Most of us are taught from a very young age to be humble. Religions tend to see humility as a virtue. In the Bible, humility is described as being without pride or arrogance and putting others before oneself. It is also the idea that God is all-powerful and that we are insignificant in comparison. I think the concept of humility is essential to happiness as it allows us to reflect on how lucky we are within our situations and genuinely appreciate those around us.

Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.

Oxford Languages

The opposite of humility is narcissism and hubris.

Narcissism: selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterising a personality type.

Oxford Languages

Hubris: excessive pride or self-confidence.

Oxford Languages

I was reading a book today and came across a definition of humility that emphasised recognition of greatness in others. This type of humility, where you recognise and publicly celebrate others’ excellence, is vital to Level 5 leadership from Jim Collins. 

Humility implies an aptitude to learn: a willingness to listen: a recognition of the greatness of others.

Percy Cerutty

We all want to develop mastery and become successful by whatever definition we give success. Success requires a deep level of belief in ourselves and what we can achieve. This personal belief does not sit well with the simplicity of the Oxford Languages definition of humility. It feels much easier and more appropriate to focus your efforts on others rather than develop humility by focusing on your ego. We need to understand how much we still need to learn, understand that everyone can teach us something, and appreciating other people and their skills as a route to humility. 

In a world becoming more narcissistic, be a person of humility.