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Braggadocio January 16, 2008


Merriam-Webster - braggart, empty boasting, arrogant pretension : cockiness - empty boasting; bragging, a boasting person; braggart
TheLoneRider - carrying one's own bench (which is more forgiving than the above)

The Wise Man
A man who's been around, told me once that all people have braggadocio in them. It may be up-front, concealed, disguised or subtle...but it's there. Whether they're better off or worse for it, it will come out in many forms, shapes and sizes. He also qualified that braggadocio isn't all that bad. If dealt with the right way, it's an empowering tool that make people value your worth.

The Tour
That thought lingered with me and heightened my awareness about braggadocio. True, I see it in everyone - from the humble Mother Theresa-type to the chest-pounding jock who thinks he's Tarzan. The varied and myriad manifestations are intriguing as they are amusing, and sometimes annoying. Think fart - it's unpleasant and it will find its way out of the body, and everybody farts. Wanna take a tour?

  • bragging-rights braggadocio - we all kick butt in one way or the other - in the things we worked hard for, in our accomplishments, things we take pride in, etc. So what's wrong if you give yourself a tap on the shoulder? People who kick butt and say they kick butt are usually the colorful kind, if they can do the tight-wire act between being annoying and animated.
  • somebody's gotta know braggadocio - this one's for the kind who won't be caught dead exclaiming he's done this or done, he's 'humble'. This is usually the self-styled low-key individual, who's not really low-key....just repressed. This individual may exclaim to himself in whisper-mode that he's just finished doing this and that, but ensuring at the same time that it's within an earshot of the next guy. Oftentimes, it's implied. Yeah, somebody's gotta know.
  • put-down braggadocio - I'm really wary of this type. Again, he's the type who won't be caught dead saying "I've done this and that". He utters unfavorable remarks designed to undermine the people around him, essentially leaving him the last guy standing. He can't express his worth without belittling someone...sometimes, the very people he hangs out with! The witty ones however, can be subtle. He cracks a witty or funny line in putting someone down. It's presented as humor, but it claims a victim. The braggadocio is underhanded, almost unnoticeable. This individual is hardly supportive of anyone.
  • "I can ruin you" braggadocio - usually reserved for the movers, shakers, someone who knows someone powerful, someone who knows something about someone, they don't bother implying it. It's in your face neatly packaged into the individual's tone, demeanor or swagger...and they arrogantly assume you can't do shit about it. At least, you don't have to worry about this guy sneaking up on you.
  • outright lying braggadocio - this guy is probably the most transparent and the most annoying. You can easily see through him and smell him a mile away. No substance, just hot air.
  • "hey look, I kick-ass too" braggadocio - the mild-mannered self-deprecating Dr. Jekyll who turns into Mr. Hyde when you're up his alley. Example: a shy, introvert who walks around with anonymity but once you get to be a passenger in his car, he makes sure you leave his car pale with hair on ends - coz he drives like a bat out of hell. He's a walking booby-trap.
  • no-esteem no-braggadocio - I think self-esteem is a prequisite to braggadocio. Empower someone powerless and watch braggadocio come out of him like steam from a pressure cooker. Yeah, I've seen that one too - a humble have-not wanting to be called MISTER after hitting pay dirt.
  • benefactor braggadocio - you gotta love this kind...because everybody is happy. He finds empowerment by giving. Think Rockefeller who spends millions of dollars building a hospital wing in China benefiting people he doesn't even know and will never meet. Cool, eh?
I'm sure you can add more to the list...start with yourself (it's a good exercise), email me, and I'll add it here (anonymously of course!).

Pulpit Talk?
To assure you that I'm no self-righteous pulpit talker, I'll even start with me. The Abs Showdown? Yeah, no matter what I say, it's still braggadocio. I can rationalize that it's simply an online workout, or that it serves as a litmus test not just for fitness but outlook and paradigm, but you cannot remove the specter of braggadocio in it. But hey, at least I'm fully aware it's braggadocio, and I know it's a victimless braggadocio. At worse, it's annoying, but it's benign. Yes, I'm ok with all that and make no apology for it. As for the other types of braggadocio? Yeah, often times, guilty as charged!...well maybe except the lying part...I don't take kindly to that.

We All Have It
Society universally frowns upon braggadocio, but it exists in everyone - and there lies the conflict. Analogy? 99% of all people think there's something wrong with their faces (usually their noses). I can understand if it's a 3%, but 99%? That practically spans the entire spectrum and represents the median! Surely we can't have 99% of the population looking 'abnormal'. Same thing with braggadocio - a perception issue and definitely, an execution issue as well. Since everyone has braggadocio, we simply can't be frowning on everyone.

An Average Bloke
With the passing of Sir Edmund Hillary, UPM Paul Villegas, posted to his Multiply blog, a write-up that read:

"I was just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities," Sir Edmund Hillary said on the 50th anniversary of his pioneering climb of Mount Everest, "an average bloke." Even at the moment of his greatest triumph, he claimed no more.
Yes, humility in a moment of triumph...for him and for the human humbling. We can all appreciate such noble virtue. For his achievement (climbing and his community work with the Sherpas) and his humble demeanor, I, as a member of humnankind and a mountaineer, salute DA MAN!

The Little Voice
However, there is this little voice inside my head playing devil's advocate. This is by no means a disrespect to Sir Hillary (he's DA MAN), but what if he said, "Yeah, I kicked butt!". Would that remark take away from his accomplishment? Would we see him in a different light? Should we?

Ending Thoughts
As aware as I am to braggadocio, I'm not exempted, although I'm probably my harshest critic when it comes to that. Far from perfect but gradually coming to terms with it, I begin to see braggadocio in a different, more forgiving light - as a universally inherent human trait that cannot be kept has to come out. How it comes out is key. Those who can craft it like art can really be entertaining.

Given the nature of braggadocio, that it's in everyone, and that it will manifest itself one way or the other, I'd rather it come out where I can see it. Ideally, it would be super-cool if all our braggadocio was the benefactor kind. But not all of us can and thank God for those who are. I would say that the most benign (albeit annoying) is the bragging rights braggadocio. Sure, it doesn't benefit anyone, but it's none threatening, claims no victim and not a danger to anyone. As for the others, I don't know....I don't like casualties.

So, what if Sir Hillary said he kicked butt? Of course he did...and we're all better off for it!

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

(Jan 19, 2008) ...just read your amusing Lucid Thoughts and I dont fit in any of those. I'm the HUMBLE type remember? hahaha! Kidding aside I'm not at all annoyed or irked by braggarts. On the contrary, I'm entertained by how varied and colorful their personalities are. Whatever suits anybody suits me, what counts is that we are all having fun. I'm also guilty as charged, I brag when pushed, but I'm not at all affected by what people think and say (good or bad ). Anybody needs a certain dose to bloat their egos anyway. Congrats pala sa six pack mo. Hoping to see it soon...hehehe.

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