When I was two, my parents took me on the train to Alice Springs in central Australia. My dad was an engine driver, so it was a really novel thing for me. During the journey, my mother gave me a tin full of biscuits for a snack. I looked around at all the people on the train and saw that they didn’t have any biscuits, so I went around offering one to everyone on the train, before I took a bite for myself.
Afterwards, I clearly remember my mother, who must have found this very endearing, telling me to “never lose humility.” That stuck with me, the idea that she considered this an act of humility, because I was putting others above myself.
What is humility?
A basic definition of humility is “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” It is a lack of arrogance or self-interest. For me it is closely connected with altruism; being able to value the needs of the people (and those people themselves) even at the cost to your own.
Philippians 2:3-7 (NLT) says: 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God,[a] he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b]; he took the humble position of a slave[c] and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,[d]
What are ways I can become more humble?
Be open-handed. People who hang onto their wealth or position because it gives them a sense of self-importance can be destructive to those around them. Some amount of ambition is healthy, but letting it define who you are, or letting it get in the way of the well-being of others, makes for an unhealthy environment all around.
Hope for the success of others. Several years back, we were appointed as Queensland State Directors for C3 and given the commission to mentor a young couple to be the future directors of Queensland. Since then they have risen to be not only National Directors but are Global Executive Directors. A good leader should want to build others up to be everything they can be and do everything they can do. It’s having a mindset to develop others rather keeping your position of importance by not letting others succeed. You should want people in your business to do as well as you.
Show kindness and charity. Showing your value of others through the sacrifice of time, finances, or effort can go a long way to remind you of your humility. We all have bad days, or maybe even bad years. Seeing someone in a bad situation and going out of our way to help, not only reminds us of where we’ve been but will make us grateful for where we are now.
Reflection question: Where do I display humility?