Why do people BRAG?


Today I’m going to talk about the internet social and business networks.

It seems like every one of us tries to build an image. A better one.

On Facebook, most people try to make as many “friends” as possible. 100, 500, 1000, 5000!

I’ve never heard of anyone having more than 100 real life friends, let alone 5000!

What is the mentality behind this hunger for friends? And why do we constantly try to increase their numbers?

The answer is: because we want attention.

We want other to see how many friends we have and to respect us. In order to feel appreciated. And eventually feel happy.

On LinkedIn, which is mainly a network for professionals, people try to look as professional as possible.

Suit, tie, a collection of connections and endorsements and as many titles as we can.

MBA, PhD, Dr, CEO are some of the most respected titles. Some (dare I say: all?) even go as far as doing a PhD or MBA for the sole purpose of impressing potential clients and employers.

For example, what does “Senior Mortgage Lending Officer, Lending & SME’s Analysis” mean? I don’t know.

What I know is that behind all those titles and fancy descriptions is a person, a real person, who wants attention, who wants to be appreciated and to be successful. And eventually feel happy.

I can see that as clear as day.

All of us are like that. At our core, we just want to be happy.

And each of us takes the path that we think is best in order to achieve that happiness.

Instead of simply being happy.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/RazvanGeorgeCostea

Blog: https://costearazvan.wordpress.com

5 thoughts on “Why do people BRAG?

  1. The 95% on the treadmill of life that you speak of reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”. The operative words in this statement I believe are the ones “quiet desperation”, for many of us in our own ways are indeed desperate individuals who quietly and privately (if not so quietly and privately, as in the case of Facebook)) disguise our desperation so as not to be perceived as being vulnerable either by our own critical acquaintances or by the general public at large.

    I am unclear as to what “compromises” the 95% of which you speak of, have to make. When it comes to the imperatives in life there can be no compromises. Due to socioeconomic conditions, environmental variables and physical/mental limitations, most (if not all) of these “95% cannot aspire to or maintain their goals and dreams regardless of how lofty, noble and seemingly possible (to others) these ambitions might seem to be.
    When hopes are continually and consistently thwarted, the bar of these expectations may be lowered to the extent that even the consistent act of managing daily self help skills may become a challenge. Having the wherewithal and motivation for success doesn’t necessarily equate itself with automatic or even eventual success.

    Not all of the 5% that you mentioned may necessarily be whom you describe to be as well. I’d venture to say that most never were and never will be mavericks, creative innovators and/or pioneers who have changed the world. The unique geniuses and philanthropists that were mentioned are extraordinary individuals because they are the rare few who have had the abilities and means to do so. The achievement of their goals undoubtedly was in part due to their perseverance and diligence, however despite having these estimable qualities, without having access to other resources (e.g., financial capital, whom you may or may not know, being in the right place at the right time and sometimes even just plain luck), there would have been limitations in what could or would (if anything) have been achieved,accomplished or produced by them. I think too of those (in particular, the ‘nouveau riche’) who’s assets weren’t necessarily gained through hard work, ambition and diligence, but rather through inheritance or unethical or immoral means who’s contributions to this world have been negligible, if not nefarious in nature.

    The individuals that you speak of truly may have enjoyed what they were doing on an intellectual and/or on a prosperous level, but I can imagine that their lives , especially if their thoughts were not part of the mainstream, were far from being “beautiful”, since the possibility exists that they may have had even more struggles in daily living than the average person might have. It’s been said that on a social and emotional level that those possessing severe and profound levels of intellectual impairment often have similar equivalent maladjustment problems in functioning as those on the opposite end of the spectrum of measured intelligence. Having been a teacher of both populations I can attest to this fact.

