I want to look at what I believe to be a great take away from Hemingway’s quote. The overarching concept is that the difference between humility and pride lies in the competition of our hearts. Who are we competing with? If you look at Hemingway’s statement, he doesn’t say that competition is a bad thing, he asks with whom we are in competition. Are you living your life in comparison of others or are you in competition with yourself to become a more “superior” you? When you can take your eyes off of everyone else’s journey and focus on your own, then you have truly given yourself the freedom to grow and reach your full potential.
Take a moment and think about all the negative emotions that come from a having a prideful heart. Arrogance, egotism, vanity, and discontent are the obvious ones, but did you think about resentment, annoyance, complacency, boastfulness, suspicion, jealousy, and bitterness? I could keep going. Sophocles said, “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” Sophocles states that pride is the cause of all wrongdoing. I personally believe that greed is the chief cause of sin, but I suppose that you could make the argument that pride and greed are essentially one and the same: choosing self.
Here are some action steps to help overcome self and practice humility:
- Humility values others and their perspectives. We must understand that each person brings their own special gifts to the table. Every person has something valuable to contribute and so every person deserves respect. We have talked about iron sharpening iron and the war of conflicting ideas. Teaching the best way for us to grow as individuals and as a collective is to learn from each other’s strengths and to build off of them.
- Recognize your weaknesses. John C. Maxwell states that, “Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.” When you humbly accept your limitations, it opens up your heart and mind to receive wisdom from those around you.
- Humility isn’t about promoting yourself; it’s about improving you! Remember to focus your eyes on you and your journey and not to live a life in comparison of others.
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In your service,