Added On: Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why not to be a show-off

We all want to be recognized for the good things we are or the great things we've done in this life. What's the point of being smart, beautiful, charismatic or strong if you can't be appreciated for it?

The hard work we put into achieving things carries all sorts of benefits. If we get more qualified, we can make more money. If we buy a nice car, it comes with comfort and power. If we create a great work of art, we have enriched our culture.

Yet along with these tangible benefit comes another hidden one which most people try to pretend isn't there. When people see the amazing things we've done, they respect us more. There's a big part in every one of us that wants the world to look our way and think: "Boy, what a fantastic person! I wish I could be more like that!".

Because of this deep need we have for the love and respect of others, some people can get a little - errrm - pushy when it comes to extracting them. They become impatient to receive the prize they feel they deserve, and so they try to short-circuit the process. Even worse, they may try to pretend to be something they're not.

"Mommy, Mommy, look at me!" children cry when they feel they should to be appreciated. Unfortunately, some adults also feel the need to cry similar things to those around them.

The problem with this strategy is that it actually vastly diminishes respect in the receiving audience. People aren't willing to appreciate those who demand their attention. They feel it's something that has to be earned and is their own to decide. They certainly aren't open to being bullied into handing it over.

To offer an analogy, let's say you're walking past a clothing store and you notice there's some cool stuff in the window. All the mannequins are dressed amazingly. You feel you really should try some of the clothes on and are just about to walk in.

The next thing you know, a short unshaven man races out of the store and announces he's the owner: "Aren't my clothes fantastic," he cries with a desperate need for approval written across his face. "Don't you think I sell the best products in the world? Don't cha? Don't cha? Hey, hey?"

What has they store owner's behaviour done? Most likely, he's turned you off ever walking in there. You think there must be something wrong with his merchandise if he's so eager to sell it. And besides, why should he be making your mind up for you?

This is exactly the reaction being a show off will get you among discerning people. They don't want to be sold on your good qualities. They want to make up their own minds.

Believe me, if you've done something amazing, people will soon find out about it without you having to point it out to them. Sit back, be patient and wait for the respect to roll in. It will be that much more satisfying if you do.

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