Boast Your Way to Success, Loser

By Robert Goldman

August 17, 2017 6 min read

Everyone knows people who are always boasting about their success.

People who constantly talk about all the money they make, all the perks and promotions they receive, all the genius business solutions that spring from the depths of their superbrains to make them superstars at work.

If you think that's the kind of person you should hate, you're wrong.

It's the kind of person you should be.

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Jeanette Settembre, who recently posted "Being Your Own Superfan at Work Could Pay Off" on Moneyish.com.

"Ivanka Trump, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and Serena Williams have all boasted about their achievements," Settembre writes, "and you should, too."

I don't know who these Ivanka, Kim, LeBron and Serena people are, but I do know you. And I know there are only two reasons why someone like you isn't fulfilling your daily quota of bragging.

No. 1. You're too modest.

No. 2. You don't have anything to brag about.

There's not much we can do about your lack of accomplishments, alas, but we can initiate a personality makeover to turn you from a modest mouse to a bigheaded rat.

The first step in your mouse/rat transformation is to realize that many people refrain from trumpeting their achievements at work "because they fear they're being too self-centered or just plain obnoxious."

You're not concerned about being obnoxious, obviously. To help you get over the concern of being perceived as a self-centered jerk, you are advised to provide solid, hard facts about "what you did to achieve a goal, how you did it and the results."

Suppose you did accomplish something amazing at work, like actually responding to the customer-complaint emails collecting dust in your inbox.

This is a braggable fact; so don't be afraid to tell the world.

"I took care of our problem with unhappy customers," you tell your manager. "I deleted all their emails."

This high level of achievement can't happen every day, but that doesn't mean you have to stop bragging.

Peggy Klaus, the author of "The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It," recommends you come up with a "bragalogue." This is a "short and sweet story about your accomplishments that you can rehearse before you meet someone you need to impress."

I like this idea. Here's a sample bragologue that could work for you. "I had an amazing insight this morning. I was sitting at my desk and I suddenly realized that I was still wearing my pajamas."

It's short. It's sweet. And coming from you, it's totally believable.

No matter how committed you are to start bragging more, Settembre strongly warns you, "don't pull a Kanye."

In other words, it's OK to brag but it's not OK to brag too much.

But how do you determine the right amount of bragging? I recommend you start by bragging 100 percent of the time and ratchet down from there. When your co-workers start covering their ears and running out of the room the moment you walk in, you know you have it right.

The first-time braggart is also advised to be "discerning about who you brag to." This is true. It's fine to brag to your boss; she never listens to you anyway, but beware of bragging to "a jealous co-worker or someone who could get competitive."

Even more important, be sure not to brag to the people with whom you have the most intimate and important relationships, like your favorite bartender. That's one relationship you don't want to screw up.

As you ramp up your new braggadocio personality, a Harvard University study suggests that you avoid "humblebragging." This is when you downplay an exciting accomplishment by "masking it with a self-depreciating joke to appear modest."

Like, "Don't assume I'm right because I graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Harvard. I did get an A- in French literature."

Great joke, yes, but it could be construed as humblebragging. Besides, everyone knows there's no such thing as French literature.

In between bragging about how amazingly wonderful you are, "acknowledging the people who helped you achieve a goal can help you look less self-centered when gloating about getting a job done."

Because your accomplishments are strictly imaginary and since no one ever helps you, feel free to acknowledge me for setting you on the path to become the insufferable braggart that everyone hates.

I'll modestly deny any responsibility, of course. After all, this is one accomplishment you achieved all by yourself.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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