According to Ingredients of Outliers, the first ingredient of the best leaders and high achievers is humility. While we should always practice humility, today is the day to hone in on that skill. Be Humble Day, on February 22nd every year, is a time to not boast, brag or let ego get in the way. It is a day to focus on others’ accomplishments and pat people on the back for their successes. It’s a day to get right alongside your employees and remind yourself what it’s like to do their job. It’s a day to pick up a piece of litter, or strike up a conversation with the server and ask them how their day is going. Don’t think anyone, or honest chore is beneath you. As author John Shufeldt would say, “don’t let an exaggerated sense of self importance get in your way of being humble”.
Origin of Be Humble Day
The twist of this inspiring day – no one knows who founded it. They clearly took humility seriously.
What does it mean to be truly humble?
The first chapter of Ingredients of Outliers takes this question to heart as John explains his own ideas on humility and gives examples of truly humble people that he has come across in his life. As he explains, a humble person does not boast. If they are truly accomplished, then their actions and backgrounds will speak for themselves.
Humility can seem like a difficult characteristic to acquire and action to uphold. By acknowledging your humility, does that mean you are no longer humble?
To practice humility and fully understand the meaning of being humble, read and learn about other outliers to understand how they have handled both their accomplishments and failures. Count the number of times in a day you find yourself talking about yourself, then work on decreasing that number. Think back to a time when you weren’t at your best, a time when you stumbled, and keep that in mind. Use your past missteps as a lesson in humility.
A Little Inspiration
If you are having some trouble finding inspiration on Be Humble Day, here are a couple of quotes to get you thinking. Every outlier has their own take on humility, from Mahatma Gandhi to Winston Churchill, and even George Clooney (see his humorous take below). The statements from these accomplished and well-known outliers offer advice and humor on the importance of humility and remaining humble.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis
“There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart.” – Saint Augustine
“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” – Confucius
“An actor should always let humility outweigh ambition.” – Anna Kendrick
“I watch ‘Batman & Robin’ from time to time. It’s the worst movie I ever made, so it’s a good lesson in humility.” – George Clooney
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.” – Albert Einstein
“In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” – Winston Churchill
There is more where that came from. We actually offer Chapter One from Ingredients of Outliers for free in our store which talks about humility, and gives you the flavor of the rest of the book. Download Chapter One on Humility here.
How will you practice humility, today and everyday? Is there someone in your life who is the epitome of humble? Share with us and comment below.