I’m getting old and I’m slowly accepting it. Yes, this is one of those articles in which an old guy talks about how the culture has changed. Growing up, I just don’t remember the idea of “proving people wrong” or doing something with a “chip on my shoulder” being so prevalent as a motivation. Now it seems, you can’t turn on a sporting event, listen to an athlete interview, or read through social media without seeing it everywhere. I saw a tweet the other day from a coach of a team of 13-year-olds that just qualified for nationals that read “this is for all the people who said we couldn’t do it!” Really? There was a throng of naysayers out there deriding your 13-year-old volleyball team and that’s what motivated you? It cracks me up how often I hear how “no one believed in us” even when a perennial powerhouse wins…
This strangely inflated narrative seems to be a trait that is now desired by many coaches, administrators, and business managers. Watch the NFL draft and listen to how the analysts and coaches glow about guys who “play with a chip on their shoulder” and how many players brag about some perceived slight being their motivation. Back in the day, a “chip on the shoulder” was a derogatory term used to describe someone who saw themselves as a victim never shut up about it. We rolled our eyes at trash talkers and guys who thought everyone was against them.
So, my questions are this;
When did this cultural shift happen and why?
Does this type of angry, chest puffing motivation work?
I’ll give my thoughts in the next few days, but I would love to hear yours!