What’s so Great About Humble?

How many times have we seen and heard celebrities, politicians, businesspeople and others receive public awards or accolades, and the first thing they say is “I am so humbled by this award”?


Dictionary.com defines “humble” as “having a low estimate of one’s own importance.”

What is the opposite of “humble,” that award-winning folks appear to want to avoid like the plague?

“Exalt.” “Elevate.”

I just don’t get it. Awards are given for achievement, hard work, skills, devotion, determination, winning, intelligence, improvements. Why would a person want to belittle their own accomplishments by calling themselves “humble?” If they are humble up there on the stage, what are the rest of us peons in the audience? I mean, really, what is below humble? Wretched? Contagious? Dead?

I understand that some people don’t want to appear arrogant, braggadocios, or generally big-ego’d jerks. Isn’t there some comfortable middle ground between “I am so humbled by this award” and “Man, I am the Master of the Universe”?

Maybe some heartfelt truth is called for here: “I am happy to receive this award, it makes me proud to think of all of my hard work being appreciated by all of you.” Or how about: “This award means very much to me, I struggled for years to get to this milestone, and am thrilled to be so honored by my peers.”

No one really believes these people when they say they are “humbled” anyway, do we? Do they look humbled? Nope. And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of yourself. In fact, being satisfied with yourself is important for healthy self-esteem. Awards should make us feel proud, not humbled. Let’s try a little side of honesty with our humble pie…

About the author

I am a third generation printer, and a second generation owner of Curry Printing. Ink (pms 185!) must run through my veins! As a "working owner," I am at Curry every day, working in and on my business. The old adage is true...if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!

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