How to make everyone think you’re great

Maybe it’s because we’re British, but the two of us are fantastically adept at brushing off compliments whenever we receive them.

“Oh, this old thing? Got it in the bargain bin at Tesco, and the buttons won’t do up because I’m so fat. Have it if you want – it’s bound to look better on you.”

That kind of thing.

We’re also rather shy about saying what we’re good at – and when we do say anything, we normally feel the need to work through lots of self-deprecating background information first. Again, maybe it’s because we’re British. But I’m also sure it’s because we don’t want to be embarrassed by anyone piping up with: “No you bloody well aren’t [the best Googler ever / amazing at standing on one leg for so long / ingenious with a raw chicken and some spices].”

If Norwegian currency is anything to go by, though, we really don’t have to worry about anyone saying anything to the contrary.

Do you remember when the news was full of stories about Norway’s new banknote designs? In article after article, they were hailed as “the world’s most beautiful banknotes“, and we all started to feel annoyed about how crappy our own banknotes looked in comparison.

So which panel of artistic experts decided to give such high praise to this new currency? Errrr… the people at Norway’s central bank themselves. You see, they simply started telling people that the banknotes “have already been called ‘the world’s most beautiful banknotes'”, (possibly by someone’s mum, possibly by absolutely no one), which helped everyone else realise that they were, indeed, the world’s most beautiful banknotes.

The statement was accepted as fact, reprinted in online and offline publications around the world, and as a result the new Norwegian currency has a kind of prestige that, objectively, might be unjustified.

So next time you think it would be beneficial to talk up your strengths, don’t sweat it: even when the entire world’s watching you, chances are they’ll buy anything you say and treat you accordingly.