humility

2021-06-14

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~3 min read

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426 words

Recently, I came across two great reminders about the role of humility and how that is often a difficult balance to strike - particularly in a world where so much of what we say to one another is in a push model (we’re publishing our own story versus being asked about it).

The first comes from Jason Heaton’s Swimpruf substack in Mountains Out of Molehills. The article is a reflection on an article he wrote previously and feedback he’d received. He concludes:

Thinking back on that lone comment on my Mount Rainier article, I’m glad the person wrote it. It taught me two lessons early on in my writing career. Firstly, the goal of my writing should not be to make something I’ve done, or something I know, sound impressive. Rather, it should be to make it sound interesting and inviting, realistic yet accessible. Secondly, I never want to be like that guy who wrote the comment, and we all know those people. They’re on the watch blogs and forums, they’re on TV, they’re on the dive boat and at the trailhead. And while perhaps his aim was to put me in my place and establish his own expertise, the funny thing is, expertise and respect are more often earned through encouragement and humility. No matter what hill you’re climbing.

The second comes from Andrew Bosworth’s blog. In describing his motivations with his blog, he had this to say:

I started this blog with the goal of sharing a few of the lessons I’ve learned in my career. As I have been writing I’ve found myself fighting a desire to make myself look better. A big part of me wants to present myself as some kind of sage who has always been wise. But that isn’t true. I learned most of these lessons the hard way. Shame is a powerful force in our society and prevents us from sharing our lessons. We protect ourselves from criticism but also prevent people from connecting with us meaningfully. Shame begets more shame. Maybe by me talking about these things people will think less of me. But someone else will connect with it and maybe avoid the same mistake, or maybe even share their own.

A lot to chew on in both cases. For now, it’s worth remembering that we’re all on our own paths and instead of trying to compare ourselves to someone else, reflect on the progress (or lack thereof) that we’ve made in our own journey and use that. We’re exactly where we should be.


Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!