On an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is at a party celebrating the opening of building wing that his donation helped build. He’s thrilled to see his name on the wall, but when he learns his friend, Ted Danson, is an “anonymous” donor, he gets crazy (or shall I say crazier?) Larry is convinced Ted really wants everyone to know that he’s “anonymous” so he can get more attention.
Is modesty a virtue? Don’t ask Donald Trump. He’ll say no. But if you ask me, I think it is–and isn’t. Touting your talent, for example, can help you land a job. Isn’t that what auditions are all about? Touting your great personality can help attract others to you. Touting your determination can inspire confidence.
On the other hand, touting your wealth is a no-no. FOF Jane is long married to an extremely successful entertainment lawyer in LA. When she buys jewelry, she’d rather buy smaller scale pieces, just because she doesn’t want to “show off.”Talking about your riches, especially to those less fortunate, doesn’t win friends, either. And bragging about all your connections, just to make yourself look more powerful, is tacky. Offering to use your connections to help someone is admirable.
False modesty, however, can seem, well, false. If you’ve succeeded big at something after working hard, it’s better to beam than to say: “Oh, it was nothing.”