No. 158



A few years ago I had the pleasure of traveling over to Claremore, Oklahoma and speaking to the Annual Progress Banquet sponsored by the local newspaper. The city of Claremore is also the home of the famous Will Rogers Memorial Museum and I found the time to visit it while I was there. What I saw that day was so very, very impressive and if you have never been there, I would enthusiastically recommend that you go see it because you will be glad you did.

Will Rogers, the cowboy humorist, was talented in so many different fields and especially as a writer. I've taken a moment to add this personal touch because I want to enlist one of his quotations as a basis for what I want to share with you in this column. He said, "it's just as important to be reminded as it is to be educated." The reason this is true is because the human mind is like a two edged sword. We often forget some of the most important things but remember many other things that have little merit or lasting value.

It is in this vein that I would like to ask you to think with me about a human weakness that many people have, including myself, that could help us achieve greater success in our lives. When we interact with other people, many times in our enthusiasm about what is taking place in our lives we move from sharing to telling and then to bragging. And sometimes it's very difficult to know when we have crossed the line.

When we begin to tell someone about our job, career, kids, hobby, team and a whole hosts of other things, most people don't mind if we share it with them. Usually they welcome the news unless we are an out and out "bore", but we begin to get on shaky ground when we talk about our success. If you are not careful, we come across as bragging.

To be honest, this is a failing of mine, especially when I am telling a newspaper publisher or editor about the merits of our column. Because I have deep convictions about what I believe the Lord has called me to share with you, I don't mean it that way, but later I realize that this is the way I may have come across.

We have all heard people say after their hand was called, "toot your own horn, lest the same be never tooted." To be sure, we would all be better off if we never had to make this statement. Now, I've already confessed and if your personality and enthusiasm lends itself to bragging a little once in a while, this very pointed story might be of value. I know it has reminded me to be more sensitive in the future.

"When I was a boy in the country we had a pesky little rooster that was a mighty big crower. Finally, we got tired of it and took him to market. He was priced according to his weight rather than the noise, because crowing doesn't bring anything in the market place. No wonder, for all its noise, not being, not doing." This is another way of saying, it's not so much what we say but what we do that really counts. As George Eliot once said, "A donkey may bray a good while before he shakes the stars down."

In the final analysis bragging never accomplishes anything, not even in prayer. So, all our boasting today will be naught tomorrow. How frantic, how vain, how futile. And finally this quotation by the French philosopher, mathematician Blaise Pascal, "Do you wish people to think well of you? If you do, then don't speak well of yourself." That's pretty sage advice but in these days of the "me" generation, it's pretty hard to do. Our human frailties is the reason I believe Will Rogers said, "It's just as important to be reminded as it is to be educated." What you do about this particular reminder, of course, is your own private affair. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)