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I recently stumbled across a massive poster of a Wellington mayoral candidate. Now I am no expert on politics and that is certainly not what this post is about, but it got me thinking about self-promotion. I for one would not be overly comfortable with a larger than life picture of me on a billboard, but I understand that for electoral campaigns you need to promote yourself. In fact, we pretty much all promote ourselves. That’s what we do when we put in a CV application for example. And I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that. We should be proud of our achievements. What I’m unsure about is how to be proud without being arrogant and conceited. I won’t delve into the whole ‘tall poppy syndrome’ we have in kiwi culture. We all know about it. It is a thing. And it is not a good thing.

I think the word and concept of being proud gets a bad reputation, as does humility. One gets shoved into being bigheaded and airing superiority, and the other gets classed as being insecure and meek. I found a great quote that deals with this well.

‘Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility. Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate. Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness’ C JoyBell C.

I suspect this balance is something I will have to walk through all the years of my life but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. People have different perceptions and definitions of words so hopefully, you get the feel of what I’m trying to explain rather than get hung up on vocabulary.

To finish I will leave you with a quote from a beloved author.

‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less’
C. S. Lewis

This post is a personal view and not necessarily reflective of the views of any other people or organisations, including the Malaghan Institute.

Are humility and self-promotion truly oxymorons?

 
 
 
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