by Lance D. Smith
Most people roll their eyes when they hear the word humility. They associate it with weakness or someone who can be easily manipulated. But humility is strength and the starting point for every other good virtue.
Humility is seeing our selves honestly. It keeps us real in the world. Having humility, that person knows all people are valuable because they are human, not based on what they do. When someone is able to recognize that all humans have equal value, he or she is not so quick to esteem themselves higher than them, or assert any superiority.
Humility is the foundation for all healthy relationships. It keeps those in relationships respectful, honest, and relaxed. We all live in an intricate web of relationships and humility keeps us inside that web. But if you have no humility and self centered or see yourself as "the best," pride will pluck you right out of that web.
Humility teaches us rules and self restraint. We individually are a part of a larger group that needs to work for the whole. It teaches us to look outward, instead of obsessing inwardly over ourselves. Self indulgence is easy. It requires no strength or character. Eating four pies may feel good at the time, but leaves you feeling sick. Indulge until youíre full, and eventually you'll be empty.
Organized sports are a great medium where children can learn humility. But many gifted athletes donít quite learn humility because so much focus may have been put on their individual talents and not their contribution to the team. Without humility, they don't realize their contributions accomplish much more than being superior to their peers or teammates. When this happens, they isolate themselves from the whole. Instead of being grateful for their gifts/talents, they become proud, possibly arrogant, furthering their separation.
Interviews with numerous "greats" of professional sports share a similar theme when looking back on their careers. The high points they each speak of are not about making great plays or personal records. What they cherished most was the commitment their teammates had for one another. You donít find that kind trust and honesty at the office nowadays or on many sport teams. Whether they won or lost games, titles, or championships, they spoke most of the team as a whole, never their personal accomplishments. They know they couldnít and didnít do it alone. Their trophies represent something much greater than themselves. What mattered most is the pure joy and trust, that they "had each other's back." And no one was trying to stick a knife in it!
Each of us has certain, unique strengths and weaknesses. We should be grateful for our talents, not prideful or boastful. These gifts are to be shared with others as a whole. You will enrich lives, yours and theirs. Youíre here, so you can contribute and participate in something much larger and greater than you can be, all by yourself.
"Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story." Casey Stengel
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