Humble Brag – How to Boast and Appear Humble

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ABC News came up with a great caption for a tweet sent by the son of a prominent politician. He was showcasing  his rescue of four people after their car was in an accident (Including a photo of himself in front of the accident).

The title was “Humble Brag”. Another term might be “Impression Management”.

Appearing to be humble (some people may be fooled) while really grandstanding (some observers get it and are irritated) is a fairly common manifestation of a swaggering ego.

ABC writes that humble brag is “not only doused with an obvious shot at phony modesty, but it also cheekily seeks the sympathy of an audience supposedly incognizant of what the braggart is trying to get away with.”

Some of the humble brags I’ve seen include

Church bulletins that list ($ amounts of course) the biggest contributors from the congregation.

Politicians who appear at the scene of a tragedy for the “photo-op”.

Humility (or any other virtue like compassion) paired with shameless publicity is unabashed humble brag.

Real humility is when a person is

1. Willing to show an act of kindness anonymously.

2. Capable of downplaying their part in the charitable act.

3.  Acting with compassion and is not even aware that they are doing so (it is second nature to them).

4. Not living a self-absorbed life.

The grand antidote for humble brag is reflected in the words of the Bhagavad Gita

“Do your duty to god without your eyes on the fruit of your action”

View Also

Humility and How I Attained It


Do you have any examples of humble brag? 

About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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1 Response to Humble Brag – How to Boast and Appear Humble

  1. Karen says:

    Oh Cedric, don’t get me started…..

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