People have different ideas about being humble. I remember learning in school that the opposite word of humble is proud. And I learned in a simple way then that being proud was not a good virtue, it was linked to being a snob, a ‘nose in the air’ person.
C S Lewis said: ‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself; It is thinking of yourself less.’
Humility is thinking of yourself less. It can imply that you are considerate and regard others before yourself. You consciously acknowledge the strengths of others without undermining your own strengths.
Humility is not about being self-critical or self-deprecating. It doesn’t mean that you are down on yourself or think that you are less worthy than others. Being humble is that quiet confidence that doesn’t require bragging or boasting. You are confident in yourself, your talents, and your skills, but you don’t go around showing off or trying to gain others’ approval or applause.
Being humble is not about denying what you know or what you believe. It’s also not thinking that you know it all. The more you learn, the more you will realise how much you didn’t know and how much there is to learn.
Humility is not about hiding your talents or skills. Being humble doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to hide or pretend to be less than you are. That is a false humility that serves no one. Your gifts, skills, and talents are meant to be shared.
Lack of humility in other areas of life is not good either. People without humility tend to play power games, losing their connection to others. They talk when they should listen. They cling to their opinions and ideas rather than opening to the wisdom and viewpoints of others. Basically, they cut themselves off from knowledge, intelligence, relationships, and support from others that could help them grow both personally and professionally.
The moment you let fame or success go to your head, you lose that ability to be humble.
As basketball great John Wooden said:
“Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”