Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.
You’re not that good.
I thought about just writing those four words for today’s post and leaving it at that. But, then I remembered that there are some out there who actually think they are that good. So, I knew I couldn’t just leave it at that.
If the age of the internet has taught us anything, it’s this: there is always someone out there doing what you want to do, better than you’re doing it. If you doubt that, then I’m guessing you haven’t spent much time looking to see what’s already out there in your field. And if you haven’t spent much time seeing what’s out there, the chances are pretty good that you just think you’re better than all of them so you don’t need to bother with looking.
If you know yourself at all, then you know that for every strength you have, there is an equal or greater weakness to counter it. You may be good at one thing, but there is something else your are equally weak at. And from my observations, it seems that those who have great strengths have equally strong weaknesses. In other words, if you’re really, really good at something, then there’s a good chance you’re really, really, really bad at something else.
So, to sing your own praises means that you have to overlook all of those weaknesses to make a statement like “I am the greatest.” Either that or your extremely deluded. But, just because you’re great at one thing, doesn’t mean you’re great at everything. And if you’re not great at everything, then you shouldn’t sing your own praises. As long as there is something not great in your life, you really ought to keep your mouth shut. If you don’t as soon as you brag about yourself, someone else will point out your weakness and put you in your place.
But, when the praises come from the outside, when they come from someone besides yourself, they can sing your praises because that is what they are seeing – your strength.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be confident. This doesn’t mean we should be pleased in the work we do. What it does mean is that we shouldn’t be proud. We shouldn’t be so proud that we’re willing to overlook our own weakness to shout about our strengths.
Trust me, no one is that good.