Cartoonist Henri Arnold said, “The wise man questions himself, the fool others.”
In the above quote Henri Arnold really brings home a powerful understanding regarding both personal wisdom and humility. We live in a society that promotes looking to others and blaming them for everything that is wrong. I would go as far as to say we are undoubtedly conditioned to live our lives in this state. Outside of societal norms and pressures we also need to understand that this mentality is a part of human nature.
Looking all the way back deep in History to the first human interaction recorded in the Bible in the Garden of Eden we see this element of our nature at work. After eating the fruit of the forbidden tree in the garden, when confronted by God, both Adam and Eve immediately place blame on someone/something else rather than looking within first and being accountable. It’s a very interesting interaction in Genesis 3. Check it out if you have time.
It is always easy and far more convenient to look externally for blame when things do not go the way that they should. It is indeed our nature to do so.
Let me propose that this part of our nature lacks humility. In regards to leadership, looking within first and questioning what ownership we have in each circumstance in our business and personal lives requires a great deal of humility. The question, ‘what did I do to get myself here?” may seem simple and obvious, but I assure you it remains a hidden gem!
When a leader acts with this level of humility it is amazing to watch how quickly it reciprocates in others involved in the situation. People start popping up like popcorn to take personal ownership of their actions, many times being accountable for actions that played no role in the outcome. It’s almost as if a permission is granted to act with integrity and humility, and people are starving for it.
I believe the world is starving for humble leaders to step forward who exercise high levels of personal integrity and accountability. The past has proven that leaders marked by humility and service stand tall in the annals of History and their impact on the world around them is unmatched.
Will you be the next?