Tips to Develop Humility
Note — Originally posted on Quora “How does one be humble?”
Humility, like any character trait, takes years and years of deliberate practice. There are no “quick tricks.”
Personally, I still have a long way to go, but I have found some things that have helped me. Maybe they will help you.
- Daily recitation — I say to myself “I am humble” each morning. This primes me to think about humility throughout the day.
- Nightly “what could I have done to be more humble today?” — I ask myself this each night.
- Meditation — slowing my mind down helps me to be more calm, which makes it easier to be humble.
- Self deprecation — have you listened to a comedian lately? Most are masters at this. They poke fun at themselves. Warning though, don’t take this too far though or you’ll come across as “fishing for compliments.”
- Deflect praise — if someone compliments you say “thank you for your kind compliment. I owe most of the credit to X.” X can be anyone who helped you along. If in doubt praise a parent or teacher for raising you well.
- Admit when you don’t know by simply saying “I don’t know.”
- Resist the urge to always be right. Praise your fellow interlocutor for their merits even if you disagree. If you can’t find a merit, praise the way he said it (i.e. “You are very good at articulating your point of view”).
- Never criticize, condemn or complain.
- Listen more than you speak.
- Ask others for advice. Say “I’m impressed with what you have accomplished. Can you share with me what makes you successful?”
- Be generous in your praise.
- If someone lets you down don’t make them feel guilty.
- Have perspective above the day to day of life.
- Likely avoid sarcasm, but if you must, use it cautiously and never to put someone down.
- Think about what you really want in a situation.
- Step away if you are feeing strong emotions.
I heard the phrase “habits of humility” a little while back. It has caused me to think. What makes someone humble? What are their habits of humility? A final recommendation is to observe someone that you think is humble. Find their habits and emulate them.
What habits have you observed? What has helped you develop humility?
A couple of books I’ve read recently that have helped me.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- The Power of Kindness
- Crucial Conversations