Two Opinions: Humility Makes Us Great

This a monthly column on becoming a great human being and has two opinions on the subject from western and eastern part of the world namely Michael Thallium from Spain and Dr Amit Nagpal from India.

Dr Amit Nagpal’s opinion

Dr Amit Nagpal is a consultant and coach whose primary interest lies in providing Personal Branding Consultancy specially in digital space. He is also known as a passionate Blogger, Motivational speaker and Trainer (in Life skills and Digital Marketing). He is a Leadership Mentor for IAYSCP (International Association of Young Supply Chain Professionals), USA and is also a member of the Global Mentoring Committee for Entrepreneurship Incubation, 3E Innovative Foundation, Delhi NCR, India. His blog, “The Joys of Teaching” (A Blog on Life Mantras for Sustainable Success) is read in 100 plus countries and the numbers continue to rise as the words spread day by day.

Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant & Global Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Take charge of your life and your brand.”

Humility is one lesson that life has taught me through shock treatment. Nearly a year ago, when I was asked to give a farewell speech by my College Director (who appreciated my humility), I was reminded of my childhood days.

I began my speech thus, “The famous saying goes, ‘Every saint has a past and every rogue has a future’. By no means have I claimed to be a saint but yes I try my best to be humble. Though I have strived hard for personal growth throughout my life (rather than improving others), life had to give me a tough lesson to make me humble.”

I continued with the story of my childhood. I decided to be brutally honest about my own lessons and failures. I continued, “I was always a school topper as far as academics were concerned. Besides academics, I had a huge range of accomplishments ranging from debates, writing election speeches, skits, poetry, moderating and so on. I achieved too much too fast which made me full of pride. At the age of 12, I saw my name appearing in leading Hindi newspapers as ‘Balkavi’ (child poet). I became the uncontested school PM on reaching the secondary level. It was a golden period in my life in terms of achievements but I was emotionally and spiritually blank. Being a child, I did not even realize I was becoming haughtier and haughtier”

I was also too scientific in my thinking, had a chemistry lab right in my house and rejected God as unscientific.

There is a famous couplet;
“As a rule, man is a fool, when it should be hot he makes it cool.
When it should be cool, he makes it hot, always doing what he should not.”

I rather believed,
“As a rule, God is a fool, when it should be hot, He makes it cool
When it should be cool, he makes it hot, always doing what he should not.”

I had recently posted on Facebook, “Life is a teacher and it teaches us through bitter experiences what we refuse to learn on our own. Keep learning, keep evolving. Someone has rightly said, ‘If you learn your lessons, you don’t have to go through the experiences’”.

Since I had not learnt my lessons otherwise, I had to go through the experiences which forced me to do soul searching. As I received one setback after another, I moved from being a bit narcissistic to a state of low self-esteem. The trials seemed never ending and I decided to surrender to God’s will. Pride had hath a fall. As soon as I started to change myself, my life began to transform in surprising ways.

Humility makes us great. So am I claiming myself to be great? Well, we are all great already and we only need to bring out that greatness by being in flow with the universe. Let your voice, body language, your writings and every cell of your body be filled with humility. Fill positivity in your mind, gratitude in your heart and faith in your soul. And get ready to be surprised, blessed and even pleasantly shocked by the Universe.

Michael Thallium’s opinion

Michael Thallium

Michael Thallium is a global and greatness coach based in Spain. Michael has spent many years of his life traveling around many countries and continents, sailing the seas, flying the skies all over the world. Since 2008 he is dedicated to his passions namely coaching, language & communication and music.

A couple of weeks ago, when my friend Amit Nagpal suggested we could write an article on Humility, I thought that was a good topic to write about. However, then I started to think about what I could write on humility that had not been written yet. And I got blocked! The deadline for the delivery of this article was coming closer and closer and I did not start writing anything.

Then, three things happened to me that helped me make up my mind and, finally, write this article. The first one was a story I learnt about yesterday. Have you ever heard of Carly Fleishmann? Nope? Me neither… until yesterday. I was having a look at the wall of one of my Facebook friends from Switzerland, Christina Weidmann, and saw a link to a really interesting video entitled “Autistic girl expresses unimaginable intelligence”.

Then I started researching online and found out about that girl. Carly is an autistic girl who is not able to talk but, surprisingly, things changed when she turned 11 and was introduced to a computer. Then she started typing messages and finally found her voice. “Don’t give up! Your inner voice will find its way out, mine did” she says in her weblog which I recommend you to have a look at: And what I learnt from her about humility is that you need to take time to know people before you form an opinion…one should not jump to conclusions.

The second thing that happened to me was a conversation with my friend Jeanie Flowers. When I told her I had to write an article on humility she replied: That’s an interesting topic, humility. I think for a lot of people that doesn’t come naturally. When we are young we think we know everything, we have to be “the best” at everything or, at least, at something. For a lot of people it is difficult to come to terms with the reality that a lot of poeple are going to be at least as good as you at whatever it is you do – and for some of us it isn’t until later in life that we realize, that’s okay. It isn’t a competition, but some people want to make life out to be that way. Being Rachel’s mom (Rachel is blind) taught me humility. To understand her words, I should add that Jeanie gave up her music career and does a full time job to feed and take care of her two kids on her own.

The third thing that happened to me was simple: time was running out and I had to finish this article. No excuses!

Some dictionaries define humility as the quality of being modest and respectful. This is something we can never forget. Me as a global & greatness coach, I coach people and I do not see any other way to coach people than exercising humility. You have to take time to know your coachees before you forma an opinion. Precisely, “judgement” is what you have to avoid as a coach. You have to give up your agenda and follow the agenda of your coachees. And, of course, in coaching, deadlines are very important to achieve your goals.

Recently, I have been listening to a very interesting audio book by Jim Collins called “Good to Great”. Jim Collins speaks about the “Level 5 Leadership”. In his research, out of 500 business companies from the Forbes list, only 11 made the leap from good to great. And all these 11 companies had something in common: “Level 5 Leaders”, who are characterized by their “humility” in comparison with some of the present business “gurus”. Actually, you may not have heard of these kinds of leaders. A Level 5 Leader is humble, but do not be misunderstood: humility does not mean weakness. On the contrary, Level 5 Leaders are determined to do anything they need to achieve their goals on the basis of the business sustainability and serve others.

So, humility helps us to move from good to great, helps us to understand others by, as Carly Fleischmann said, taking time to know them before jumping to conclusions, and humility helps us to give us away and do things for others as Jeanie did for her two kids.

These were my humble words on humility. Time is over!

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