Monday, February 15, 2010

A Destination Called Humility

"There's ringing in my ears
And no one to relate to 'cept the sea
Who can I believe in?
I'm kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force who do I phone?"


A suitor approaches a beautiful woman at a nightclub, hoping to dazzle and impress.

An applicant walks into an office, likewise, hoping to dazzle and impress.

The suitor, flashing considerable wit and charm, pontificates opinion on his own brilliance, causing the woman to slowly withdraw and start looking the other way.

The applicant, talking a mile a minute about her past success, can't understand why the person across the desk can only muster a "We'll keep your resume on file and be in touch if anything comes up".

Neither the suitor nor the applicant can understand why it is the people they encounter in these situations, can't see the human gems glittering before them.

"What's wrong with her?! Doesn't she see how lucky she is to be even talking to a guy like me?"

"The people who run that place are idiots! With my credentials, experience and talent, I could bring much more to that company than they could ever afford to pay me."

T.S. Eliot once observed, "Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve;
nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of self".

Perhaps that virtue can be realized once you see Humility and Pride are just two sides of the same coin.

Pride is what many suitors, applicants and millions of the rest of us project whenever we get caught in the trap of thinking more highly of ourselves than is warranted. Pride and its byproducts of arrogance and conceit are within our nature, but Humility is often something we must learn.


Not a trait that comes to us naturally.

Which is why its good to let a guy like Jack Canfield help us take a look in the Pride mirror every once in a while.

Nobody stands taller than those willing to be shown the way.

And few have studied this trait more than Jim Collins.

His book, "Good to Great" and the research that supports it, is regarded as a landmark in terms of defining specific traits that stand out among the greatest business leaders.

As Collins explains, ambition, talent, innovation, persistence, inspiration, perspiration all take a back seat to Humility.

Herb Elliot was a world record holder in the mile run from 1958 to 1962. One day, Herb offered an educated opinion on Humility vs Pride:

"To be a world-record holder in the mile, a man must have the arrogance it takes to believe he can run faster that anyone ever has at the distance; and the humility it takes to actually do it".

Each day, we struggle to find balance between the conflicting forces of Humility and Pride. On the one hand, you need a certain level of self confidence and belief that you can accomplish the goals you set for yourself. But, that won't happen unless you possess the Humility required to do the necessary work.

Don't let Pride stand in your way.

This week, let Humility be your destination.

"Swallow your pride occasionally, it's non-fattening!"

p.s... Long before he became an international superstar, Peter Frampton slugged it out on the bar and concert circuit as a guitarist with gritty English blues rockers Humble Pie. Often regarded as a band that never realized its full potential, the Pie did serve up some tasty offerings while a humble Frampton learned his craft as second banana to frontman, the late Steve Marriott.

Following his split with Humble Pie and four solo albums with little commercial success, Peter Frampton hit paydirt with "Frampton Comes Alive" in 1976. It sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. alone and is still one of the best-selling live albums ever as Peter continues to show us the way more than three decades later.

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