If there’s anything that annoys me about modern culture, it’s the pursuit and obsession with self. I suppose the classic modern day example of this is how everyone believes they’re an “influencer”, a term that is annoying on its own because most of those who call themselves influencers are likely not influencing anyone in any meaningful way, unless you count getting involved in an MLM or some advertising scheme as “influencing”.
Arguably, advertising is influential, but if you use photos of yourself on vacation (or whatever Instagram is these days–I wouldn’t know) to sell a product, you’re not influencing so much as being influenced by whoever is paying you to sell their product. You aren’t an influencer so much as an ad delivery system, and Zuck is the greatest beneficiary.
In any case, humility is one of those things that people like to pretend they practice by telling the whole world about it and how good they are at it.
C.S. Lewis probably put it best in his 1952 book Mere Christianity:
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.
If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
I think the nugget of gold in this sweet prose is the idea that a humble person knows when to shut their mouth and truly expresses interest in the lives of others. And they do so not with some intent, but entirely out of genuine interest.
Authentic humility is rare, and when I think about the kind of people in life who I’ve liked the most, they tend to be the kind of people who are happy to talk about themselves when asked, but are more inclined to listen than speak unprompted.
And now a word from our sponsors… just kidding, I’m not selling anything here other than my opinions which are free (and thus worthless).