• Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”

I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.” John Ruskin

A couple of years ago I went to a retreat in San Diego with a small group of friends. We had all reached some level of success in our lives but were seeking answers and helping each other to discover new things about ourselves. On the second morning we went hiking and gathered in a beautiful spot with an amazing view of the Pacific. Our leader, Scott took that moment to ask all of us to tell each other one thing that we see in each other that we can improve on. I was told that “I know too much about everything all the time”. It was probably some of the most honest and helpful advice that anyone had ever told me. Rather than be embarrassed or upset, I was happy to hear something in my own subconscious being validated by another person. I knew that it was an issue for me and hearing it aloud made me vow to change. By always knowing to much about everything I was cheating myself from learning from others and living with an insecure mindset that needed to change.

Humility helps us to resist the urge to one-up the other person. Often you may not even know you’re doing it, (like me before my hike in San Diego). In your next few conversations, pay attention to when you interject, and if you find yourself taking over the conversation with stories about you, make a conscious effort to stop. You’ll be happier with yourself and others will be more attracted to your energy. You’ll also be more present in the conversation and hear more by focusing on the person you’re with and learning from them.

Humility for Moving Forward

Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.” Augustine Of Hippo

Leaders who have humility want to succeed, but they also look to help others along the way. Of course, they’re proud of themselves, and their businesses, but they’re also proud of their associates and appreciate the success of others on the same path. They’re driven by their passion and purpose to create their mission in life.

True humility creates confidence and results. We live in a world where loudest people get the most attention, are always “right”, and take credit for every success. These people may make short term gains but in the long run their accomplishments won’t amount to much and time will be wasted when they could be moving forward. True humility allows a leader to listen to others, gather different points of view, and admit he/she may not have all the answers.

Arrogant Leaders are Ineffective

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” Theodore Roosevelt

When leaders are confident, they believe in their ability to help others and make a difference in the world. They have confidence, the ability to be innovative, and take the risks needed to grow and thrive. When leaders are arrogant, they destroy rather than create, hold others back from achievements, and create disorder and insecurity for themselves and others. We see plenty of examples of arrogant leaders in our everyday lives and the evidence of the chaos they create.

Arrogant leaders:

  1. Believe that they’re smarter than everyone else.

  2. Think everything is about them.

  3. Lack listening skills.

  4. Are unwilling to admit when they are wrong.

  5. Withhold praise and recognition in hopes of glorifying themselves.

  6. Communicate disrespectfully without empathy or understanding.

Humility Creates More Happiness and Self-respect

Humility is an act of respect not just for ourselves, but also everyone around us. Instead of focusing on reaching our own potential solely, we understand that we can also help propel others along the way. If we have big goals for ourselves, we eagerly invite others to create big goals for themselves as well. We encourage others to appreciate their strengths and make them stronger. We inspire people to dream bigger than they thought and show them their potential within. Humility shows us that we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves and our achievements for the success of others!

Humble and successful leaders:

  1. Take credit when credit is due.

  2. Admit their faults and don’t let others off the hook.

  3. Balance collaboration with decision making.

  4. Understand that words matter and never undermine themselves or others with disparaging talk, heavy sarcasm, or hearsay. They set a good example always!

We live in a very material world where the success is often measured, by surface things that don’t really matter and give us an inflated sense of self-worth. So much is done for show with little emphasis on substance. Arrogant leaders attract ignorant followers while humble leaders are more attractive to others, have more influence, earn more confidence and respect that those who rely on ego or intimidation.

Humility is a skill, one that grows and expands, humble people know that:

  • They lead to serve

  • They have inner strength

  • They admit to mistakes

  • They ask for feedback

  • They know who they are

  • They are authentic

  • They can be trusted

  • They value and respect others

  • They understand their limitations are always learning

  • They lead by example

  • They lead from within, always creating better versions of themselves

  • They let other people brag

  • They share what they know

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Twitter The Happiness Warrior @ericlnorth1

ERIC NORTH - The Happiness Warrior

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