The virtue of modesty

July 24th, 2013 by Bob Bly

AL, a superstar stock broker on Wall Street, once said: “The
more you tell the client that you are not a guru, not a
rain-maker, the more credible you become.”

I think this kind of humbleness goes a long way toward getting
people to trust you. Yet modesty is a credibility builder that
almost no one uses. What a shame!

For instance, on one of his web sites, my buddy Fred Gleeck, the
superstar information marketer, writes:

“Probably 98% of people who buy my products do nothing. The
testimonials on this site represent those who HAVE done

“I make no promises about your results. That’s up to you. The
information is solid. The testimonials represent a VERY SMALL
portion of the people who buy this product, much to my chagrin!”

This is brilliant because it is both honest and believable. The
reader either knows or suspects that most information products
don’t deliver the results their authors boast about. Fred’s copy
resonates with the belief the reader already has in his head
instead of clashing with it.

Fred also avoids creating unrealistic expectations on the part
of the buyer. If you buy his product and don’t get the results,
you realize that it is at least in part your fault. So this
reduces dissatisfaction and minimizes refund requests.

Sad to say, the majority of people I encounter both in business
and my personal life are braggarts, to one degree or another.

To me, that’s counterproductive, because in my observation, most
people dislike braggarts and admire modesty.

The Bible, Jeremiah 9:23: “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise
[man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in
his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches.”

If you wish to be a humble and modest human being, or at least
give the appearance of being one, here are 3 simple rules to

1-Resist the constant temptation to brag, no matter how frequent
or strong the impulse.

2-Do not tell people about your successes, accomplishments, or
good fortune unless they ask. And even then, downplay it.

3-Is what you are about to say going to make the other person
feel bad about themselves in comparison to you? Are you saying
it unnecessarily to feed your own ego? If so, don’t say it.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 10:22 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

29 responses about “The virtue of modesty”

  1. Braden Talbot said:

    When i go to meetups with entrepreneurs and software developers, I see others’ compulsions to brag about nothing or to avoid talking about their low- or no-income business.

    What I’ve found is that no one really cares. They care if you are willing to learn and work and act on your ideas.

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  29. Niranjan Sethi said:

    Honest and modesty are two traits of a person that can help him/her become a better human being. We all should be honest to ourselves and to others as well.

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