Humility is perhaps one of the most important secrets to success in life. But how do you cultivate a focus on it and not build your ego at the same time.

From Ryan Holiday’s post: 

https://medium.com/thrive-global/25-ways-to-kill-the-toxic-ego-that-will-ruin-your-life-32a0bd2c0932

Patience. Discipline. Humility. 

Focus on the effort — not the outcome & not the results. 

It’s not arrogant to want to be the best at anything. But if you are working to be the best at something so you say you’re the best then you’re missing the point. Doing your best, and the work that it takes to become the best is what matters. Focusing on the title or the rewards from it are just the shiny thing at the end of the race. If you’re fixated on the end-result, this is your ego talking to you. Ego wants to control & own everything. But the reality is you cannot control or own everything in the world. Especially when it comes to other people.

Choose purpose over passion. 

Finding your ‘purpose’ in life takes some empathy and developing that takes closing off your ego and listening to other people. Passion is great but it never seems to last very long in most of us. Also, typically i’ve found that when I have a passion for something it’s because it’s feeding my ego or my needs in some way that’s not truly deep. I also believe that ‘serving others’ in some capacity is where we find true purpose in life.

Master yourself, serve others.

Mark Divine

Shun the comfort of talking and face the work. 

Stop talking and start doing. Do you excessively plan things out and never really get to doing anything? How many times have you daydreamed and planned out a trip to another country only to never actually take that trip? Have you been dreaming of starting your own business, but never have actually started doing anything in that direction?

Kill your pride before you lose your head. 

“You must remind yourself every day how much work is left to be done, not how much you have done. You must remember that humility is the antidote to pride.”

How many times have you messed something up because you were too proud to ask for help, or to admit you were wrong? How many relationships have you ended because of the same things…?

Also, it’s good to look back at what you’ve accomplished but you can’t simply live by past deeds alone. This world is definitely a “what have you done lately” sort of place. Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days is all about this:

I had a friend was a big baseball player
Back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
But all he kept talking about was

Glory days, well they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

Stop telling yourself a story

If you have found success at something, you cannot start to tell yourself that you will continue to be successful just because you have been “so far”. Chances are the work isn’t done. This is also the path to overconfidence and cockiness. 

When it comes to relationships; don’t tell yourself a stroy about what the other person is thinking, chances are you will make it about yourself. You’ll put your own ego and needs at the center of this story and it won’t come out well. Like, what if someone “ghosts” you, is it because they truly don’t like you or maybe because they’re just busy that day or simply forgot?

Know what matters to you and ruthlessly say no to everything else. 

Our ego will wand to have and to do everything. That’s not possible, you’ll burn yourself out or you will spread yourself so thin you don’t every accomplish anything. It’s really hard to say NO to people too. You have to practice it, but more than that you need to develop a framework for what you will say NO to and more importantly what you will say YES to.

Forget credit and recognition. 

Ask yourself why you are doing something, whatever it is. Are you doing it for praise and recognition? Or are you doing it because it simply needs to be done? Why do you help someone? For a future favor or because they need help? 

Connect with nature and the universe at large. 

A friend of mine often says “Get Cosmic” – which to him means to constantly remind himself of his place in the universe. That he is not so large in this world and time as his ego is telling him he is. You can use nature to remind you of how insignificant you are in relation to space and time and the planet itself. Seek ways to put life into perspective.

Choose alive time over dead time. 

If you have a choice between connecting, learning or growing vs. stagnating, disconnecting or closing off which would you chose? Instead of watching 12 hours of that newest series on netflix, spend some of that time learning a new skill, reading a book that teaches you something or simply talking with family or friends.

Get out of your own head. 

Do uncomfortable things. Push yourself to try something new. Resist the urge to sit in your own mind and rehash the past.

Place the mission and purpose above you. 

In the same vein as forgetting reward or credit, if you put the mission above your own ego for success you will most likely be successful. We often say, if you’re only goal is to get the Blackbelt then you probably never get it, if your goal is lifelong learning then you are already a Blackbelt.

When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging. 

Don’t make the problem worse by continuing to talk… it’s our ego that wants to constantly defend ourselves. If you made a mess, just clean it up. Own your mistakes, appologize and get on with the work. 

Leave your entitlement at the door. 

No one owe’s you shit. You do not deserve success simply because you are trying. Life has no participation trophies. Hard work is rewarded with skill, that’s the only thing you can own in the end that cannot be taken away from you.

Pursue mastery in your chosen craft. 

There is always something you can learn. Even in the things you are best at. If you work hard at building your skillset in whatever it is you realize that you’ve gotten where you are by failing at that very thing 1,000’s of times. This builds Humility.

Adopt the beginner’s mindset.

Keep a white belt mentality, even when you reach Blackbelt, it doesn’t mean you are at the end of your martial arts journey, only, simply that you have been taught the basics and that you are now truly ready to learn.


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