Yesterday at work, someone was complimented publicly for being a nice guy and getting the job done very well. In response he said, "In my defense..." and went on to share that other people contributed to the project which was likely true. However, he was the leader and his skills were paramount. While any good leader gives credit to his followers, I do not feel this is what he was doing. He had to deny his personal goodness and the compliments bestowed upon him.
I found this sad. Why did he have to deny what he did well? The reason is that we are taught to be humble and the like. Humility is a great quality and I am not bashing it. I am saying that this is not humility and claiming we do not contribute when we know we are is fundamentally a lie. Lies harm the liar. This is not to say that we should shout our contributions from the rooftop. That too is not humility.
Because of this, I contemplated upon humility last night and came up with this:
Humility is not denying your abilities or downplaying your skills. It is refusing to believe your contributions make you better than anyone else.
Humility is refusing to enter into comparisons and say anyone else is less or more.
I would go so far as claim that the societal demand to hide one's contributions, which is what I feel my co-worker succumbed to, is false humility. It is pretending to be less so that others feel 'equal'. This is silliness. Society should show others how they are more; How they contribute; What skills and abilities they have to offer. In this way, we can build instead of tear down.
Everyone contributes to the unfolding. Everyone. It is beautiful and it is perfect.