Doubt Your Infallibility: Or What Leaders Tend NOT TO DO!

Benjamin Franklin, the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, humility, self awareness

Here is the full quote, which was too long to put on to the image.

Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Ben Franklin

That was part of the wisdom Franklin offered to his fellow delegates at the United States constitutional convention in 1787.

We Are All Beggars

we are all beggars, martin luther quote, humility quote

We are all beggars.
Martin Luther

No matter our position or status in life, we are all in the same sinking boat on the same stormy seas. 

Perhaps this is a lesson, most vitally important for those called to leadership. For such people tend to see themselves as the heroes, the rescuers, the savers, the great women and men who will make the difference in the lives of others.

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. 

Overcoming Your Addiction to Praise

C.S. Lewis quote, prideEvery now and then I run across an article that is seriously inadequate in its analysis and prescription of the problem. That happened yesterday when I read a blog on the theme of overcoming one's addiction to praise. You can read it HERE.

There are three quite positive things I would say about the article.

1.  It sees the need for praise as a problem.

2.  It sees the ADDICTION to needing praise as a serious problem.

3.  It believes you can (and should) take action about this problem.

Three Things That Make you Better as a Leader

Years ago, Seth Godin rocked my world when he told leaders, entrepreneurs (and in fact all of us) to give away some of our best stuff.

He said, even though this seems counter-intuitive, do it. Do it because you exist to resource others and a way of generosity that gives freely creates great relationships and credibility. 

Remember the Free Hug movement a few years ago? How contagious and uplifting it was.

A Not So Very Good Morning

Which was Actually a Quite Good Morning in the End

C.S. Lewis quote, pride, love, humility

It was this past Monday morning. On Monday morning I work on the chapter in Jesus Encounters: Embracing the Life of Christ. This week it was on the subject of humility and pride. Ouch. Boy was I convicted. What makes this at least a little ironic is that I wrote the material! I researched it. Thought about it. Wrote it. Edited it. Edited it some more. Now I was doing the work of spiritually engaging it. 

Smart People Know How Much They Need to Learn

Life Long Learning, Note 03
When INTELLIGENCE is combined with HUMILITY - that is a beautiful and powerful combination. Unfortuanately, too often that combination is absent. Intellectual pride is certainly a problem...a rampant one at that. In many cases:

Smart people tend to want to be seen as "smart."
Smart people don't like to be wrong.
Smart people are offended when others challenge their "smarts."

But Smart and Humble people - now that is differnet!
They are the life long learners.
They are the ones who are wide open to learning from any and all sources.
They are the ones who don't mind being corrected. After all, it is not about being right, it is about learning and growing. 

Thomas Carlyle on Humble Learning

Be Modest. Be Humble. Be Diligent.

Be these things when it comes to learning. This is not all we need be as learners. Curiosity is good. Passion also. Debate and rigorous critical analysis of the ideas set forth is not only useful - it is vital. Still, there is the great benefit of a humble demeanor for life long learning.

You know your limits. You know that you don't know MOST of what there is to know. You know you have many opinions, some of which have little substance of content or rigor of process supporting them. You understand the power of personal bias. You know you can't easily rise above your presuppositions, but at least you have awareness of them. You know others (many who are MUCH smarter than you) hold oppositive positons. You also know you have changed your mind (a time or two) in the past; and you will surely change your mind again in the future.

Pride and Humility

My son has been doing a lot of summer reading. C. S. Lewis in particular (The Great Divorce, Mere  Christainity, Screwtape Letters) and books on leadership by Jim Collins, Kouzes and Posner and Lencioni. Late last night he said, "In these books, pride and humility is the main thing." I thought about it for a minute and agreed with him. Pride and humility are at the center of life, relationships, work, leadership . . .

Pride is that Original Sin. It is the "mother-lode" of all that has gone wrong in the world. It is the slumbering Smaug, that when awakened, wrecks havoc and ruin. Pride has ended careers, destroyed families, and robbed bright futures. It limits a life and it disrupts an organization. No wonder the best authors write about pride.


Humility is one of the ancient virtues. I came across this quote from Saint Augustine the other day in a very nice little book - The Leader as Mensch: Becoming the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow by Bruna Martinuzzi.

It is always worthwhile to use thoughts like this as a time to reflect on one's own experiences in life, ministry and leadership. So how are you doing with this virtue called HUMILITY?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

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