‘Toot your horn. Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favourite thing about yourself.”
With this latest of ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ WordPress may have gone too far. There is nothing wrong with self-deprecation. It’s what I do. I think it is my favourite thing about myself.
I’m not even sure that self-deprecation is the right word. You’re not paranoid if they actually are out to get you, so surely you’re not self-deprecatory if you truly don’t have anything to ‘toot your horn’ (really, WordPress, really?) about.
Anyway, I don’t think of it as self-deprecation: I prefer to call it expectations management.
Not so much a case of ‘always leave them wanting more’ as ‘carefully condition them to see anything at all as a bonus’. It’s a well-known strategy in corporate restructuring: under-promise and over-deliver.
Although, sadly, I never did master the second half of that equation.
Speaking of equations, according to Mr R–, whose thankless task it was to try and teach me Maths just at the point where it started getting too complicated for me (i.e the age of twelve), I was, in one term report, a ‘quiet and unobtrusive worker’.
Like that’s a bad thing. A quiet and unobtrusive slacker, now that would be a bad thing. My preference was, and always has been, just to get on with it.
So I have always tried to follow the advice given to King Lear: ‘Speak less than thou knowest’. Okay, it was the Fool giving the advice, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
As for all those more outgoing alpha personalities, isn’t it the case that empty vessels make the most noise?
So I am perfectly happy being self-deprecating. However, in the spirit of trying to get out of my blogging comfort zone for the purpose of this prompt, I have managed to come up with one other thing I might be good at.
In a recent post, I wrote about my French teacher’s gorgeously economic encapsulation of my entire life in three words: ‘weak, but tries’.
Maybe that should be my new favourite thing about myself: I may be weak, but I do try. Yes, that must be it.
Just to be sure, I asked my family about this and they all agreed. I am indeed trying most of the time.