Wednesday, 29 October 2014
When it comes to bragging, there can be a thin line between singing one's praises and being downright conceited. There, I said it!
I am all for singing one's praises because I feel it is our right. If you’ve worked hard and persevered to accomplish something, it is only natural to want to celebrate. After all, if we don't shout it from the rooftops how is the world going to learn of our accomplishments? How is our light going to shine if it is kept hidden under a bushel (to steal from the Bible)? Most importantly, how are others going to learn from our good example? I reckon not doing that would be a sin against humanity. You've got to display those good deeds for all to see and emulate.
But here’s what has become apparent to me over the years. You face a real danger of 'pissing' some people off when you brag. I don't need to remind you of how the green-eyed monster operates. It will despise you for your success, and would rather you kept your achievements to yourself. This is the reason we now have the commonly used word ‘hater’. Some prefer to call them naysayers. What it all boils down to is that when we brag others will gag!
One day as I was having a symbiotic conversation with someone about our current pursuits, the interaction became one-sided. The other person became more and more condescending the more they implied that they were better than me. Well, it could've been unintentional, but it sure felt that way to me. So you can imagine how annoyed and unimpressed I was by that. But upon reflection, I realised that all this person lacked was tact. They genuinely were proud of their accomplishments and quite rightly so, but they just hadn't mastered the art of bragging without putting a choke on it. So I began to ponder on the way in which one can indeed brag without making others gag? Well, I’ve got a few suggestions.
a) If you’re going to blow your own trumpet, then do it within context. Know your audience and stick to the subject at hand. You’re allowed to mention some things in passing if it drives a point home, but let it be the end of it. Only dwell on it if others ask you to, which brings me to the next point.
b) Let others brag about you. And when they do point out the good that you've done, graciously acknowledge and accept their compliments by thanking them. After all, they are your accomplishments, and you deserve the recognition.
c) Strike the right balance when you brag. Usually, accomplishments come after a few failures, rejections, resistance and so on. Don’t make out like you’re superhuman. Painting a different picture will only undermine your hard work, the effort and determination you would've put into it. Showing that you've beaten the odds will encourage others too!
So, my dear friends, by all means, brag. It’s your right. You've worked hard to get to that place, and you owe it to others to teach them how it’s done. But for goodness sake, don't alienate those around you. Humility goes a long way.