Do you want to be among the most intelligent, charismatic people in the world? Do you want to be a top achiever and an effective leader, one who has the respect and admiration of peers? Cultivate humility.
What’s that? Humility? We often think of humility as a sort of weakness, a kind of self depreciation or feeling that we have little value. On the other hand, we generally consider the big talker who is always touting his or her accomplishments to be the epitome of success. Not so. In my experience, humility is actually a sign of tremendous inner strength. Humble people have such a feeing of inner confidence in their abilities and their worth as a person, that they don’t feel the need to toot their own horn or parade their accomplishments before everyone
Humble people have developed a level of emotional independence where they no longer require the approval or accolades of others to verify their value. This doesn’t mean they don’t ask for help when they need it. On the contrary, humble people are quick to admit when they need assistance with a task or project. Stephen R. Covey describes this concept as a progression from dependence (relying on others to make your life work) to independence (the ability to make your own life work) and finally to interdependence (the ability of an independent person to recognize when he or she should work with others to develop a synergistic result). This concept of interdependence requires personal strength, confidence, and humility.
Humble people don’t have to be right all the time. So, they are open to learn and be taught in every situation. They listen; they absorb. Thus, the barriers that can hinder learning are removed. In Plato’s The Apology, Socrates describes wisdom as the knowledge that we know nothing. In other words, intellectual humility breeds wisdom. Humble people are quick to admit when they’re wrong. Therefore, they learn readily and quickly. As a result, they are often among the most intelligent individuals in the room.
Humble people don’t characterize their life as a competition. Rather, they consider it a contribution. Instead of “I’m better than you,” their mantra is “how can I help you?” or “how can I make the world a better place?” Humble people are grateful for their accomplishments but not obsessed by them. They are more interested in pressing forward and lifting others than worrying about their public image.
Humble people are kind to everyone, even to those who are decidedly beneath them socially, economically, or intellectually. Humble people have an attitude of service to others, rather than demanding their due. Consequently, they have tremendous charisma and enjoy the admiration and respect of those around them.
How do we cultivate humility? We do it by developing an outward rather than inward focus. Turning our thoughts to how we can help and love and serve others is the ultimate developer of humility.
Success Tip: Improve your intelligence, your charisma, and your leadership by cultivating humility. Forget yourself and focus on lifting and developing others.