My colleague Michelle O’Brien’s article in last week’s Wealth Notes has me reflecting on my own New Year’s resolutions. Always I want to be a man who loves greatly but when I consider how, I realize that I must first grow in virtue. And of all of the virtues I might focus on in 2021, humility seems to me to be the one that is most foundational. In this Wealth Notes, allow me to share some thoughts on this most challenging of virtues.
If pride is the root source of sin and selfishness, then humility is the antidote. Humility is that quality of living in which we consider ourselves and others in a manner consistent with truth: that all of us are made in the image of God and have inestimable worth, and that the circumstances or personalities of ourselves and others do not determine our value and worth but rather our very existence and identity does. When we see ourselves and others rightly, we no longer view ourselves as superior. And because love is the ultimate expression of a life well lived, humility gains for us the desire to see others as worthy of serving and loving.
In my reading on humility, I am struck by the frequency with which being childlike is a key to becoming more humble. Why is that? Three reasons come to mind. First, a child is a model of humility because they find happiness easily. Life for them is a great adventure – and they are capable of finding delight in all that they experience daily.
Second, they also reflect humility in their boundless curiosity. Pride of course assumes that one knows everything and that nothing need be further explored or understood. Children are the opposite – we all have been entertained (and challenged) by the countless questions that children ask – for they realize how much they do not yet know.
And third, this curiosity in children leads them to be continuous learners – acquiring more and more knowledge and understanding. In that search, there is a childlike delight and joy – the joy of discovery. Children remain humble to the extent that they see the world as an endless opportunity to grow, to change and to develop more and more of their potential.
Happiness, curiosity, learning and growing – these are the characteristics of children and they are the characteristics of one who is humble. And so for 2021, I have chosen to cultivate greater humility in my own life: to live with happiness, to remain curious, and to continue to learn and grow. I have a sense that this is part of my purpose in life – to fulfill my God-given potential and through humility to live a life of service to others, where true joy is found.
Many of you know that here at The Joseph Group we talk a lot about purpose. We have discovered through our work with clients that those who pursue a purpose beyond themselves live a life of greatness, a life of joy and a life that injects love and life into others. Humility seems to me to be a key to discovering and living our purpose and achieving that great life for which we were made. Perhaps you will feel led to join me in the quest to live a life of greater humility. I think you and those around you will find that quest incredibly rewarding.
Have a great weekend.
This article was written by Matt Palmer, Co-Founder and Chairman