Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP

I remember one of my former boss’s favorite phases, “I know; I started this company!”  He used this religiously, with a sense of finality and authority that was “god – like”. It carried the following assumptions: that he knew “everything”, that he did not need “to know” anything new because he already knew it and because of this, his word was gospel. After all, as he used to arrogantly say, it was he who started the business, owned it and provided for us the employment possibility to “earn a living”…and if we did not like the way he ran things, we could either leave or be asked to leave. Humility was never his strong point.


Over the past week the whole topic of humility has been “dancing” in my conscious awareness; challenging and provoking me about how much of it do I embraced and embody, both personally and professionally. Some of the questions that I have asked myself are:


What really is humility?

How important is it in every aspect of life?

Does it play a prominent role in the way I engage and relate with myself, others and my God?

Does it bring peace, end conflict and facilitate more meaningful relationships as well as outcomes?

Does it creatively engage me to live life spontaneously?

In the next few paragraphs, I would like to share with you some of my thought and understanding about humility and perhaps in some way, answer some of the questions above. In no way do I believe that I have a clear understanding of this Epic Virtue nor do I claim that I practice it religiously…..for in may ways, humility is a journey that one takes and not a destination or summit to be ascended or conquered.


What really is humility?

At some unconscious level, I will have to admit, humility carried pretty nasty meanings for me. Some of the toxic meanings were that it meant putting myself down, debasing my humanity, beating myself silly and selling myself short through the denial of my capability, talents, gifts and strengths. Humility meant humiliating myself, it means timidity! This of course felt like rubbing ones face in the dirt 24/7! No wonder I kind of had “issues” with humility!


So what really is humility? And more importantly, what role does it play in the THREE critical relationships that determines our sense of happiness, peace and contentment; our relationship with ourselves, others and with our God, however we chose to understand Him or Her?


“Humility is royalty without a crown.”

- Spencer W. Kimball


The word humility comes from the Latin word “humus” meaning earth. Many faith traditions hold the belief that we are formed from “humus”, the earth and it is to this very “humus” that we shall return to after death, no matter what our earthly status or office maybe. This grounding reality and truth of “humus”, keeps us grounded. In this way, humility or having humility is to acknowledge one’s grounding, to be rooted in ones humanity- “humus”.


Yet we not just “humus”, we are the “breath of God” as “humus” is given life and form after the image of its maker. Here lies our eternal dignity, esteem and worth regardless of our station in life. Thus to acknowledge the divinity and dignity of our God given humanity, coupled with our sense of being “humus” is what humility truly is. Pretty powerful stuff!


Being humble then is about embracing and holding on to this TWO dimensions of our humanity; being proud of our deep connection with God; owning our unique gifts, talents, strengths and achievements  as God given BUT without arrogance as we remember that we are the created, “humus”, and not the Creator. This same truth extends to every other human person, our kin, our “humus” brothers and sisters.


In this way, humility is not about debasing ourselves and self degradation, nor is it about arrogance and debasing others. It is ones grasp of the dynamic truth cited above which produces a silent confidence and a deep sense of efficacy about ones worth, potential and capability which results in behavior that unleashes ones true self. It is about allowing others this same opportunity and space to unleash their true selves. With this understanding, we can figure out just how important this Epic Virtue is for every department of our life!  This is no “push over” virtue.


“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us.”

-Tryon Edwards


“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

  -Malcolm S. Forbes


Pride and arrogance, on the other hand, convinces us that we are “superior” and drives the need in us to be the “faster, smarter, louder, higher, stronger and richer then the next person” at any expense in order to be “somebody superior”. It propagates a philosophy of “breast thumping” and promotes a culture of self promotion that belittles others in order to be seen as “No.1”: the subtle religion of the EGOISM.

One of the definitions of “EGO” that I love is by Patrick Morley in his book, “Second Half for the Man in the Mirror”, which defines it as EDGING GOD OUT. That for me this succulently describes the essence of the religion of egoism, the religion that forgets the “humus” dimension of humanity, thus edging God and others out!


“There are two kinds of egotists:  Those who admit it, and the rest of us.”

-Laurence J. Peter

How important is the virtue of humility in every aspect of our life, in our relationships, the way we relate and in enabling us to live freely and spontaneously? 

To answer this question, one needs to understand that humility is a meta – virtue which has multi dimensional characteristics.  It also operates like a “gate keeper” virtue that allows the blossoming of other virtues in us. So, what are the other dimensions of humility?


“Humility is a necessary veil to all other graces.”

-William Gurnall



Humility brings the realization that as human persons, our perception of things, others, circumstances and even of our very selves is limited, it is never the absolute “reality”, hence the need to remain OPEN, to have a posture of openness, to learn and discover new perspectives, insights and lessons from others and life.


Humility thus inspires openness and the need to avoid labeling. It beckons us to be willing to “let go” of our preset expectations, assumptions and mental maps in order to be able to enter into dialogue and engagement with “what is”.


Arrogance and pride on the other hand, the “I know and must have things be and go way” attitude, is the antithesis of openness and humility. It destroys dialogue and engagement, community and diversity. It promotes rigidity, alienation and conflict.


“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.”

-Saint Augustine


Embracing “Not Knowing”:

Humility gives us the strength to embrace “not knowing”, the ability to simply welcome situations where we do not have all the answers, to admit our “not knowing” and to ask for help, input, ideas and the thoughts of others. This permits contribution, team work and cooperation; the buildings of life giving communities, relationships and connections that mutually empower and enhance each other.


