The Art of Being Humble

16 Aug

Most everyone has heard of John D. Rockefeller. He revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. Rockefeller had always believed since he was a child that his purpose in life was to make as much money as possible, and then use it wisely to improve the lot of mankind.

I have been reading a book that he wrote called, “Random Reminiscences of Men and Events” via the DailyLit [an awesome way to read a book by the way] Every day, during my reading, I am struck by how wise this man was. I can cull bits of business advice out of the most innocuous of his memories. Today, I was struck by how this man stayed humble even with all his success.

When he died in 1937, he was worth over 192 billion dollars, yet, he didn’t let it get to his head. Early on, as his business started making money, he would go to bed telling himself, “Now a little success, soon you will fall down, soon you will be overthrown. Because you have got a start, you think you are quite a merchant; look out, or you will lose your head–go steady.” He explained it this way. These intimate conversations with myself, I am sure, had a great influence on my life. I was afraid I could not stand my prosperity, and tried to teach myself not to get puffed up with any foolish notions.

Here is arguably the richest man in the world in his time, telling himself not to get too puffed up. Even with all his success, he was humble and it showed. He gave away billions and established a legacy of philanthropy that continues to this day.

So, I don’t have billions but it got me thinking about being humble.

  1. Honor those who serve you. You can tell a lot about people by who they honor.
  2. Utilize your talents to serve others.
  3. Model humility. If you need an example – think Mother Teresa.
  4. Become an example to others. If you model humility, others who look up to you will follow.
  5. Learn. If you are consistently learning, you are consistently growing.
  6. Enjoy life! Take time to notice your surroundings. You might be surprised at what you see!

But then again, I am reminded of an old country tune…

“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way!”

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