Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do
The Dangers of Boasting
Ælflæd of Duckford
Consider these sentiments:
- "In five years I'll be running the Society."
- (by a newcomer)
- "If I stepped back in right now I could take over."
- (by an inactive peer)
- "This is going to be the best [certain event] there's ever
- (by an autocrat doing more talking than working)
- "We're going to start a shire, and I'll be [baron or baroness]
within two years."
- (by someone in a very small town)
These are paraphrases of real brags. None came true. The reality of what
did or did not happen was not in itself shameful, it's just that things
would have seemed better without those big boasts.
Imagine two young fighters at practice every week. One begins every sentence
with "When I'm knighted," and the other mentions, maybe once a month,
"If I'm ever a knight. . ." All other things being equal, which would
you prefer to see knighted?
Two dishes are set before you. One presenter says, "I'm the best cook
in three kingdoms," and the other says "I did my best, I hope you like
it." If the first dish is better than the second, it will be no big deal,
right? If the second dish is better, what will you think of "the best
cook in three kingdoms?"
Somewhere along the continuum, realistic thinking and self control turn
into tact and then humility. Don't set yourself up for failure and embarrassment
by declaring a goal or claiming a skill level which you may not live up
to. If you really are good, people will tell you so. If others are to
respond to you, let it be to bring you up, rather than to pull you down.
All articles from the CONSIDERATIONS section:
Considerations · Etiquette
Royalty · Being an Officer · Seneschal · Heraldry and Heralding ·
Arts and Sciences · Chronicler · Treasurer · Chirurgeons · Autocrat · Welcoming Newcomers · Peerage · Language Use · Last-But-Not-Least Ideas