Stay Humble, Work Hard, Be Kind

Stay humble, work hard, be kind
graphic ©

“Stay humble, work hard, be kind.”

In many spiritual traditions, humility is seen as a pathway toward enlightenment and righteousness, yet our present society favors the overly-confident and the narcissistic. Even in the workplace, humility gets barely recognized and self-promotion becomes a tool for success. So why be humble?

Humility can be defined as “a psycho-social orientation characterized by 1) a sense of emotional autonomy, and 2) freedom from the control of the competitive reflex.” Quite obviously, competitive reflex is one’s impulse to outdo others, to raise one’s value over the rest. However, humility is not about being a doormat; it’s about being emotionally neutral, meaning not having the need to put oneself above others, nor below.

Humble people do not chase the limelight, the limelight chases them. Research has found a link between humility and better academic performance, job performance, and excellence in leadership, yet they let their achievements speak for themselves. Furthermore, humility is a predictor of good interpersonal skills and virtues including generosity, cooperation, helpfulness, gratitude, and integrity. This trait makes for an effective leader because of the ability for “forget about oneself” when appropriate.

Humble people are wrongly conceived as unassertive and not having enough confidence to endorse themselves; when in fact, humility is not for the fragile ego with low self-esteem. People with great sense of self-worth don’t crave recognition, because they already know their worth. Moreover, they recognize the accomplishments of other people and don’t hold back in giving compliments-and that’s why they make effective leaders.

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