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There’s a lot of pressure today to “toot your own horn.”

And it starts early. I heard about some parents who were fine-tuning resumes for their kids…to get into an elite preschool!

This pressure toward self-promotion continues through high school, college, the world of work, the online dating world, etc.

And I get it. In a noisy, competitive world, it’s easy to feel, “If I don’t make a lot of noise, if I don’t toot my own horn, I’ll get passed over.”

Of course there is a time and a place to put one’s best foot forward. We’re not arguing with that.

But isn’t it also true that the people who most earn our respect are not usually the ones who make the most noise about themselves?

Aren’t we most impressed by people who have the quiet confidence to let their lives and their actions do the talking?

As Mark Twain said:

“Noise doesn’t count. If it did you’d have to believe the hen laid an asteroid instead of an egg.”

And Baltasar Gracian gave this advice,

“Make the least ado about your greatest gifts. Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.”

 Yes, a lot of noise can get us some attention in the short term. Watching fireworks is fun…for about twenty minutes.

But if we’re shooting for the long term, Gracian is suggesting: “Lead with your life. Put your life and your actions out there and let them speak for themselves.”

Of course that raises the challenging question: “What is my life saying?”