When you reflect on someone humble, what comes to mind? Perhaps many of us default to seeing people who have very little, are in dire circumstances, or have been humiliated. Others may have thoughts of passive people. Some may see a person with their head held low, shoulders slumping, and even giving the appearance they are submissive.
Could it be that these images come to us from hearing stories of people being bullied, intimidated, or embarrassed? We are defined as being humiliated if we are stripped of pride through these tactics.
Did people of great wealth, high intelligence, or tremendous ability come to mind? Unfortunately, the most common default when thinking of those humble isn’t those with strong talents or abilities.
Humility is, in fact, a strong character trait, one that is necessary for anyone to become a master at anything. It is truly the driving force behind our accomplishing anything. Humility should be the foundation our lives are built on.
Why is being humble so misunderstood?
I was visiting with a friend the other day; this friend has achieved his second-level black belt. He will become a master at the fifth level should he elect to continue. We talked about some of the differences between the levels and what each may entail. Not knowing much about his discipline, I wasn’t sure about the training involved, so I asked him how those at the top levels train each other. There are very few masters in the world, so who trains the top-level, I wondered.
His comment really hit home for me, particularly in regard to the topic of humility. He said, “Masters must be humble, continually growing; humility means they can learn from everyone.” Masters humble, I thought; someone who can defy all odds, overcome pain and defend themselves against an army. It must be necessary, I felt.
The greatest among us thirst for knowledge continually. They have learned their development only comes from constantly studying. They are humble, which means teachable. They are the players on the team who are “coachable.”
Humility maintained throughout life suggests nothing more than a constant desire to learn, grow and expand. Being humble enough to know there is always someone, somewhere, that will teach us something.