How to be humble?

When I studied overseas (living far away from my parents), I reminded myself daily to be polite (以礼待人) and humble (虚怀若谷), so that I could learn more things in a short amount of time.

Being humble allows us to free ourselves from pride and prejudices.

According to Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School, humble people have a high level of self-esteem.

Humility is essential for learning and earning for lives. To quote Clay, “By the time you make it to a top graduate school, almost all your learning has come from people who are smarter and more experienced than you: parents, teachers, bosses. But once you’ve finished at Harvard Business School or any other top academic institution, the vast majority of people you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.”

On 20180701, we learned about humility from taxi drivers. The taxi driver who drove us from home to the party at H2O Residences condo was an elderly who believes in Takdir and has been very patient. He was opening the door to help us with the pram, but it hit a Mercedes-Benz that came from behind. The Benz driver was rude, scolded the taxi profanity (f* you!) and demanded $100 from the taxi driver.When the taxi driver rubbed away the scratch, there was nothing there, as confirmed by my husband. How could a scratch be just rubbed away with his hand? Obviously, the Benz driver was trying to bully the taxi driver. Then, the taxi driver who drove us from the condo to the IKEA Tampines, was a former bank manager. He was very polite and helpful, dropping us inside the car park as it was drizzling outside. He shared that if one accidentally hits a luxury car, the workshop knowing that the wrongdoer has to pay, will overcharge by including miscellaneous repairs and the bills can go to $20k-30k. That’s why, both my husband and I has not driven any car here.

An ancient saying summarized the humility that allows one to learn, “三人行,必有我师”. The Master said, “When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, and avoid their bad qualities.”

To be humble:

  1. love ourselves so we feel good about ourselves and have a high level of self-esteem.



  1. […] be humble and open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. […]


  2. […] Be humble to minimize arousing an envy feeling of our friends, clients, colleagues, or bosses. […]


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