The Humble Die
Definitions of words can at times be the death of words. Take humility for instance. Merriam-Webster defines humility as follows:
The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble.
This definition of humility implies a good person does not think they are better at doing something than others. Based on this definition of humility, high achievers are not capable of humility, as such must needs be arrogant or proud. This of course implies sore losers can be recognized by their humility. Since no one wants to be regarded as a loser, humility loses ground because no one in their right mind wants to be termed humble.
Suppose a student graduates top of his or her class in college. This implies there is objective evidence said student is better than his or her classmates. If said student refuses to act on the objective evidence, he or she is humble, otherwise he or she lacks humility.
If a company has a superior product and wants to be humble, the company never acts like they have a superior product. If an inventor solves a problem, much like Einstein solved a puzzle of existence of our universe, humility implies Einstein would have to act like relative to peers, he had not achieved anything at all.
The definition of humility really makes it difficult for anyone to desire humility. Humility becomes then a pariah word. To be characterized as humble becomes as a death sentence.
The Humble then are as Dead. The Humble Die.
In the last American elections, Mrs. Clinton was arrogant, Donald Trump was in your face. Neither could be termed humble. If humility could have won the White House, at least one of the two candidates would have tried that route.
So when some religions demand humility of their disciples or believers, high achievers make a run for the hills.
“Better to be without God in this world than be humble they opine. Only those who have nothing to be proud of can afford to be humble they assess.”
When high achievers who avoid religion run into other high achievers that value spirituality within context of religions that recommend humility, they wonder how objective evidence of superior achievements can coexist with spiritual beliefs that demand humility. Perhaps intelligence necessary for professions can be dichotomous to sensibleness they perhaps wonder.
Since the humble die from the opium of religion that assuages their lack of achievement, humility it would appear is opium of the masses.
If Merriam-Webster gets it right, no one in their right mind should want to be regarded as humble. All right minded people then would rather humility is scratched out of English vocabulary.
We need then a new terminology for the spiritually sound trait that is a close relative of humility, a trait for which those who truly seek to be high achievers must clamor. I term this trait
True humility is believing you have yet to attain to the best you can be. True humility is the opium
of people who attain to true greatness in life.
Truly humble people value spirituality because spirituality enables them come to better terms with the person they are. True humility enables acceptance of strengths and recognition of frailties. True humility creates the desire and energy to hone strengths and the desire to remedy or protect against frailties. Truly humble people believe spirituality increases their self awareness and capacity to achieve.
If spirituality, which mostly is practiced within context of religion, does not have any potential
for increase of self awareness, the truly humble make a run for the hills.
True humility trumpets achievements because trumpeting announces to constituents that in so far as matters at hand are concerned, there is credibility that derives from past achievements. Where there is objective evidence of superior performance or achievements, true humility acknowledges and acts on the basis of such achievements. The truly humble student who graduates at the top of his or her class seeks to work at the most prestigious organizations within his or her field of specialization because such jobs provide the best opportunities for personal growth and development. More money makes things even better.
So do the truly humble die? Absolutely. But they die to their own attainments only in the sense that they keep looking forward, believing there is room to be better. In the decision to die in this manner, they create room for new and better achievements.
The most innovative and successful people have True Humility.
The Truly Humble Die so they can Live to their Fullest Potential.
Lecturer, Lagos Business School