It is better to leave a vessel unfilled than to attempt to
carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been
sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.
When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them
safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogance, this brings its evil
on itself. When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming
distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.
Tao Te Ching
Humility is part of the “code of the West” as I learned it growing up. “He’s not so special,” my mom would say about someone, maybe a guy I had a crush on or some politician or a TV personality. “He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.” And then there were the proverbs, “Pride goeth…etc.” After a few humiliations and failures, and I got the point.
I’m a humble person. I always have been. I always have hated being pushed front and center. I have never had any real ambition, but many things I’ve wanted to do. Success in any of my endeavors would have led to a better financial situation, but whatever I have had has always been enough.
Humility doesn’t mean you don’t try to do your best. It means understanding that what matters is the doing and that, after the GREAT moment has passed, no matter how GREAT that moment was, you go home, change out of your fancy clothes and put your jeans back on…
One leg at a time.
(I-Ching, Hexagram 15, Modesty [Humility or Balance])