We talk about humility and why it is important to embody this quality.

She was a French Canadian who fell in love with an Australian chiropractor and moved to make her home on the sunny Gold Coast in Queensland. 

Yvette came from a wealthy family. She was confident, opinionated with an eclectic taste for the finer things in life.  However, while she loved the beautiful weather and the relaxed Queensland lifestyle, she struggled to adapt to the more laid-back Australian culture.

Yvette became a close friend of mine and at the time, being also new to the Gold Coast I would catch up with her and ask her how she was adapting to her new life.  Her quirky response often was, “Tina, I am learning to eat humble pie.” And we would both laugh.

Adapting to a casual, less formal lifestyle meant that at times she had to lower her expectations of others and this was a real challenge for her, but one she was determined to not get her down.

THE POWER OF HUMILITY

Humility is an amazing quality that is often misunderstood as a soft skill that is admirable, but really gives us no power, but nothing could be further from the truth. Humility seems like an increasingly rare trait these days and a difficult attribute at times to emulate.

But what is it? What does it mean to be humble?

Humility is the act of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive. It is the opposite of aggression, arrogance, pride, and vanity.

On the surface, it appears to be empty of any power, but on a closer look, it grants enormous power to its owner.

With all the frustrations people are experienced with the lockdowns, who haven’t had the need at times to ‘eat humble pie’. Many times over the past 18 months I have remembered Yvette and related to her emotions as I focused on investing and perfecting my own ability to gain strength from a humble attitude. Surprisingly, what I discovered were the power and benefits that perfecting humility gave me.

Humility offers its owner complete freedom from the desire to impress, be right, compete or get ahead. Frustrations and losses have less impact, and a humble person confidently receives the opportunity to grow, improve, and not fight to meet society’s labels. And the rewards are many.  A humble attitude gives you a greater capacity for patience, compassion, and forgiveness of others’ imperfections and as I discovered, these qualities are worth their weight in gold. 

I would have to say that one of the most valuable emotional currencies at this present time is the ability to remain calm, focused, and unscathed by challenges we are all currently facing.

Over the past 18 months progressively I have seen people become angry, aggressive, and at times, outright rude and obnoxious (I am sure most of you can relate and have experienced similar incidences). Much of this behaviour has been fuelled by the stress that many are experiencing since COVID-19 changed our world, with its uncertainties of what is in store for our future.

While some have risen to the challenges, evaluating their options, reassessing their direction, and made appropriate adjustments, others, have succumbed to fear, allowed themselves to become overwhelmed, and as a result, taken their frustration out on others. In all the years I have served in this industry I have never experienced the level of bombastic, demanding, and entitlement behaviour to the extent that I have witnessed it in recent times.

HOW TO BE HUMBLE

In reviewing humility, a closer look at its qualities will help us appreciate why investing in cultivating this amazing attribute is both admirable and extremely valuable.  Here is why? 

Understand individual limitations

Humans, by definition, are finite and thus limited in our understanding. Our talents are different, our minds are different, and our experiences vary from one another. Life is an ongoing journey of discovery, based on the knowledge we have attained, which is also flavoured by our personal experiences.

Individually, we comprehend only a small, unique fraction of the world. But together, we arrive at a far-grander view of our universe. Humble people realise that their understanding is limited and embrace it. As a result, they wisely also look for answers outside of themselves.

Humble people honour others

Have you ever experienced an encounter where someone approached you with an open and warm attitude that made you feel valued, important and respected?   How amazing does that make you feel?

All human life carries inherent value. Our souls hold no more value or importance than the person sitting next to us, no matter where we may be sitting. A humble person appreciates the fact that the world does not revolve around him or her. They accept their position as just a tiny piece in the giant puzzle and are intrigued to learn more from others.

Respect another viewpoint without being irritated 

Just because an opinion is different from ours doesn’t mean it is wrong. We all come to our conclusions based on where we are in our journey in life, the knowledge we have attained and our personal experiences. These views may change or modify over time based on new information we gain, or even because of maturity – this is sometimes also known as becoming wiser with age.  Once we recognise this, we are in a far better place to begin a dialogue.

Listen more and speak less

Humble people often have a level of inner freedom that intrigues them to spend more time understanding others, and a lesser need to be always understood.

Humble people don’t just nod along and wait for their turn to talk. Instead, they actively listen and stay present, engaged in the conversation. They ask questions and don’t mind investing in making sure the person they’re speaking to feel good about themselves and in bringing out the best in them.

Withhold judgments over intentions as much as possible

The quickest way to win an argument in your mind is to make sweeping judgments concerning the intentions of others. It is the easiest way to discount any valid, opposing argument. It is also one of the most damaging. 

Being humble allows you to practice putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and to see where they are coming from. You don’t seek to win. You seek to understand others better.

Help and promote others 

Joy is not found in being right and arriving at the top. Instead, joy is found in helping others grow and succeed. Humility realises that in those cases, both parties win, and together, they work towards creating a better world.

In cultivating humility, we need to understand that it always begins in our hearts. As a result, it empowers us to achieve significant control over our attitude, outlook, and actions. It has nothing to prove, but everything to offer.

Have you met someone who exudes these traits? Don’t you think they are worthy of a lifelong pursuit? 

In essence, the beauty of humility is that it enhances positive connections with others, while also preserving our own sense of calm while gaining greater control of our own emotions.