“Not knowing” free us of the stressful obsessive compulsive need to “know it all” and project a false to fact image of “knowing everything” while trying to play the role of “rescuer” and “savior”! By “not knowing”, we are choosing to embrace larger possibilities, to mystery and transformation.


“It wasn’t until quite late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say “I don’t know!”



In the area of relationships, it enables us to be open to encounter, discovery and engagement, encouraging us to suspend our habits of stereo typing and judging and avoiding the conflict of egos, which is the cause of much division, separation and alienation.


Curiosity & Spontaneity:

Imagine the stiffness and rigidity of the need to “always be right”, look right, and avoid mistakes in order to be seen as “perfect and impeccable”? The modern day neurotic fear of failing, the quest to be “better then” the next person at all costs and the fear of getting our egos bruised by our human limitation…does this inspire spontaneity and curiosity?


Humility on the other hand creates a sense of openness, to embrace “not knowing” and free us to be curious and spontaneous in order to discover, play and engage, exploring new horizons, experiences and relationships. Curiosity removes prejudice and our mental filters that keeps us “in the box” and which rejects whatever that is new or unfamiliar. Spontaneity on the other hand allows us to live as our real selves in the now and in the flow state, unleashing our fully potential fearlessly without the need or struggle to “be perfect”.


“Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts.  It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.” 

-William Temple


Embracing humility thus disengages the ego, our false or projected self that fears the “rejection and shame” of being human, and allows the “creative child” within us to dance and expresses itself through curiosity and spontaneity and allowing others to do the same. This brings about the synergy of talent, gifts and resources which expresses itself in creative innovation!

Tolerance and Patience:

This is a self evident truth: much of our internal and external conflicts are caused by our lack of humility which produces intolerance and impatience with one self and others.


Humility, the realization of “humus”, awakes in us the realization that our potential can only be realized through patient application of effort and the tolerance of mistakes and the acceptance of our fallibility. This enables us to befriend ourselves; embracing our weaknesses, contradictions and strengths, so as to actualize our highest and best.


Internal conflicts happen when we loose humility, the sense of being tolerant with our fallibility and impatient with our growth process. This sets oneself against our very self and leads one to be self critical, self judgmental and self condemning. This puts one in a state of conflict with oneself, leading to self alienation and the creation of unresourceful states and frames of mind that become dragon states: states that turn us into our worst enemy!


“Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself.”

-Charles H. Spurgeon


The same happens externally. Our lack of humility to embrace diversity in every from, be it culturally, racially, economically, sociologically, spiritually and politically leads to much conflict and alienation. Our closed and narrow mindedness coupled with our intolerance and impatience with that which is different, “strange and uncomfortable” leads to the break down of inter personal relationship. It divides us socially, culturally and religiously, it breeds discrimination, prejudice and subtle persecution.


A true world without borders can only be realized by tolerance and patience, by the practice of humility and embracing that which is “different” and “diverse”. Only this can brings us the realization of the richness of our humanness, our human race which is created in the image of its Creator.


Stepping Aside, Enabling and Empowering – a perspective of humility:      

Something interesting and wonderful, almost liberating and refreshing happens, when we approach situations from a perspective of humility: it opens us to possibilities that we never would have imagined. How does humility cause this? By enables us to step aside, embrace a “beginner’s mindset” and resist imposing our point of view. In situations where we are in error, it enables us to admit our errors with the magical words that can produce more peace of mind in oneself and encouragement in others: “You are right; I’m sorry” and cause new paths and possibilities to open up.


“Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.”

-William Safire


A perspective of humility enables us to share the credit for successes with others, knowing fully well our limitations while recognizing the contributions of others. It stops us from talking about ourselves and allowing others to be in the limelight. When we do this, empowerment happens.  It enables others to “come into their strength zones” and offer their talents and strengths confidently to help actualize the greater good and common outcome. This is the essence of leadership and humility unleashes it!


“Our ego hinders our ability to influence more than anything else under our control.”

- Michael McKinney


A perspective of humility gives us the courage to ask others, our peers and those we lead: “How am I doing? How can I improve? In what way can I serve you better?” and have the openness to embrace the answers that these questions bring in order to be transformed into better leaders. This moves us away from an “insecure model” of leadership, one which is pushing, imposing, manipulating and controlling to a model of “servant leadership” which seeks to genuinely find better ways of serving by empowering others to better contribute, connect, communicate and collaborate. This is the essence of leadership, which has nothing to do about oneself, but about others and humility unleashes this!


“How do we know if we have a servant’s heart?

 By how we act when we are treated like one!”



From the above, we may come to one powerful realization about humility: it’s really worth embracing! It empowers us to have a life giving relationship with our very selves, others who we live with and serve and ultimately with our God, allowing HIM to lead, mould and set us on the path that will bring out our highest and best!  It allows us to be “humus”, to set aside our “false self” and egos and to live freely and spontaneously, empowering our very selves and others. “Humus”, the power of humility, liberates us to be fully human and fully alive!


“He who sacrifices a whole offering shall be rewarded for a whole offering; he who offers a burnt-offering shall have the reward of a burnt-offering; but he who offers humility to God and man shall be rewarded with a reward as if he had offered all the sacrifices in the world.”

- The Talmud




Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!


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Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company inMalaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro –Semantics,USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS,USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA fromGordon University,Illinois,USA.