I was recently watching some old home videos I took of me and my college buddies traveling throughout Europe. I thought these videos were going to remind me of all the amazing times we had and beautiful things we saw, but it actually had a different effect on me. When I watched the videos, what stood out to me was how incredibly arrogant my friends and I were back then. I suppose we can be forgiven to a point since most college kids think they know more than they do, but for me it was an eye opening and embarrassing experience. For starters, I realized how unlikeable you are when you’re acting arrogant, and I also remembered various organizations and bands I was in where egos, including mine, destroyed everything. I also remember working college jobs for absolute ego-maniacs, the likes of which would never survive outside of that environment. In contrast, I remember certain friends that had incredible humility in college and they are still widely loved and admired amongst everyone.
All these memories got me thinking about how easily arrogance and large egos can ruin things, and how humility in contrast can move mountains. Dan Rockwell recently said “humility learns, arrogance knows”. To me that really sums it up. In business and in life, we need to constantly strive to be learning and we need to keep in mind that we aren’t always right.
I think we can all agree that we admire humble people and dislike arrogance. In a way, with humility comes all the things that arrogance feels entitled to: success, friends, admiration, an inspired team, a sense of inner peace, a loving family, stronger faith, etc. So it seems like a no brainer to give this subject more attention in your life. People twist this into political arguments all the time and I’m not interested in doing that, but it is clear that we all could benefit from a good dose of humility. We also need to be aware of the boundaries of this “pride” that we Americans are supposed to have about everything, as if it were a virtue. Boasting about our amazingness isn’t making us better at anything. In conclusion, I thought I’d include some practical pointers from none other than Mother Teresa to get us all started on a path towards greater humility.
- Speak as little as possible of oneself.
- Mind one’s own business.
- Do not want to manage other people’s affairs.
- Accept contradiction and correction cheerfully.
- Pass over the mistakes of others.
- Accept insult and injuries.
- Accept being slighted, forgotten, and disliked.
- Be kind and gentle, even under provocation.
- Do not seek to be specially loved and admired.
- Choose always the hardest.
What do you remind yourself of to keep yourself grounded? Feel free to share in the comments below!