The Difference Between Ego And Excellence
One of the least understood behaviors is what most of us refer to as being egotistical. While some individuals voice much bravado and appear to be applauding themselves and patting themselves on the back continuously, someone with a truly healthy self image does not find that type of self praise necessary. The reality is that if someone speaks about achievements in order to demonstrate experience and expertise, and they were real achievements, that is not bragging, but if someone exhibits false bravado and overstates his achievements, then it is simply self promoting. Walt Whitman stated, “If you have done it, it ain’t bragging.”
1. There is often a huge difference between mere experience and true expertise. Just because someone has had some experience, it does not mean he has learned sufficiently from it, for it to provide some advantage or expertise. I’m sure we have all met people who appear to be egotistical, whose behavior ends up being more based on insecurity and the need for attention, applause, gratitude, etc., than it is related to any type of superior knowledge or expertise. For example, in politics, when a politician points to his record, it can either be a case of bragging, or true excellence. Was he actually the cause of the positive results? Were there actually any positive results at all? Especially as it relates to politics and politicians, there is often a distinct line that gets blurred between true achievement and excellence, versus falsely taking credit or distorting one’s achievements. This is caused partly by convincing one’s self that they were actually excellent and actually believing it, a desire to win and election, political spin, ego or false ego, or being delusional.
2. I have been involved in the event industry for well over thirty years. During that time, I have come across quite a number of people who thought of themselves as being event planners or event experts, while the reality was that they, at most, chaired a program, event or a committee, and perhaps got involved in certain aspects of the event planning process. Therefore, when it comes to event planners, while I can state that I will guarantee cost savings and superior event planning and superb results, that statement is not bragging but rather the facts based on my years of experience, my gained expertise and knowledge, and the results I have consistently achieved. On the other hand, it is bragging when someone who perhaps was involved in previous events but does not possess the prerequisites to be considered expert, claims to be an event expert.
Bragging is only offensive when it is untrue. Otherwise, it may be merely a recitation of the facts. In either case, however, it should be done with tact and without being offensive.