had no control over a star quarterback walking into his small shop one day.
Kaepernick seems to be handling the instant notoriety very well. He is careful to thank God on a regular basis. In fact, his tattoo artist has noticed how grounded and humble the quarterback is. It’s always refreshing to see someone hit it big and realize how little control he actually had over all the circumstances. Kaepernick was adopted. He excelled at three sports. What if he had gone into baseball?
Just one different turn and no one hears about Kaepernick or the tattoo artist.
So much of life is like that. We didn’t choose our parents, what country to be born in, and what occupation our parents chose.
That leaves me with at least two quick thoughts on why pride should be more scarce, and humility more prominent.
First of all, who wants to hang out with a prideful person? Exactly. No one. So why are some people so prideful?
Secondly, people are not responsible for what they are prideful about.
Think of all the things people point to about themselves. Now add up how many they are in control of.
Your number is probably close to 0. That’s humbling in and of itself, which underscores why there is no room for pride!