The adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in my blood, and two topics I am passionate about are success and failure, more specifically gaining the proper wisdom from both. In this Wisdom Note, we want to discover and understand that every trail, whether it is success or failure, will always come to an end. It is up to us to be prepared for both trails.
Whether it is an entrepreneur who thinks he is his own boss, a person who works for someone else, or one of the highest callings of all, a mom or dad who has the privilege of staying at home focused on their children, the outcome of their stories is all too common…After years of hard work pouring their lives into their calling, the trail of life takes an unexpected and seemingly disastrous turn.
So often when we experience success in any area of life, we start taking credit for it and feel our success was based solely on what we did. We push aside colleagues who’ve helped us achieve success. We abandon the values and principles that have made us successful. We start making decisions and choices that are unwise.
We may also start believing that because we are successful in one area of life, we become experts in everything. It is true that not everyone treats success the same. Some people who achieve success remain humble, never forgetting who they are and from whence they came. Many, though, don’t remain humble. On this trek, let us learn how to stay off the trail of pride and ego and eat these 12 tiny pieces of humble pie.
1. Success is temporary, but so is failure.
Success is a journey, not a destination. When you become successful, don’t rest on your laurels. As soon as you take your eye off the ball, you risk losing your edge.
2. Stop feeding your ego, and it will die.
Don’t isolate yourself from reality by building relationships with people who stroke your ego. Surrounding yourself with “yes people” is just like talking to yourself.
3. Compete against yourself, not others.
When you compete against others, it’s easy to emphasize winning over self-improvement. However, when you compete against yourself, you both win. Become a better you, not a replica of someone else.
4. Even experts have room to learn.
Never stop growing. Never stop learning. Know your limitations and admit when you don’t know something. It’ll help keep you grounded.
5. Listen intentionally.
Discover what others have to offer and ask for their opinions before opening your mouth. This act shows that you value their opinions as well as their insight.
6. No one’s perfect, especially you.
Don’t let success go to your head. Be quick to apologize for your mistakes. You’ll never learn anything or impress anyone by making excuses and diverting blame. And, a little humility will remind you that you’re human.
7. Share your success, and it will multiply.
You may be successful, but there’s a good chance others helped you along the way. Find creative ways to share the credit and pull people up the ladder of success along with you.
8. Remember your roots. That is where nutrients come from.
Remember where you came from and what you’ve learned along the way. Help others by mentoring them.
9. Get off your high horse.
Treat everyone with dignity and respect. You may be successful, but that doesn’t make you better than anyone else.
10. Bragging makes you ugly.
There’s a difference between excitement and bragging. We know you’re thrilled about your new “toy,” but others may be cutting back on their basic needs — be sensitive. As John Wooden said, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
11. Be worthy of trust.
Money and success can’t buy a person’s trust or guarantee a good reputation. You earn these through your words AND actions. There’s nothing more valuable in life than integrity. Trust me.
12. Stay humble.
Many of us come from humble beginnings. We make something of ourselves through the pursuit of knowledge, integrity, hard work, and a bit of good fortune. By God’s grace you can enjoy the fruit of your success, but just like actual fruit, if you have more than you can consume, share it with others before it spoils you.
As is written in the letter from James 4:5-7, “Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
So, don’t let success go to your head. Be humble. Humility is a sign of strength, not weakness. People with humility possess an inner peace. They’re modest about their achievements, grounded in their values, and have nothing to prove to others. They’re down to earth, comfortable in their own skin, and quietly satisfied with their life. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
In this note, we have learned how life is like eating humble pie. Use it to become a more excellent individual.