I have a thing about lofty goals and aspirations. Making them is like slugging back an espresso: instantaneous energy boost followed by inevitable disappointment when the effect fades, but feeling really cool about yourself in the moment. In this world, and by that I mean the world of the online, it is especially difficult to refuse an opportunity to pet one’s ego by offhandedly remarking that you’ve started your training to climb Mt. Everest or are learning to see with your third eye.
These kinds of utterances in the nebulous webspace are like secrets whispered into a hole in a tree. Vocalization gives credence to otherwise fanciful wishes. But hey, maybe there’s a squirrel or a wizard hanging out in that tree waiting to reward boastful types with a high five or “Right on, guy!”—the facebook like, in other words.
Before I give too much of the wrong impression let me be clear: I think boasting is fine. You’ve done something cool, go ahead and tell people; you’re about to do something few other sane people would dare undertake, proclaim it to the metaphorical mountains (or real ones, if you’re geographically situated to allow for that). To me, when you say you’ll do something to a crowd, you’re giving yourself that crucial touch of social pressure to see you through to the end. Sure, other people might get irritated reading about your uh-mazing life, but it’s probably because they (read: this person) are incredibly envious of your ability to put yourself in a potentially dangerous (physically and/or emotionally) situation for the sake of self-improvement.
The furthest I’ll take humble bragging is with food I’ve made. The reason? I’m still in that fledgling stage of the culinary arts where if something comes out tasting like anything other than slightly burned oil it’s a beautiful victory. The more I share my successes, the more encouragement I get, the better I get with my cooking. The positive feedback loop.
And on that note, time to get a second round of some pretty tasty fried rice I made.