Isaac Asimov was one of the best writers who ever lived. How do I know that? He regularly said so. I love his writing, and I happen to agree with him. You may not like his style, but that is off the topic, because I am not here to discuss his merits as a wordsmith. I want to tell you all about the Isaac Asimov School of Cheerful Self-Appreciation. That’s what we call it, my friend Laurie and I. We are both members of this institution. No dress code is required. There are no registration fees, and no residency requirements. No salesman will call. All you have to do to enroll is to admit when you’re good at something.
That’s right. You’re good at something—probably lots of things, actually. But I bet you won’t fess up to it most of the time. We’re taught to be modest, to downplay our own accomplishments. After all, we wouldn’t want to show anyone else up. It just isn’t polite. Hooey! Yes, I said hooey, and I’d say a lot worse than that if I wasn’t trying to watch my language. It’s okay to be good at something, and it’s okay to say so. Other people are good at things, too, so it doesn’t make anyone look bad when you excel. There’s room for everyone up there at the top of the skill chart.
Admitting you’re good at something also doesn’t mean you don’t have room for improvement. I’m a good writer, but I’m always working at getting better. That doesn’t mean that I cannot take pride in the skills I’ve already got. I can, and indeed, I do. I’ve seen my progress over the years, and I’ve improved. I like what I do, and I like how I do it. I’m also a good speaker, and I make some pretty tasty dinners. That doesn’t mean I’m the best at these things, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say so if I felt it was true.
As writers, as artists—heck, as people—I don’t feel that we’re competing against one another. My skills don’t threaten you, and I love to help others to develop their own talents. There’s enough success out there for all of us. And we deserve it, because we are all fabulous people. I just think we should say so. Three cheers and a round of applause! You are so wonderful!
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
69. Enroll in the Isaac Asimov School of Cheerful Self-Appreciation. Your orientation lesson is to tell someone how great you are at something. Get to work!