It's a question that gets posed often. Where is the line drawn between being cocky and being confident?
I've been called cocky for quite a while now, overly-confident some people will say. I say these people are civilians. In my world, you can't get better unless you're confident. If you approach a loaded barbell and aren't 100% sure that you are going to crush the lift, you're done. Don't even bother un-racking it. Just the other day, I was doing resistance band squats with my training partner Dan. Neither of us have squatted with a bar on our back in quite a while, so we were going to just take it easy. Because we are knuckleheads, we started working our way up with heavy singles. We had 100 lbs of bands on the bar (at the top) plus 275 bar weight. This means that when standing up with the bar on our backs, it felt like 375 pounds. I started to un-rack the bar and had to put it back down because it felt like the heaviest thing in the world. Dan questioned the sanity of doing this lift. I took a big breath, said "fuck it" and nailed the lift. That is the confidence that we gain from weight training. In the weight room you are constantly faced with new goals. You will fail at these goals before you succeed almost every single time, which means you get comfortable failing and comfortable succeeding. This builds confidence and character. Being able to always say "I'm gonna do it next time".
So, who is cocky? Cocky people are the just the ones with confidence and nothing to back it up. All shine and no substance. Cocky people may have achieved a level of success in some aspect of their lives, but I bet they did it without ever having to deal with failure. The guy who keeps getting the right job at the right time. The guy who gets the girl he wants without ever having to experience heartbreak. The guy who has a bank account overflowing with cash without ever having to double check his balance before grocery shopping. The guy with huge arms and a 6pack who can't deadlift 225 pounds. These are the cocky ones, the ones who take success for granted.
Not me. I've tasted failure more than I care to recount. I know what it's like to hope you card doesn't get declined at the grocery store, and I know what it's like to have my heart broken. I've been crushed by weights and I've set personal records. I don't take success for granted, I savor it each time I achieve it. That's why I'm confident; because I know that I will do whatever it takes for me to get to each new success in my life. I have the confidence to accept each defeat as a stepping stone to get to an even better place when I succeed. Weight training has taught me all of that. It's also taught me to not care what people think, I'm my own person.
Go lift something heavy. Then lift something heavier than you're capable of. If you can learn to fail, you'll love to succeed.