Recently I wrote a blog entitled, ‘The Power of Humility.’ I chose the topic after hearing about a college professor who actually listened to his students’ request for a change in schedule for a midterm progress report and then adapted his semester plan to respond to their request. Was it absolutely necessary – probably not – but was it a brilliant thing to do – absolutely! He gave his students two gifts – recognition and respect. Can you just imagine how those students will want to succeed in the course? This master educator had the confidence to take what could have been a power issue off the table, neutralized it and refocus on the individual’s commitment to learning. How many times have we seen examples in any walk of life where the person in charge is confident enough to humble themselves and listen then respond to a request for a change. To often it is a rare occurrence but one to be recognized, applauded and shared with others.
The term humility comes from the Latin word ‘humiliates’ which may be translated as ‘humble’ but there is another meaning to this definition and that is to be ‘grounded’. When we are grounded we are fully present and focused in the moment. We stay balanced, centered, and sure enough of our direction that we are able to control any knee jerk or defensive reaction coming from our ego. We are confident enough to welcome input, mid course corrections and even competition as we share the applause. Examples such as these highlight the difference between a pseudo and authentic educator, leader and person. The former is busy trying to demonstrate THEIR own greatness while the later is busy being sure you understand YOUR own greatness. Why? Because they are comfortable in their own shoes. They see a purpose greater than themselves. Who have you come across in your life that encouraged you to see your own greatness?
By definition, humility has two possible interpretations. The one we most commonly think of is lowering oneself in relation to others. But there is a much more powerful interpretation. It is having a clear perspective of one’s place in context to the greater whole – trying to make the world a better place – one person at a time. It is the difference of talking to someone and not at them. When we go the extra mile to make someone’s day just a little bit better it is a powerful example of just how important acts of humility are in our human pursuit.
When we practice humility we are not afraid to try new things because we realize it is an opportunity to learn. We are resilient and not afraid of failing because we recognize that even in momentary failure there is something that can be gained from the experience. In fact, we realize that there is always something to learn from everyone.
Maybe the power/humility thing just boils down to this … it takes a powerful person to demonstrate humility. Somehow that thought just feels right to me.
Have a great few days!