According to WWE champion The Miz, even if you dream big, work hard, train hard and set huge goals for yourself, you still won't be as awesome as he is.
"Only a special person can actually do it, and I did it because I'm that talented. Everyone else isn't," says the champ on the phone earlier this month from Los Angeles. "Jeez, how much of a jerk am I?"
A pretty big one, in fact, but that's part of Miz's character. And the 30-year-old grappler from Parma, Ohio, has earned the right to be cocky, having clawed his way to the top of the WWE ranks, where he's slated to appear in the main event when World Wrestling Entertainment brings its "Monday Night Raw" program to Joe Louis Arena on Monday.
Mike Mizanin, whose spiky hair and confident demeanor peg him as the frat boy next door, first gained recognition as part of "The Real World's" 10th season in 2001. It was during his MTV stint that he coined himself "The Miz" and declared his intentions to be heavyweight champion of the world.
He finally accomplished his goal just before Thanksgiving, when he defeated Randy Orton to win the championship on an episode of "Raw."
But The Miz is far from an overnight success.
Following "The Real World," Miz moved to L.A. and enrolled in a developmental wrestling school. The affiliation got him backstage at a couple of WWE shows, but the company showed no interest in pursuing him as a performer.
While still training, Miz rode the post-"Real World" gravy train and appeared on several seasons of the "Real World / Road Rules Challenge" and collected checks on the "Real World" collegiate lecture circuit.
Then, in 2004, he muscled his way onto MTV's reality series "Tough Enough," where the winner is awarded a WWE contract. He didn't win, but WWE execs were impressed with his skills, and signed him to a developmental deal.
After learning the ropes, The Miz in 2006 debuted in WWE but found he still had to go far before making it big.
"As soon as I got to WWE, everyone assumed I got a contract because I was on 'The Real World,' so everyone made my life a living hell," he says. "I didn't really have any friends. I got kicked out of the locker room. It felt like everyone was trying to find a way to get me fired."
He hung in there, and eventually began to gain traction as a performer in WWE's ECW promotion. He developed his character and showcased his microphone skills in vignettes with fellow wrestler John Morrison, with whom he eventually shared the WWE tag team title.
More titles followed, until Miz earned his shot at a WWE championship match at a pay per view event in July.
Defeating Orton in November was a highlight for the kid who grew up idolizing wrestlers like Mr. Perfect and the Rock and who bought a $15 plastic title belt during "The Real World" and declared himself the reality TV champ.
"I still can't believe I have it," says Miz of the heavyweight gold.
He has two belts, in fact, one for TV and one he keeps with him at all times.
"For me, it signifies that it's just the next step," he says. "I've been taking steps ever since I came to the WWE, and now I've built myself to where I'm the WWE champion.
"But it doesn't even stop there," he says. "Once you're WWE champion, you want it to be the best championship reign ever; you want the ratings to be the highest. You want the seats to be the most filled. You want to be the poster child for the WWE."
In that regard, Miz says he's willing to work to get it. He's looking to the Royal Rumble pay per view event, where the prize is a shot at the title that's around his waist.
"Last year, I was in the Royal Rumble for at least three seconds," he says of his quick dismissal in the 2010 match, "and now I'm the WWE champion. It's pretty incredible that everyone's fighting to get a spot, basically, to fight me."