Articles in Humility
We invite the readers of Positive Psychology News to add their memories as we honor the life of Shane Lopez, who contributed so much to our understanding of Hope and positive psychology in general.
Perhaps it is adversity itself, and the strengths that it builds. For adversity humbles us and reminds us of our limits and our rightful place in the universe. Adversity makes us grateful by preserving small anticipations and accepting the good we find without questioning it. Adversity gives us faith to rise above despair and in so doing, answer the call of the soul. The poor may not have the material riches we possess, but I can’t help wondering who is really the richer or poorer amongst us.
As these thoughts and images flashed through my mind, I had a sudden surge of humility. The awareness that I did not have all the answers grounded me in my own limitations. The realization that she was not asking for my solutions but simply talking out loud to find her own solution made me question my role as a parent.
Alexander the Great looked at the philosopher sitting there, impoverished, rags over the rib-thin body, and asked what he was doing. “I am experiencing nothingness,” said the philosopher. “What are you doing?” “I am conquering the world,” responded Alexander, and they both laughed. Each thought the other was a fool.
What is humility? Are those high in humility low in self-esteem? How can we moderate humility when it is overused and enhance it when it is underused?
December 5, 2013 will be remembered for news of the death of the first black president of South Africa, anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela. I’m not normally drawn to writing about political leaders. But Mandela was different in every respect. His life was a life well-lived.
Just as the possibilities beyond the horizon are endless, so too are our potential ways of interacting with the world. The challenge is to embrace the sweet density and obscurity of life, recognize the meaning in the rawness of experience, and acknowledge that through reflection we may never catch up. What we decide now matters. If we have to play the game, we might as well play it beautifully, see what we can learn, try to make things better and easier for one another and enjoy the ride as much as we can.
Forgiveness. Mercy. Prudence. Modesty. The strengths of temperance don’t get as much attention as our more muscular qualities. Yet in a certain sense, maybe this cluster of strengths enables every other strength, and thus makes the good life possible.
According to several news reports, what Inamori did to re-engage employees and lead Japanese Airlines back into the black was to insist on compulsory philosophy sessions for all staff, washed down with free beer. I was so intrigued by this story that I wanted to delve a bit deeper. I hoped Kazuo Inamori’s business philosophy might yield some positive psychology gems like the ones I recently found with Honda.
Under the broad umbrella of Positive Psychology, Leary and Guadagno have related research and theories of the hypo-egoic state, a “psychological state characterized by relatively little involvement of the self,” to the achievement of optimal functioning. That’s not something you would typically find in a basic book on Positive Psychology or happiness.