Friday, January 13, 2012

Attitude vs. Humility

The entire audience was giving a rousing round of applause...that is when I suddenly realized that it was the end of the speech. What a riveting speech it was..!! It certainly tickled my grey cells and made me think....not about what he was speaking but about the kind of personalities that exists in the delightful ....and yet so very effective! It was the inauguration of Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell) at my college and we had invited two eminent business personalities that had chucked their cosy careers to pursue their own enterprises and were very successful in their endeavour.

The first one had a royal air about him. He had a lot of attitude in him and spoke very enthusiastically. He did not mince words and was very harsh while explaining the hardships he had to face while he started his business. If at all there was a thin line between attitude and arrogance....that guy was certainly treading on it. The way he spoke gave me an impression that he has certainly used his attitude to his advantage and channelized his vigour in the right direction. I usually hate people with attitude because of all the people I have met they generally exhibit the negative implications of the word called ‘attitude’.  But this guy certainly made me change my perspective.

The next person to speak on the dais was an antithesis. He was absolutely ice cool and very composed. The first few sentences he spoke put the audience completely at ease and it was good enough to break the ice between him and the audience. The person was extremely humble and absolutely unpretentious. He managed to show us a completely different side of the hardships he had to face. He mentioned about the difficulties of starting an entrepreneurial venture which were pretty much in sync with the first speaker but he did it in such a manner that they appeared as challenges and which could be dealt with. At some points he used to contradict to the first speaker but he made sure that he puts his points across quite adeptly and at the same time showing respect to the other person’s view.

While the speech was going on I was amazed at the personality differentiations of both individuals. One very egoistic (though with a positive connotation) and the other very humble and yet both being so effective. Which one would I prefer...???
Attitude is something which is not at all hereditary and it is completely influenced by one’s social and family environment and culture. The textbook definition states that ‘Attitude’ is a primitive attribute to the preservation of the self ego or pride. Humility on the other hand is lack of self pride. I kind of prefer the second type of person   – very down to earth and completely non showy. Not that there is anything wrong with the first kind of people but maybe because I think a humble and a modest person is accepted universally. I have always believed in the principle of humility and I think it is a great virtue. I have always been in awe of all sportsmen who have achieved a lot yet they seem to accept each accolade and recognition with the same attitude as if it’s their first. I have even tried to model oneself on one such sportsman but not sure how successful I have been in doing so. J

I personally believe a humble person always has an advantage in terms of winning over more people. They seldom make enemies and even if they do due respect is given to them. The one interesting thing about humility is that it is omnipresent....for those who do not believe in makes sure that at some point of time it will make us feel really very small small that the person gets humbled by itself. It is a great preacher that tells us to accept success with a pinch of salt and not be overwhelmed by it. It is also a great inspiration which asks us to take our failures in the right spirit make profound changes within ourselves and take full advantage of the opportunities that come out from a crisis. Humility is not a greatness in itself.... it is a virtue that makes us accept our mistakes for our own good and accept our achievements by admiring and applauding the efforts of our competitors.

At that moment I recalled a nice little quote on humility that I had read somewhere. It goes like this

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

With this lovely thought in my mind I joined the audience in applauding the second speaker...!!! 


  1. Great topic to talk on, but one pedantic observation.

    "Humility on the other hand is lack of self pride."
    Humility is not the lack of self-pride. It is just the quality of being modest and respectful. You did cover this in your following lines. However, as I said, I am just being pedantic :-D.

  2. Interesting point Adi.. I guess we can add one more variable to the type of personality. Their past. It might be possible that the first person was humble but after going through all the hardships he might have realized (his perception) that being tough is the only way to succeed.. We never know..

    I personally like the second person though :)

  3. Simplicity of thoughts and nice articulation of words succeeded in not letting me leave the post half way. Kudos. Plus, it was complete, before I knew it.

    I am with you on the part where you say "humility is lack of self pride and it's a virtue".

    However, I would make another observation here.

    If you've got it, you can flaunt it. I would not mind "that" attitude.
    But I would mind "that" humility which people don. That's being cunning!

  4. Attitude and humility are traits that can be judged by oneself. You got to depend on others for it. I for one directly declare myself as a proud prick and then let others negate me.

  5. @Harshad: Thanks for the read! One more though on said..if you have it flaunt it..but think about it...Humility is an interesting attribute, the moment you flaunt it..its gone ;)

    @ All : Thanks for the read and keep the comments coming ;)

  6. My take on this is that Success is hard earned. The people with attitude that you're referring to are a tad insecure about their hard earned success. They like to harp on it and talk about it pompously just to remind themselves and others what they have achieved. The humble ones easily shift to a different plane and don't make too much of what they have accomplished. They take pride in what they have done but at the same time don't let it play on their mind and don't let it govern their original true self. I agree with you that the latter definitely wins hearts.

  7. Every peroson who goes through a struggle in their life would have a mixture of these two personalities which you have tried to explain here. Presenting humility in every action along with the pride and honor is something which shows his attitude toward life. Such a person would never forget what his past life was like and would always be proud of his endurance to reach the point of success.