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Monday, May 18, 2015

"I'm not saying I'm any better, I'm just different, that's all."

There's no clearer way of saying you think you're better than to utter the above words.

I know of two people who've said this. The first was when I was in business school. The fellow who said it was a former futures trader who for some reason had gone back to business school. He carried himself as if he thought he was incredibly hot stuff, and when I heard him say those words, he was describing his former lifestyle of trading during the day, and then taking cocaine and having sex with his girlfriend every night.

He obviously thought this made him just incredibly cool.

His every word, his every movement, the expression on his face, all exuded unbridled ego. So while he claimed he wasn't saying he was any better than other people, his body language -- and really, his words -- made a liar out of him.

The second person I heard about secondhand. He was a mixed martial artist who was at a party in New York City with a typical cross section of New Yorkers. He happened to run into another MMA guy there, who later told me the story. After chatting with him a while, he told him, "Most of these guys" -- waving his hand and vaguely gesturing at the others in the room -- "couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. You and I, we're different. I'm not saying we're any better…..Just different, that's all."

No explanation necessary.

Maybe both of these guys were better. But by denying that they thought so before anybody had even accused them of thinking so, they proved one of the primary rules of human nature: nobody ever voluntarily denies something they haven't even been accused of unless it's true.

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