I’m sure that bragging has always been around.
I was looking through some old tweets the other day and found one from about 10 years ago that went something like this:
So happy to be going to lunch with my great coworkers.
Seems simple enough, but these days that’s know as a bit of a humble brag.
The idea is that you think you’re coming across as humble or grateful or whatever. But really you’re throwing in a veiled brag to anyone that will listen.
I was probably really thinking:
I work at a great place with great people.
I still catch myself doing this. Social media certainly doesn’t help.
Gary Vaynerchuk says that technology exposes us and I totally believe it.
Social media is great for a lot of things, but it does expose the tendency in some of us to brag. We have to fight that tendency if we want to live an unassuming and humble life.
Here are a few things I’ve been working on…
Ask More Questions
The more questions you ask others the less you talk about yourself. And that’s a big tendency. Go and have a conversation with someone. Chances are good that you each just wait for an opening to talk about yourself. You job. Your family. Even when the person tells a little story you’ll wait until they’re done (maybe) and then tell them a story about yourself that their story reminded you of.
Flip the script on yourself. Start asking questions of other people. Go at it from a learning mindset. Learn about them. Find ways to pique your curiosity. Pretend that you don’t have the answer to everything.
The more you get into learning mode the less you’ll be focused on trying to win a compliment from others.
Feel Good About Yourself
We often do things because we think others will be proud or impressed. We tell our parents about a new job or about how much money we’re making. We tell a friend about a new house or a new car. We tell a coworker how well we did on the last 360 review.
The reality is that nobody really cares about you and your accomplishments. They’re too busy worrying about their own lives. Just as you probably don’t care too much about their accomplishments…
Real satisfaction comes from making yourself proud. Feeling good about yourself.
You see this in kids when they really find something they like. Watch a kid shooting free throw after free throw in the driveway even after the sun sets. Watch that kid smile after sinking a really good shot. Nobody is around. That kid isn’t trying to impress anybody. They’re doing it for themselves.
Often when we do think about others we’re comparing them to ourselves.
For example, someone tells you that they got a new job. You respond with, “I don’t think I could ever get a job like that…”
What kind of response is that?
But I’m as guilty of saying it as anybody else.
Comparing also leads to bragging. We see someone else’s car. Then we get our own car and to compare we start telling others about the new car we just bought.
When we stop comparing we stop bragging.
I don’t think any of us brag on purpose. It’s kind of a plea for someone to compliment us. To feel that we’re worthy. To feel good about ourselves. But it’s the wrong way to go about those things.
If you’re catching yourself bragging then try the tips above. They’ve worked for me in the past and I’ll keep working on them as best as I can in the future.