Daily Archives: May 4, 2006

Humility

Could Mastering the Ego Be a Learning Executive Solution?

The article covers how ego can help and hinder a business. I think that’s important to actively consider. As the article states, it is pervasive and has a big impact.

Obviously it doesn’t just apply to the business world, though. It’s a fact of life everywhere. Ego affects any situation in which there is more than one person involved: church, work, school, marriage, siblings, friends… the list goes on. “Why does he always choose where we go to lunch?” “Why is he always sitting in the front seat?” “Why are her ideas always the ones we take?” “Listen to me! I know what to do (as usual).”

Read the article (it’s not too long), and apply it to all your relationships, not just the corporate setting it is aimed toward. It could bring up some interesting conversations, or just some quiet self-revelation.

The article ends with this paragraph, urging, and defining, humility:

One might think that the opposite of being egotistical is being humble. Marcum said not. “We’re finding that you can have too much ego, and the opposite would be too little ego. If you notice the four signs, usually showcasing brilliance and defensiveness are too much ego. Often seeking acceptance and comparison is a function of too little ego. What’s in the middle, the thing that balances all of it is this notion of humility. Humility is a scary word because it conjures up these images of weak, meek, and in business it seems like that’s a concept that won’t fly. In order to bring balance to ego we need to understand humility more. It is a strength, not a weakness. Humility is a very strong characteristic. It’s not meekness. It seems to be misunderstood. Humility is about pairing. Humble people are extremely confident and ambitious. They’re not weak. They’re not subservient, and they’re not shy, quiet and afraid to speak up.”

That’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough in defining humility, in my opinion. I would add that humility is about understanding that you might have missed something, and it’s worth hearing someone else’s opinion, without discounting your own idea prematurely. It’s recognizing that your voice is worthy of being heard, but that it is one of many with that same worth.

Some people give humility a bad rap because they think humility is a process of self-humiliation. Humility and humiliation, while they may share a similar root, are NOT the same. The latter is more related to inferiority, while the former is the ability to strike a balance between inferiority and superiority.

I know because I’m way better at exhibiting humility than anyone I know, though most of those idiots would probably argue that. I feel sorry for them.