    It is very difficult to “march to the beat of a different drummer” when all of society is playing a different tune. Not only does this take personal courage and emotional strength to do this, but without proper environmental support and reinforcement, an individual’s intellectual and creative thought processes can be stifled or even destroyed. Were these really the people who (as you’ve written) “didn’t get schooled”? I find that difficult to accept, for intelligence cannot exist within a vacuum. Those born with an innate sense of intelligence who are not given a positive, supportive environment in which to grow and prosper ( which should be the goal of the best schools and universities) are doomed to never realize or fulfill their own true potentials. I know that Einstein for example after receiving an Honorary Degree from Princeton University chose to teach and live there for the remaining 22 years of his life. The other esteemed individuals that were mentioned I’m sure too had at best formal (if not informal) backgrounds in education in order for them to have reached the high respective levels of their notable positions.

    I don’t know if everyone necessarily deserves a “gorgeous” life, but everyone I feel does deserve to be happy. I agree with critic Roger Ebert in his autobiography, “Life Itself”, when he says:
    “I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

    The essence of “happiness” does not lie I believe within the confines of our bank accounts and portfolios, but rather in what lies within ourselves.The reason we live, that nearly undefinable essence that keeps us going, surely is not money, but hope. Without hope there can be no happiness and our lives would be doomed to futility and despair.
    Without hope there would be no will to live.

    In regard to “bragging” :
    “If you don’t toot your own horn, than who will?” comes to mind as well as, “The squeaky wheel (or in this case, the one who brags), gets the grease (or money)”.
    If one is a deceitful braggart, Bonnie Parker’s retort to outlaw Clyde Barrow in the film “Bonnie and Clyde” comes to mind:
    “My,my. Your advertisin’s just dandy, Folks would never know you don’t have a thing to sell.”.

    • There’s nothing wrong with bragging, as long as it’s for all the right reasons. In fact, my mentor, who is a 6-time Emmy Award winner, says that few things are more important in business than “shameless self promotion”. In sales, that’s of utmost importance. Whereas bragging in order to gain acceptance and respect is for all the wrong reasons, thus a form of self-sabotage.

      I’ve seen people do the most stupid things in order to gain acceptance, like selling their home to buy a brand new car, the consequence being that they don’t have anywhere to live. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” as you said, sounds more like complaining than bragging. Please note that there’s a difference between self-promotion and bragging. More often than not, bragging is detrimental in the long run and overall to the person who’s doing it, and is mostly composed of lies under some form or another. Self-promotion is based on real facts or assets and is mostly based on truths.

      Regarding the “nouveau riche”, there must me more to it than just inheritance. How else can you explain the stories where some people were born into riches, lost it all, became dirt-poor, and then, somehow, re-accumulated the same wealth as before.

      And that’s all I’m going to write on a Friday night 🙂

  2. Very true…but what it sounds like you see it as a problem somehow. Please correct me if I’m wrong. But if I’m right then I would like to ask you if you see a solution to this?
    Don’t get me wrong, I hate these things and I argued about this situation a lot of times, but then people asked me: “do you see a solution?” or “and do you want to live on a mountain and eat leaves?” or “yes, but if this is the game everyone is playing, if you want to have a nice live or to have money for your children and for your family needs, you will have to deal with this, to do the same”. Indeed, there is no way to avoid this, either you become like them or you will disapear…I will be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • Thank you, Anca, for your beautiful message.
      And…you’re not the only one who has been cornered with those kinds of questions. I have been too. Except now I’m able to give you an answer, whereas a few years ago I couldn’t.

      I’m sad to say that 95% of the population lives on a treadmill. They wake up, drink their coffee, go to a job they don’t like for the better part of the day. They pay the bills, but years pass and they wonder why they don’t become rich. They compromised, they worked hard, they provided for their children, they played the game everyone else was playing, they followed the herd, they sold their time. The answer for the fact that they didn’t get rich lies exactly in the previous paragraph. Because they did those things.

