Mastering the art of humility

Humility is something I regard very highly in others, and something I strive for myself.  I’ve been thinking about how I can be a more humble person.  Two ideas after the jump;

1. Lift others up

  • Give compliments:  When was the last time you gave someone a compliment? Notice someone’s nice shoes or cool phone?  You’re already thinking it, just say it aloud.  A compliment cost you nothing, yet the receiver gains something of value.  Why not take three seconds to brighten someone’s day?
  • Say thank you:  Not the quick “Thanks!” you may sometimes say at the checkout counter, but a reflective and heartfelt thanks.  And say it to as many people as you can, because where would you honestly be without the help of others?
  • Help out:  Even if no one has made a specific ask.  At times you may have insight or access that could be helpful to someone, but he or she may not know or think to ask you.  Why not “connect-the-dots” proactively?  As Jamie Dimon once said, “Never deny a generous impulse”.

2. Put yourself down, carefully

  • Laugh at yourself:  And let others laugh too.  I think this is where many people get tripped up, because it takes a certain level of self-confidence to be yourself, warts and all.  Of course you should never undermine people’s confidence in your professional abilities.  (You need to keep your job!)  But does it really matter if others know that you can’t boil an egg?  Or you have two left feet?  Frankly, I think exposing flaws makes your strengths seem more credible, because you’ve shown just how honest and open you can be.

If you consistently apply these two concepts, I think you will become a noticeably more humble person.   Right now, I need to focus on increasing the quantity and quality of my thank yous.

Lastly, there’s nothing I find more attractive than a man who has a healthy sense of humor about himself.  To me it’s the ultimate display of self-confidence.   If you happen to know anyone who is the master at telling jokes about himself, please get him in touch with me.  I’m single.  😉

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