Debunking Humility: The Road To Modesty

Debunking Humility: The Road To Modesty

Humility is a very short word that sounds easier to say than it is to achieve. The dictionary describes Humility as the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.” 

Imagine you are a 21-year-old boy put into a position of power that earns you a massive salary. It suddenly becomes very difficult to have a “low view” of your importance, doesn’t it? CS.Lewis said that humility is not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking of yourself less. I think the secret to being humble lies in this quote. 

My personal road to humility: 

I went to a school where you were taught to be humble, where pride, vanity and arrogance were simply not tolerated. Students who were good at sport had an extra slice of humble pie as they strived for perfection with each and every match. One day you’re at the top of your game and the next, dealing with the pressure of being back at the bottom. 

When I was at the top of my professional career and the Captain of the Springbok Rugby team, I always reminded myself of two things. Firstly, it is not my right to lead my country but a massive honor and a privilege. With privilege comes responsibility, and one of the responsibilities you have as a leader is to be humble and show gratitude at all times.

Secondly, understand that your position is temporary and something that can be taken away from you at any time. My responsibility at the time was to do my best and to leave the position in a better place than I found it. Quite hard when your predecessor was Gary Teichmann! 

The art of humility: 

I stayed in touch with all my school friends who had walked a long way with me to get me where I was. I made time to talk to people, especially kids because I also knew that I had the responsibility to inspire the next generation of rugby players. 

I also had the privilege of having the greatest example of humility in former President Nelson Mandela. Even though he was the most important and most influential person of his time he never made you feel inferior and always went out of his way to make you feel special. 

To any leader reading this piece, remember to lead with humility and gratitude. Follow my personal blog or find out more about my key note on 

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