“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” Muhammad Ali
Humility is often mistaken for a meek or low view of oneself. The reality is, humility is an accurate evaluation of oneself. And a key hallmark of an accurate value of oneself is an appreciation for others.
When humility is missing, we notice it in 4 ways: Over or under appreciation of our accomplishments, and an over or under appreciation of our shortcomings.
Pride – Over-valued accomplishments
We all have things for which we can be proud. Over-value those accomplishments and you become egotistic, arrogant, stuck in the past, or clueless about the future. You risk making mistakes because you think you know what you really don’t know. No one is more dangerous than someone who doesn’t know or appreciate what they don’t know.
False Humility – Under-valued accomplishments
However, if you under-value those accomplishments, you shortchange the world, or at least your small sphere of influence. The feelings of accomplishment that you get are designed to motivate you to do it again. Accurate appreciation for right choices and right actions inspires us to persist in improving the world. Remember to consider your accomplishments as someone else would. Then you can see the true value you bring.
Guilt – Over-important failures
In reality, we all know no one is perfect. We each have things about which we are not particularly proud. Many have secrets we want no one to know. If we focus too much on our shortcomings and shortfalls we become paralyzed, afraid, victims, without hope, unable to create a positive future.
Ignorance – Undervalued failures
And if we ignore those shortfalls and shortcomings we become arrogant and self-important. We fail to learn when we think we know. Ignorance is ignoring what we don’t know.
Humility empowers us to learn. As we learn and appreciate others, we are free to hope and hope pulls us into a compelling future.