I had just gotten off the bus in Zagreb, Croatia where I was meeting a client. It was before this website, when I was still working with people 1-on-1.
As I was walking past the station, I saw these high school kids shooting the shit. Usual teenage bullshit. Some guy their age, who was dressed a little weird, walked past them and they immediately decided to pick on him.
Yell and point. Ridicule and sick burns, brah.
High school can be a bitch. It’s weird and awkward, and nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing. Everybody’s trying to figure shit out as their bodies change and as they are forced to make life-long decisions despite being clueless.
Worst of all can be the bullying. It doesn’t even have to be real physical or mental abuse. The right amount of teasing, peer pressure, or ridicule can be enough to break some people. Hell, most high schoolers are fragile, no matter how popular.
But this kid, the one at the bus station, he was different.
There he was, this group of jerks picking on him, ridiculing him in public, just for their own amusement. Nobody would like to be him in that situation. Most people would just walk past them, pretending not to care, or get angry and try to start a fight. Both of these choices are rooted in insecurity.
What this kid did amazed me.
Just as one of the guys in the group landed some creative insult, the kid stopped next to them and looked the guy in the eye. Everybody was silent. Was he going to lash out? Attack them? Philosophize about how it’s impolite to insult people?
You know what the kid did?
He looked at the guy for a second and said — “Hahah, good one man” — then kept walking without a care in the world.
The group was confused. I was amazed.
This kid doesn’t give a fuck. Or to be inline with Mark Manson’s philosophy, he doesn’t give a fuck about the wrong reasons. He knows his worth isn’t defined by those jerks on the street. He knows he is awesome with or without their approval.
Most importantly, he knows there is no point for him to argue with them or fight them. That’s insecurity.
This kid has true confidence. He’s satisfied with who he is and doesn’t need other people to tell him how much he’s worth. He walked away into the proverbial sunset as if he was the hero of his own movie.
He didn’t pretend. He didn’t fake it. You could see it in his eyes, his walk, his movement. He is genuinely okay with himself. In high school, no less, when it’s the hardest to feel that way.
I love seeing real-life Mind of Steel moments like this. They remind me that, a lot of the time, our problems and the solutions to them, come from within.
P.S. Want to become like this kid? Check out rules of a strong mindset.