These days all I hear is how humble l am, how much money I gave to charity, how l have 10,000 followers on Facebook and in the same breath people professing to being humble. As if being humble is a badge of honor.
I am tired of the word being thrown around like a rag doll. When did humility become ego driven, placing yourself higher than others as a status symbol? Have egos become so inflated that people have dropped the innate ability to serve without any expectation?
I remember when humility was the very thing we did to serve another human being without an attachment to the outcome. I subscribe to celebrating achievements, amplifying strengths however going around saying that your humble is the greatest paradox, contradiction.
When someone is humble, the efforts speak for themselves. Thomas Watson said, “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself”. You don’t see Dalai Lama jumping on Instagram story reciting the number of followers or likes or doing a Facebook live stating the number of people he had served.
The true representation of humble people is that their results speak for themselves. They don’t espouse to be humble. They will ask when they need help, will praise others and graciously accept a compliment. Taking responsibility when they are wrong and acknowledging their achievements were supported by a myriad of people. They are not the lone ranger inserting their “me-ness” in every conversation.
The process of humility begins when you realize that everything is not about you. Humility speaks truth. Quiet confidence often goes a lot further than loud insecurities and humble people prove that every single day in life, business and within the community.
Let’s dispel a few myths about being humble to really appreciate the depth of a truly humble spirit:
1. Mantra “fake it to you make it” doesn’t stick
A humble person will acknowledge that they don’t have it altogether. They embrace the bumps and bruises, sometimes the near fatal wreck to come to a place of humility. People are drawn to their vulnerability as their strength stems from that.
2. Failure is the school for humility
People often fear failure and make it mean something about them. They embrace failure as a stigma and attach finality to the event. Failure is feedback and when you embrace the lessons, you separate yourself from others and you amplify your greatness.
3. No need for begging for attention
When people are secure within themselves, they don’t have a need to brag about their accomplishments or beg others for attention. They display a level of confidence within themselves that represents that they see themselves as enough. They walk through life, not wanting the spotlight on them, feeling assured that they only need to stay in their own lane and celebrate their achievements without needing others to approve or acknowledge them.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh
4. Admit when you are wrong, shut up when you are right
True humility lies in the face of not blaming others, circumstances or genetics for actions. Taking 100% responsibility for all that happens in their world is one of the standards they subscribe. There is always a place for explaining action however, excuses are usually born from pride and fear. Acknowledgement leads to a change in direction and the opportunity to be a better version of you.
5. The creation of a sense of “we-ness” in relationships
Adding value seems to go hand in hand with humility. Caring for yourself is important. Having an inward reflection is healthy. Having an inward focus is a slow death. Balancing with an outward focus on others and your ability to contribute to the world creates harmony within.
Self-absorbed people tend to only think about what benefits them whereas humbled people look beyond themselves to what can benefit the entire planet. They believe that their purpose lies in contributing and lifting others up.
6. Self-importance is not self-awareness
In the corporate world, often the higher the ladder is climbed, the potential for arrogance increases. Whether we have conscious awareness of this or buried within the subconscious, turning the light onto the shadow side provides an opportunity to breakthrough and rise above self-importance.
Simon Sinek, says it well, “leaders eat last”. They have a deliberate calm, they deeply listen and hold the space of oneness with their team. They take all the responsibility and give away all the credit. Humility listens more and speaks less. It spends more time understanding and less time being understood.
7. Holding the gifts of wisdom
The Australian culture is immersed with complaining, whining and overwhelming blame and shame. The Tall Poppy syndrome still runs rampant through the fabric of our communities. Imagine if we flipped the switch and embraced the moments we are truly thankful for. The gratitude for our experiences, for the people around us and the ability to create in a world where so many are struggling.
Humility recognizes that we own nothing. Everything around us is a gift. Our lives, our presence and our experiences are all gifts of wisdom. A humble person appreciates the fact that the world does not revolve around him or her and accepts their position as just a tiny piece in the giant puzzle.
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” – Saint Augustine
8. Don’t subscribe to a victim mentality
Most people feel entitled to more money, power or other things in life, without stopping to think what they can bring to the table. Humble people don’t subscribe to a victim mentality. They work the best they can with what they have and remain thankful for everything they have been given. Humble people focus on what they can give, not what they can get.
When we embrace humility with open arms we realize that it can be exercised like a muscle. Reconnecting and reclaiming the aspects of ourselves, creates the foundations for success. Humility has nothing to prove yet everything to offer.