      On the other hand there is another category of people. They are 5% or less of the population, but they control almost 95% of the money. They are the mavericks, the pioneers. The people who changed the world. The Einsteins, the Edisons, the Fords, the Gates, the Jobs, the Zuckerbergs. The creators. The people who didn’t get schooled, who didn’t walk the conventional paths everyone else walked. For those people, life is a beautiful experience, not a struggle. Instead of hating what they do, they enjoy doing it and can’t wait to get up in the morning to do what they love.

      And no, in answer to your friends’ affirmation, you don’t get rich by living on top of a mountain eating leaves. Nobody did. Instead, those people who got rich followed their passion, their dreams, added value to the world with their creations. Sadly, not many feel this way. Most are used to be comfortable and settle for a certain level of existence. They fail to live their dreams and doom themselves to never experience them. They fail to risk, fail to lose, fail to try.

      And, Anca, I know that there’s a part of you that knows that I’m right. Each of us are the masters of our own destiny, and we owe it to ourselves to experience the gorgeous life we deserve. Nobody can make this decision for yourself; you have to make it on your own.

      But… it’s worth it.

      I hope I’ve given you the answer you were looking for.


    • Anca – I believe one option regarding your dilemma may be to consider a compromise between your working hours and your private life.

      “Becoming like them” may make you “disappear” within the context of a group, but if wiser heads prevail you can figuratively “have your cake and eat it too”. (Or in this case, have your job without being a “sheep” within the context of a work environment.)

      “Marching to the beat of a different drum” is extremely difficult at best when society is playing a different tune. (See my post below.)
      However living in any society we must acquiesce to it’s conformity to an extent in order for a stabilized existence to be maintained by all.This is why laws exist and why certain levels of ethical and moral boundaries have been created and adhered to by all involved. For better or for worse, the same holds true within the workplace:

      There is a hierarchy of responsibilities within any organizational framework that respectively contain certain protocols that must be followed in order to assure a maximum degree of efficiency and assure the smooth running of one’s business, company or organization. Therefore it is a “given” to do one’s job satisfactorily and more than a simple consideration for one to call one’s boss if one is to be absent or late.This may be a form of “conformity” , but within it’s professional context it is a necessary compliance that must be adhered to.

      Thankfully in addition to our professional selves we also have our own private lives to contend with as well. Barring any community’s ethical, moral and/or legal boundaries, this part of us can have (and deserves) unbridled freedom of expression.

      The quandary that has existed perhaps since time immemorial is how to balance the aspects of ourselves that are devoted to the necessities of life (such as earning money to provide for one’s self and family) and the responsibilities inherent within the contexts of our own personal lives (such as the maintaining of a functioning family unit). There is no objective answer to this quandary for it is purely a subjective decision based on one’s particular situation. The dividing of one’s time and how it is spent is unique for all of us. Depending on the context and our own personal priorities of needs and wants, the ratio of our professional and private lives will differ from individual to individual.

      Professionally you do what you have to do, privately you do what you want to do. Only you can decide what or how the ratio of these two sides of yourself can best be utilized and optimized.

      Anca, no one can make you feel like a “sheep” unless you allow them to. By giving others’ words and/or attitudes credence and in believing that their words have the substance of truth, you are in essence giving them power in defining who you are and the possible negative repercussions that this can have on your self concept and self esteem.Objectively you can only feel like a “sheep” or part of the “flock” if you, yourself, say that you are one and the same.

      Countless people endure the drudgery of jobs that they feel last for an endless number of hours each day, feeling as they do like the proverbial rat going nowhere in a never ending cycle within a wheel. But “feeling” something to be true and figuratively believing something to actually “be” true are two distinctly different frames of mind.Succinctly put, acting like a (figurative) sheep, doesn’t make you a sheep.

      Anca, you may at times (as perhaps most of us do) feel like a “sheep” in the various roles that dictate your life (e.g., as a professional, as a parent, etc.), but if you can find the appreciation and freedom that are (hopefully) inherent in your private hours you will never (in both your own view and in the opinion of others) become a nameless, unappreciated “sheep” feeling like (to paraphrase a Pink Floyd song), ” … you’re just another brick in the wall “.

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