Starting a new job. Living in a foreign country. Overcoming an addiction. Pursuing an education. Launching a new company. Changing your life. Building a new family. These things all require one common ingredient. They require you to learn something new. It sounds pretty straight forward and simple, but the reality is more complex. Learning something new involves being low man on the totem pole, being uncomfortable, admitting you aren’t the smartest in the room, feeling out-of-place, and being the new kid for a while.
The desire to be the expert in a given field, to be the best, is the fuel that drives corporations and the global economy. The same fuel exists in each of our lives on a daily basis. We want to be the smartest, the most successful, at the top of our field, and somehow exceptionally unique. I believe that desire was given by our Creator because He created each one of us so uniquely. He was intimately involved in the creation of our personalities, dreams, desires, and passions. Our desire to be the best and to be unique is a beautifully divine gift.
Sometimes, though, the pursuit of that desire can get a little distorted. One word explains the distortion…Pride. It is the character trait that is both beautiful and disgusting at the same time. Pride often drives us to accomplish great things, create amazing art, love deeply, innovate genius, and change the world. It’s dark side can drive oppression, dysfunction, fraud, dictatorships, prejudice, deception, and vanity. Often in our pursuit to be unique, original, and exceptional, we stumble on our pride along the way.
Learning something new is so hard because it requires a character trait that is painful to develop. Humility. I think humility has had some bad press in our modern culture. It’s been wrongly defined as becoming a person who is invisible, a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence, being a doormat and allowing others to walk on you, and many other misperceptions. Humility, in fact, requires tremendous courage. It involves extreme self-control and discipline. It is a choice to intentionally put others before yourself in love. It is giving up something we desire for the benefit of others. It’s having others best interest at heart and sometimes before your own. It’s letting someone else get the credit when you may in fact deserve it. It’s taking a back seat for the benefit of others. . It is choosing to be generous, even when it hurts. Humility, is in fact, a beautiful character, but one that is much harder to nurture than pride.
Learning something new is so complicated and even painful, because it requires us to develop humility. The choice to step into the journey towards humility is one that requires tremendous courage, strength, and perseverance. It is not for the faint at heart. It is not a quick and easy road. It requires surrender and sacrifice. But, for those who choose to walk the path, it is an incredible adventure. The courageous souls who pursue humility are the ones who change the world!