In an article for advances in economics and business management role, Rahul Eragula stated the following conclusion as it relates to leadership, greatness, and humility:
“Greatness is measured by how much authority you receive from people. But we are really great if we humble ourselves to do what’s best for others, instead of doing what is best for us. Just having authority doesn’t alone make you great, it is your service and humility that make you great.”
Honestly, I want to be great and I want my kids to be great. I posted earlier on Instagram this week, a great quote about how the world reflects back to us what we put out in the world.
“The world reflects back to you what you are, if you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you.
The world is what you are.” Thomas Dreier
If you want greatness to reflect back to you, what you have to project out is humility.
The big question is:
“How do we become more humble?”
Another important question is:
“Isn’t humility connected with weakness?”
No! Only in our distorted modern way of seeing the world do we see some leaders that have the appearance of success as people who are arrogant and brash and loud.
In real life, the best leaders are humble.
In your real experiences with leaders, the people you most want to follow are humble, the people you most want in charge of things are humble, and the people you are most willing to follow are humble.
To those who are Christians, there’s no greater example of the power of a humble leader than Jesus!
Yet, we often don’t look for that kind of leader in modern society.
As you look at other faith practices, you find incredible humility in people like Buddha and Confucius and others.
Look at modern historical leaders who have had remarkable impact on the world, and you see the power of humility.
Two easy examples are Mother Teresa and Gandhi
Two people who had remarkable leadership impact, remarkable world impact, and yet came from a place of deep humility.
Our most beloved American leaders, people like George Washington and Rosa Parks.
Washington was consistently reminding others of his limitations.
Consider his statement when he first took office as President.
“While I realize the arduous nature of the task which is conferred on me and feel my inability to perform it, I wish there may not be reason for regretting the choice. All I can promise is only that which can be accomplished by an honest zeal.”
Can you imagine a political leader today saying something that humble? (Part of why so many of our political leaders lack real strength).
Back to being humble:
If humility is a characteristic of greatness, how do I develop humility?
Today, I want to share a couple of ideas around how you can develop humility.
The first humility habit is in relationships.
This one takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of willingness to put yourself out there.
The first habit you can develop is to ask for feedback from someone close to you, particularly in an area where you’re trying to develop a better character or greater skill.
You might even try something around humility,
Go to somebody that you know and trust. Someone you love and who loves you.
Start by saying, “I’m trying to become a humbler person, how do you think I’m doing?”
Or “I’m trying to develop my self-control, how do you think I’m doing?”
Or “I’m trying to be a more grateful person. Have you noticed? Where do you think I could do better?”
The willingness to get feedback is one of the key markers of humility.
Because people who are humble are often willing to learn and grow.
They are willing to accept that where they are today is not as good as they will ever be.
And while celebrating success and achievement, they are humble enough to acknowledge that they can always do better moving forward.
Give it a try! Start your habit this week.
And once a week ask someone how you’re doing.
Then follow up after a week or so to see how you are progressing.
Second tip to develop humility is in your community:
Find ways that you can help others humble people help others.
Think about your skills, think about areas where you have strength, areas where you are good at something. Make a list of at least 3 things you are good at.
Then ask yourself, is there a way that you can use that skill in your community?
A personal example is that I recently reached out to a high school teacher at my local high school.
He teaches a group of ninth graders in a class called “Freshman Success” and I asked if it be helpful for the freshman to learn a little bit about some of these core characteristics of habits.
He loved the idea, so I spent two days teaching local freshman at my high school about habit development.
That is unlikely to be your skill, and that’s ok!
For example, my dad, on the other hand, was a journeyman plumber. Very skilled at plumbing and was VERY willing on a Saturday morning to go help someone with some plumbing crisis.
Particularly if that person was unable to pay.
Some of my least favorite Saturday mornings as a teen was when my dad would come down and tell me we had a plumbing job that needed doing!
Plumbing was my least favorite thing in the world.
Because man, those were dirty gunky icky jobs, I hated it and my dad was always willing to do it.
Always answered the call. He was in the habit of giving his skill back to his community.
Spend 1 minutes today thinking about a strength that you have and how you can use this to help your local community.
Whatever it is, find a way and make it a consistent habit that at least once a month you do something, using one of your talents and skills to help out your local community.
In relationships, ask someone for some feedback and in your community, find a way to give back to your community.
Third tip to develop humility is in your yourself:
Start by making a list of some of your strengths.
How would that possibly create humility? Isn’t that sort of prideful?
I love the definition of humility from CS Lewis, which is “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
We’re not humble when we hide.
We’re not humble when we put ourselves down
We’re not humble when we diminish our light
We’re not humble when we think we have nothing to give.
Learning your strengths is actually a way to develop your humility because then you both recognize ways that you can contribute to others and BONUS: as you work to identfy and understand your own strengths you’ll get better at identifying and calling out the strengths of others!
One habit to be humble is to be secure enough in your own strengths that you can lift others.
When you spend the time to develop the habit of seeing your own strengths you become confident and comfortable in seeing and calling out the strengths of others.
Humble people realize the strengths of others do not intimidate you.
The strengths of others do not limit you.
The strengths of others do not diminish you.
So, as you build your own strengths and identify what you are good at, you then increase your capacity to see the strengths of others and to call it out.
Humbly confident that calling out other’s strengths does not dim your own light.
Lighting the candle of another doesn’t dim your candle.
In fact, it increases the light.
Within yourself, identify your strengths and use that courage, use that confidence, use that skill, use that habit of identifying your own strengths to then turn and call out the strengths of others.
That’s the habit.
You now have a daily, weekly, and monthly habit for humility.
Those are the 3 Key Habits to developing humility.
My promise is that as you focus on these over the course of a year: once a day, once a week and, once a month, your own personal greatness will improve, your contribution to others will increase, and to finish where we started, “greatness is really defined by the impact that we have on others. Our willingness to have a positive impact on others, humble enough to do the best for others, rather than just what is best for us is what defines our greatness.”
You’ll be great.
You’ll be happier.