I was just about to write about when I was in high school and I won the open age 100m final AND broke the school record, but humility prevails and so I’m not going to. Humility is a funny kind of virtue we all respect, at least deep down, but in someone else, not ourselves.
Humility is hard to define, yet we all know what it is. If somebody was to say, “Humility is my greatest virtue” and they meant it, you would know it’s not. Pride is one of, if not the greatest trap that has snagged many great and talented man and woman in history. For this reason I’m not going to harp on about when I was in high school and I won the open age 100m final AND broke the school record, that was set by a past student who ran at the state championships. Seriously, imagine if adults had the humility to say “Sorry” or even the humility to say “I was wrong”. What a wonderful world!
Imagine if children had the humility to listen to the advice and experience of their parents. What a wonderful world! We have all heard that “Pride goes before a fall” but do we believe it?
But it’s not all bad, because the worst but perhaps most effective way to achieve the great virtue of humility is humiliation. Life has many moments of happiness and success, like when I was in high school and won the open age 100m final, but it has many humbling events too.
But, is it not true that the taller the tower the architect intends to build the deeper the builders must dig to lay its foundations? Many of us, myself included, do not attempt good things because we are too proud to be publicly humiliated.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, after acknowledging her many humiliations, quoted her mother, that “failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success”.
Huffington said, “I strongly believe that we are not put on this earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.” St Peter and St Paul, the two greatest apostles, were both humiliated publicly before they saw success in their ministry.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said a rule of his success was “Don’t be afraid to fail” and our own St Mary McKillop was publicly humiliated, even excommunicated before she and her nuns humbly taught thousands of poor and illiterate children across the country and thus laid the groundwork for today’s free education.
Getting old is humbling, going bald is humbling, not getting many LIKES on Facebook is humbling. Being humiliated is humbling, but God, who can always bring success out of failure, can use our worst defeats to make us better.
But you can’t change the world if you think you have to do it all on your own. If we have the humility to believe a higher power is doing the changing within us, that God actually wants the world to be a better place too, then you will work with more enthusiasm and not become too despondent by humiliations when you do not see any great change yet.
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