If you missed it, jump back to Part 1 – Being Humble: What does that mean?
Now that we’ve explored what it means to be humble and some of the attributes to recognize a humble person, this article has some specific actions anyone can learn to be more humble.
Make sure you take every opportunity you have to thank others for what they do and what they help you with. People don’t accomplish anything on their own and it always takes help from others. Thank them for this help. Whether its your boss, spouse, friends, or stranger, thank others for whatever you can. Being humble in other’s eyes means you don’t claim your own accomplishments, and instead, thank others for how they helped, what they did, how they encouraged or supported you, etc. There are always things to thank others for. Find someone each day and thank them for something. That said, I want to thank each of YOU for reading and supporting this site, it wouldn’t exist without you!
Redirecting praise is useful to be more humble and modest. If you don’t accept praise outright and instead, redirect it to others who helped you, trained you or even allowed you to do something, you pass on that praise to others without taking the credit directly. Accepting praise doesn’t really make a person less humble, but down playing your significance or importance on something certainly makes you more humble. Knowing and sharing the fact that you were not the reason for some accomplishment goes a long ways in the eyes of others. This is especially important in work groups and it drastically reduces the risk of anyone thinking you take all the credit. If you deflect or redirect all praise and credit given you to others involved and truly believe the fact that you weren’t that significant, you further develop a humble attitude.
You Don’t Have to Be Right
A humble person never tries to out do someone else and make themselves look better or smarter. This includes having to be right. When you try to prove you are right, or even when you say something simple like "I know", you are showing dominance over the other person. Instead of wanting to be right, even if you know something already, simple say, "Interesting, thanks for that." A humble person knows only one thing, that they are NOT always right! If you have an idea to present or a solution to offer, don’t try to convince others that its the right solution. Say something like, "I have an suggestion, although I’m not sure its the right thing to do, since I’m often wrong, which is to [blah blah]…" Make an effort to being humble using these types of suggestions so you don’t come across to others as always having to be right.
It Wasn’t You Who Got You Here
People are constantly striving for success and they often feel very proud of themselves for getting to where they are at. Humble people are not proud and know that they didn’t get themselves here. They know that others helped them, encouraged them and assisted them to get to where they are now. If you recognize this and always see how others help you out, you can be more humble by sharing that fact and not taking credit yourself. This is similar to the first one on the list, where its important to thank others.
Don’t Be First
First is not necessarily a bad thing, however being first can come across as competitive, self promoting or demoting of others. None of those things are common for a humble person. In a group or workplace, if you don’t be first to speak, participate or get involved, you give others a chance to be first. This can be very humbling for several reasons. You may see that others have better or smarter ideas than you had in the first place, you’re not the only one capable of the task or message and that you aren’t necessarily needed as much as you would like to think you are. These are very humbling realizations so if want to learn to be more humble, next time you have a chance to be first, don’t!
So many things around us are not our doing, we often forget to see our own insignificance since we get so focused on our own lives and accomplishments. Well to be humble, its importance to recognize and appreciate all the wonderful things around us. Appreciate the place you live, the health, wealth and happiness you experience or have opportunity for. Appreciating things adds greatly to a person’s humility and knowing that we have so much to be thankful for builds on many of the other items in this list. Look around in nature and at the beauty of life sometime and just take it in for a few moments. Think of the world and the awesome creation that God has provided you, and its impossible NOT to be humbled. Show this appreciation in your life and spirit and it will certainly help you be more humble.
Listen More Than You Speak
Similar to the item above, "Don’t Be First" it applies to listening in a more broad sense. Listening more than you speak can be very powerful and if you use this you can learn many things about others and practice humility in how you respond. It gives you time to think and provides time for others to share their own opinions. Listening more can be very respectful to others, and you can learn a lot more by listening to others than you can by speaking.
Don’t Judge Others
Last but not least, a very important aspect of being humble is to not judge others. Judgment is a dangerous thing and you can’t stay open minded, receptive to ideas, empathetic or appreciative of others if you are judging them or their ideas. Everyone is different and have different ideas and when you judge those, you are really showing that you have some overseeing significance or power to make a judgment call, which you certainly don’t if you want to be a humble person. So, to be more humble, practice leaving others to show themselves over time and to let their ideas play out without judgment. Definitely, make an effort not to express judgment and don’t talk about people behind their backs. This is just another form of judgment and shows dominance, so don’t judge others, and you will be more humble.
I hope this list is helpful and that each of you can take some of these steps to being more humble. I know that writing and researching this has been a bit humbling for myself, since I know I don’t do all of these things. I obviously have my work cut out for me. My next and last article in this series is going to look at Being Humble: Why Bother?. I hope you will come back and read why I think being humble is important and what it is useful for. I’d love to hear any other tips and ideas you may have for this list of action steps to be more humble, if so, please comment them below!
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