Posted on June 04 2018
Being humble isn't about thinking less of yourself, it's about thinking of yourself less – Rick Warren
In our modern me-focused world, filled with ceaseless selfies and endless iproducts, being humble often has a bad rap. Unfortunately, humbleness is sometimes associated with lack of confidence and low ambition. And I'm sure you've heard that old phrase "nice guys finish last" a time or two before. But is that really true?
The Lovely Benefit of Being Humble
Joshua Hook, Ph.D. assistance professor of psychology at University of North Texas, says "humility is a very pro-social quality."
Hook conducted a study to see if there was any correlation between humility and the potential to form romantic relationships. Students were split into two groups and both groups looked at a different online dating profile. The profiles included interests and history, as well as measurements of various personality traits such as extroversion, openness to new experiences, and humility.
One profile was of a person considered "highly humble" (in the 87th percentile) and the other was "not humble" (24th percentile). Overwhelmingly, viewers of the "highly humble" profile were significantly more willing to accept a date compared to the group who viewed the not-so-humble profile.
How to Be Humble without Being Passive
Okay, so humbleness seems to have its benefits. But, what does being humble really look like?
1. Embrace individuality – Stop comparing yourself to others. Be yourself and let others be themselves. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, just be friendly to everyone – including yourself. Being confident in your own skin is one of the most humbling things you can ever accomplish in life.
2. Start with a question – Show people that you care about and value their opinion. Questions open the door to constructive conversation and impactful collaboration. Never stop learning. If you act like you know everything, you limit your chances to learn anything.
3. Balance speaking and listening – There are times to speak and times to listen. Speak to add value and listen to learn. Recognize this and find that balance. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
4. Ask for feedback – It's fine to be proud of your accomplishments, but also seek to understand your weaknesses and actively work on them. Ask a friend or co-worker to tell you three thing they appreciate about you and three areas where you still need some growth.
5. Accept setbacks – It's okay to have weaknesses! Everyone does. Be grateful for what you have and work hard for what you want. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. Mistakes make you tougher, smarter, and more appreciative of the payoff.
6. Help others – Realize that the world does not revolve around you. Focus on giving instead of receiving. Acts of kindness towards others will help make their day, and probably make you feel pretty great too.
Which Race do you Want to Win?
So, do nice guys (or girls) really finish last? Well, it all depends on how you look at it. One could make the argument that nice people – gracious, receptive, empathetic, humble people – are simply running a different race. They might not win every gold medal along the way, but they never lose sight of the big picture.
In the grand scheme of life, humble humans may just be the gold-medal winners of organic affection, new knowledge, and genuine joy.
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