The many dangers of bragging… even if you think you aren’t doing it.
An important mission on boomseb is for me to be transparent, honest and genuine with the people that read my articles, even if it's a one timer.
Some of you may not share my views on certain subjects and that’s just fine; I’m an open person that’s happy to talk about different ideas, perspectives and beliefs.
Sometimes, I also share more personal information in my posts and I think it's a healthy way of sharing, even if some subjects are more taboo than others.
I’ll make a few exceptions such as politics and religion simply because I think those can be addressed by experienced professionals; which I’m totally not.
So today’s post is more personal and so I need to share this with you as I’m pretty sure some of you may feel the sting, just as I did.
The subject is bragging.
Bragging can take many forms, from a trip you did a few years ago, a story about your childhood, money you or your family may have, to some other business deals you’re going after.
Either way, I think bragging isn’t ultimately about you and a problem per se, but more about how other people view you or hear what they think you’re saying…
This subject is coming up cause recently I’ve had a great discussion about bragging, and I’ll go straight to the point - I was told that many people around me thought I bragged too much.
For a second there I have to be honest, it hurt me. I’m not a very sensitive person, but I must admit, these are subjects that are not easy to listen to. But in the end, these are the conversations that build us, make us better, gives us goals and more. So that’s why I’m sharing my thoughts.
Now based on memory, and some of it is far away as I’m not in my 20s, I must of bragged about many possible subjects… my professional life, some friends I knew or people I met, how I did in school, people in my family, the mentor I had for a while, money, etc. Basically the possibilities are close to endless.
The more I thought about it, the more I questioned myself. Not in a sensitive way, but really in a genuine state. Questions started popping out of my head… “Was I that bad?”, “Is this the only thing someone remembers about me?”, “Could this have impacted my choices, options and future?”… The flow was tremendous.
But at some point a few things became very clear to me, and I hope this helps you in the process. My girlfriend was of great help on the subject, as she’s particularly sensitive to bragging and so we exchanged on the subject.
So here are a few pointers...
The second you start talking, whatever you say or the subject, you need to understand that people will judge you. Not only on what you say, but how you say it. Whether you’re talking about a trip, money, friends or business, if you start sending information in a particular way and adding things like "I know him", "made money", "got that deal", "was good in school" and so on, many will judge and identify what you are saying as bragging.
When we talk, it’s not only about the subject, but the approach, tone and way the information is being sent. So this is in direct relation to emotions. How you make people feel in the process is critical and you should always be aware of it. If you basically take the front stage in a super Alpha mode, you will most definitely lose people; even if your goal was to be a leader, motivate or inspire.
Even when you think details may help the conversation, they may cause you more harm than anything. As some of these details may be amounts of money, people you know and so on. Simply put, to get your point across, people don’t need a ton of information and especially not that one. Ultimately if they want more details, most will just ask. So just enough is usually more than enough.
Finally, whatever your perception is of the conversation you’ve just had, the important thing (outside of the conveyed message) is to remember/analyze how you think you made people feel in the process. So when you talk, the idea or flow of information shouldn’t really be about you and what you think is best, but mostly about what you think others need to know and what would be the best way to deliver it.
Now for the second part of my post...
Now why would people think I bragged so much or even still do to this day? I think I have a few answers to that.
I love sharing information, knowledge and exchanging with people. I’m passionate about my life, information, solutions and things I did, doing or think of doing. I'm confident and I have no fear for living in public. I like to motivate, push, change, augment.
So in the process of being like this naturally, I think many people got or get the idea that my end goal was/is to brag; but really, it isn’t and never was.
OK OK, I admit I maybe back when I was 18–20 years old I bluntly bragged like an idiot. I was young, stupid and in technology during the 90s in one of the biggest money races ever recorded on this planet. Things were moving so fast, I lacked experience and instead of focusing on other people, I primarily focused on my goals and the potential outcomes they could have. What others thought about me wasn't a preoccupation of mine. And so was 99% of the people in that business during that time. I worked hard and partied harder.
Remember the stories on Wall Street during the 80s? Well, change those brokers for geeks, suites for flannel shirts and you start getting the idea.
Let’s remember the mid/end of the 90s. The second you were able to say the word Unix or Web Server and you could talk about it with a little of salesmanship, you could land a 200-300k/year job, get investment and so on, even if you were only 18, 19 or 20 years old. I’m not talking millions or billions here, but still. If you could touch a few letters on a keyboard in the right way, boom, you had good money, trips, paid vacation and more doing it.
Now I have to be honest, if you would-of been there during that time, at my age, with little to no parental control and very very few friends in the business… do you really think you would have been any different? Though question, I know, but it’s easy to judge when we don’t have a little background…
On top of that I had the privilege to live in beautiful cities here in Canada and Europe, Montreal, Toronto, Prague, Amsterdam…
But I'm digressing.
Now that I’m older and reading and looking at the words I just wrote, I have to admit; it really sounds like bragging. And so I guess it must mean that there's a bunch of things I also bragged about later on; intentionally or not.
But the point here is that, even if all these things were true or are true in your day-to-day, do you have to talk about them later on, to others, colleagues and so on? Especially regarding some details, money, parties, places and so on? Maybe not. Most probably not. And so we (I) grow.
And that’s the idea I’m sending here, now. I’m opening up and being transparent. You don’t need to tell these details to everyone. Whether you're similar to me or not, such details should be kept for your close friends who lived the experience with you, your immediate family and so on. But keep it on the down low as whatever you think, bragging may/will kick you in the *ss.
Also, I can totally understand how people could of feel aggravated when I was sharing similar stories during parties or somewhere else. Because maybe I was too extroverted, maybe too passionate, maybe I connected too much with what I was doing or had the privilege to live. Further, maybe some of the people I talked with didn’t get the same luck as I did, maybe they had no clue this was going on; the list could go on forever.
But the main idea is - When you speak and converse with others, always control the urge of unnecessary details, numbers and figures and stay fun and factual in relation to what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll most probably be much happier around others when you do, and wether others know it or not, they'll most probably like you that much more in the process.
As for myself, I’m still fighting the passion when I exchange with people and making great effort to understand how I’m communicating with others. Slowly I’m winning the war, but remember, always remain approachable, be authentic and fun and most probably people will enjoy talking with you way more.
Finally, let’s all be just a bit more careful about how and what we say. As people will forever judge you on what you’re saying and how you are making them feel doing it.
Note: Judge me I'm strong. But for the love of God, give young adults a break sometimes, as we all need to learn about ourselves and others ; )