1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.
Live today in such a way that you won’t regret it tomorrow. To boast today about your plans, is to be embarrassed tomorrow if they are diverted. Why do we boast? Is it not to impress others? Have you ever been impressed by their boasting? Better to let admiration come when it’s due, than to seek it before you deserve it. Failure is its own problem, why enhance it with shame?
Boasting and worry have this in common: they both seek control of the future. Instead the wise person prepares for what cannot be controlled, and is able to handle the bad days as well as the good. Prudence is not a technique, but a virtue of character. “Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.” In boasting and in worry, you are likely to be proven wrong.
“Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” While boasting about yourself is counterproductive, boasting does have its place. When you boast about others, you honor them. When they praise you, your prudence is rewarded. Instead of setting yourself up for ridicule, encourage others and they will encourage you. Don’t boast about what you do, but about what has been done for you.