Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Humbling Experience

humility-2 Humility: A modest or low view of one's own importance; (or adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing.

I read a good article the other day in the Georgia Magazine. The ‘viewpoint’ by Paul Wood, President and CEO of Georgia Electric is titled, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble” and I encourage you to read it.

He mentions the Mac Davis lyrics, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” Mr. Wood goes on by saying the two best places to learn humility are on the golf course or at a favorite fishing hole. He cited a few examples of what he was referring to.
  • You can be five strokes ahead in a golf tournament when that little round ball decides to take a bath in the nearest pond, play in the sand in a bunker, or hide behind a tree in the rough.
  • You can be president of the United States and it still won’t matter to a striped bass or trout. President Hoover once said, “All men are equal before fish; fish make no distinction between presidents and garbage collectors.”
Paul Wood goes on to call these situations “teachable moments.” Humility is a tough row to hoe because it is natural for us to want to be recognized, admired and appreciated for the things we do. He also mentioned that Ben Franklin was quoted, “Even if I could completely overcome pride, I would probably be proud of my humility.”

humility The article concludes by Mr. Wood commenting on his relationship with golf. He said it if you want to know if a person is arrogant or humble; invite him to play a round of golf with you. Watch his reaction when he makes a bogey and when he makes a birdie. Does he ignore his success and talk about how he could improve his game or does he brag incessantly throughout the round? Golf will reveal his true character – and guarantee his humility.

Being both a fisherman and golfer at one time in my life, I would agree. I could also add a few other sports because of several humbling personal experiences.

Yet, there has been nothing more humbling in my life than the progression of a non-treatable disease. The progression attacks you physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • The impact on you physically is the most evident area. In the beginning there are only minor changes in your capabilities. You can always find some excuse that explains your inability to accomplish something. Over time, however, there are no more excuses and acceptance steps in.
  • The progression attacks you mentally also. Most of us have played some competitive sport where you ‘played’ with an injury. You ‘gutted it out’ ... mind over matter. As you progress, however, you no longer can gut it out. When the muscles stop working, it doesn’t matter how strong your mind (determination) is.
  • Finally, when it comes to emotions, the progression eats away at you almost everyday.
    • Initially, it shows itself as fear. “My God, what is happening to me?”
    • Later, it shows up as doubt. “What are we going to do if this gets any worse?” and “How long can I continue to work?”
    • Even later, resignation sneaks in. “Oh crap, I never thought it would be this bad?” and, “Will this never end?”
Humility-1 Where I was once self-sufficient and confident, I often find myself in need of something or someone to just get through the day. Now that is humbling!

Acceptance is what I am working on today.

For without it, I will never be able to take the next step forward.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment. By taking a moment to share your thoughts you add much to these articles. The articles then become more than just something I said or believe. In addition, by adding a comment, you might just be helping the next reader by sharing your opinion, experience, or a helpful tip. You can comment below or by sending me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.