I spend a lot of time observing. Annie (my girlfriend) can tell you about it; sometime’s it’s a painstaking process, and I can never shut it off. It happens while I work–I break down movement at all times, looking for good form and examining for flaws. But it doesn’t stop there. I’m constantly examining human behavior.
It’s happened since I was a kid. If wasn’t actively doing something awesome–like jumping over tables, climbing trees or proving ginger dominance–I’d sit and watch other kids and try to figure out why they do what they do. I know–it’s weird.
To this day, even in social situations, I separate myself from the room and just watch. Annie and I will be sitting at a bar, having a few drinks with people, and, all of a sudden, I’m a space cadet. Something someone said or did will spark my interest and I’ll spend the next ten minutes trying to figure out what’s going on with a certain guy or gal. Questions such as these sift through my brain:
“That was rude, why did she say that to him?”
“I wonder if he knows it’s obvious that he’s lying?”
“Is a Liger a real animal?”
“I wonder if the kitchen is still open?”
Ok, so the last two have nothing to do with human behavior. But seriously, is a Liger a real animal? I’ve heard conflicting reports. And wings always hit the spot after a few pints of porter.
Lately, as I’ve been looking around, I’ve noticed a distinct trend. We are in the midst of the swag and motivation era. They coexist–sometimes blending as a unified message, while other times they are presented separately. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been pounded in the face by each of them.
They come to in the form of motivational meme’s. Please, examine Exhibit A below:
And from swag supporting t-shirts:
Quick Side Note: Every time I hear someone say they have swag it makes me think of the scene in Office Space when the main character asks his neighbor if people at his job say they have a case of the “Mondays.” The neighbor replies, “No, hell no, man. I suppose someone would get their ass kicked for something like that.” Ya know what I mean?
The over abundance of “swag” and “motivation” poses a big, unnerving question that dances the two step across my brain.
What happened to attitude?
It’s disappeared. In its stead we are left with only feel-good quotes and a culture of, “as long as you’re happy it’s ok!” It’s also been replace by silly behavior. “If I carry myself like an arrogant jack-wagon no one will know I’m really scared to death.”
What happened to drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough? What happened to drawing that line for ourselves–giving ourselves true motivation–and drawing it for others to know where we stand?
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not discounting motivation. Motivation is necessary to accomplish an end–everyone knows that. I work to motivate people in my life every day. But motivation doesn’t come from pictures of hot chicks with generic quotes posted over them. That, my friends, is manipulation. It’s marketing; it’s “pay attention to me”; it’s bullshit.
True motivation, only comes from something meaningful. It grows from something internal–a desire to change something for the better or accomplish something great. It comes from knowing someone genuinely believes in you.
Swag, I suppose, is the modern day version of attitude. But it’s false attitude. I see it a lot on the streets of State College, PA in the form of high school and college students walking down College Avenue. They wear brightly colored hats, t-shirts like the one I posted above and walk with a certain, “I’m too cool to give a shit” gait. Say hi to them, however, and they can’t even look another human in the face. Eyes drop and loud voices quickly muffle to a mumble.
The truth, however, is simple. A person can have all the motivation in the world, but if said person lacks the attitude to get shit done, accomplish nothing they will. (Thanks, Yoda!)
And Swag is the idiot second cousin of attitude. The one that got D’s in Geography and couldn’t memorize the first ten Presidents of the U.S. Well, Swag could have, but he was too cool. Swag won’t help motivation–it will destroy it.
Maybe I’m a bit too cynical, but these are my observations. But I’m guessing it didn’t take a thousand meme’s and swag to help Dave Tate build Elitefts into what it is today. I also think about men and women from days gone by and how they conducted themselves and ordered their lives.
If my grandfater were alive I’d ask him if swag got him through WWII–especially after he’d been shot twice. I’ll have to guess at his response–I never met him. But I imagine that he’d look at me cross and say, “What the hell is swag?”