Is It Really More Mature to be Modest?

While I was at a friend’s house the other day, her teenaged son emerged from his bedroom, barely said four words and left out the front door. 

My friend shook her head and said, “He’s so arrogant right now.”

Of course we all know that teenagers have their phases, and celebrity-level self-importance is one of them, but I also know a great deal of adults who haven’t moved on from this phase either.

But I wonder…

Is it more adult to be humble and modest, or is that how we’ve been taught to follow the pack and settle for average?

My friend’s son left the house and went where he wanted, without permission.  He just took it. Freud would say he’s acting directly from his Id where pure desire is king.  Yet, that grab life by the ‘you-know-whats’ is very enticing.

But as we grow up we often dim down this behaviour because we’re taught that acting upon pure desire without regard for anyone else is just plain selfish, immature, and makes people not like you very much.  Freud calls this later inner critic the the super-ego. 

Having an inner-critic that reminds us of our values and how to use proper judgement in society and personal relationships (think: the opposite of the Kardashian women).

But again I wonder…

Could it be that this behaviour of practised modesty and humility be exactly what holds us back from exploding with purposeful ambition? 

Is it also what annoyingly stops us from just graciously accepting compliments on our success, without the extra caveat of, “Well, I had a lot of help,” or “It was nothing, really – anybody can do it”?

What more can I say to that?

“Oh, ya, I guess it wasn’t a big deal. Sorry for saying so.”

Really?  Now I’m apologizing for complimenting you?

Not that we should love it when people toot their own horn or think they can walk over others, but it’s so refreshing to meet people who will take a compliment for what it is and appreciate it with pride. These people say thank you with intent and they acknowledge you for acknowledging them.  It doesn’t even seem arrogant – just appreciative and very mature.

Anything less actually makes me feel foolish for complimenting someone in the first place and leaves us both feeling awkward and small.

We may not like it but the Kardashians sure are good at getting what they want and they have no shortage of success – even though it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly that success is in…

Thirtysomethings are struggling enough while we’re defining who we are and what it means to be an adult. Let’s not take away the successes we’re actually having by downplaying them like they’re nothing. 

If you acted bravely enough and grabbed something you wanted, be more than a little proud.

It’s okay!

You don’t look like a selfish teenager.  The difference is that you’re going to accept praise graciously and with class.

Secondly, you are more likely to bring more success and achievements when you are confident in your abilities and what you’ve achieved.  Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, no one – not the Universe or a potential client or headhunter – can deny the attraction to someone who knows what they’re doing and can represent it well.  This goes for everything from being a power player in business to being a great parent, son or daughter, or even friend.

Think about this:  someone notices that you’re being a really solid shoulder to cry on for a friend and they tell you so.  You can either respond with,

“Oh it’s nothing; he just really needs me right now.”

Or you could say, “Ya, It’s what I’m good at so I’m happy to help.” 

If you were the one giving the compliment here, wouldn’t you be more likely to want to be friendly to the second person in future?

There are so many ways to play small and this is only one of them.  Next week’s post will be another look at how we diminish ourselves and shy away from our biggest and brightest game.

And if you’re ready to big up your game right now, get in touch for a FREE coaching strategy session.  In one session we can design a game plan for you that will get you going on the path that’s right for you and wastes no time getting you to success.

Find out more at ashewoodward.com or contact support@ashewoodward.com

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