Menanteau Serfontein – 29 January 2021
Humility is the quality of having a modest (unassuming) approach to one’s position, importance, achievements and abilities and being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
The BIG ME is a person who is characterised by an exclusive focus on himself/“ME” and seeing himself as much larger than he really is (inflated ego). The BIG ME also tends to be typified by selfishness, narcissism, “big talk”, boasting, looking down upon others, disregard for the dignity of others, often humiliating people and a low level of emotional intelligence (EQ).
It is good to have a healthy self-respect and confidence in one’s abilities and skills. It is also good to have belief in one’s ability to succeed. A healthy self-respect and self-confidence should be accompanied by humility. Although there are always exceptions, there is a general tendency that exceptional achievers who engender the greatest respect and admiration from others are usually the ones whose self-belief, abilities and achievements go hand in hand with genuine humility.
There is nothing wrong with playful banter amongst friends or the usual “challenges” amongst supporters when sports teams compete. Do your best to avoid falling into the trap of the BIG ME. There are risks associated with blowing your own trumpet, boasting and “big talk”. There is a saying that reads “empty cans make the biggest noise”. The preferred approach is that one’s actions and ultimate achievements should speak for itself. It becomes extremely embarrassing when someone boasts in advance that he is going to win, but then fails miserably. What tends to happen, is that the more you boast and gloat in advance, the more people would wish that you fail (“schadenfreude”).
“Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honour.” – Proverbs 18:12
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
The big talkers tend to think that their talking or their threats will unsettle their opponents and make them quiver. In fact, it usually has exactly the opposite effect. Instead of becoming afraid, the opposition gets “psyched up” and inspired to try even harder in order to prove a point.
There is generally a lot more admiration for someone who quietly works hard at something with dedication and perseverance and then to celebrate victory afterwards. Most people dislike someone who is regarded as a loud mouth and a big talker without much substance, who would often falter when the “tyre hits the road”.
We should all realise that it is not just about “ME” and my needs and wants. We should also consider the needs of others (individuals as well as communities) and reach out to them with kindness, understanding, dignity, compassion, love and generosity.
Ideally, all of us should get involved in at least one thing or cause of genuine significance/meaning that is bigger than ourselves and in the interest of the common good. This is one of the ways to follow a path less travelled and living an extraordinary life.
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