A Spirit Of Humility.

by Patrick Liew on March 1, 2014

How will I live tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrows to make my life really count?

At the end of my life, how will I appraise it?

During the recent Chinese New Year celebration, Col (Ret) Tan Hung Kee dropped by my home. We had a wonderful time sharing and praying together.

Hung Kee won a scholarship from the SAF to complete his tertiary education. He rose fairly quickly through rank and file in the military organisation.

Hung Kee eventually became the Chief of Armour. He had an illustrious career and was highly respected.

After his retirement, many doors were opened to him. He could have taken up any of the positions and, I’m sure, he would have made a success out of it.

Instead, Hung Kee and his wife shocked all of us by moving to Kota Kinabalu. They served a small community, helping people with spiritual and emotional difficulties.

They then moved to China to continue their humanitarian mission to help the poor, the needy, and the disadvantaged.

I was deeply moved by the sacrifices they made to fulfill their calling. They touched my heart for the way they gave themselves to their chosen community.

When I study great leaders such as Hung Kee, people we love and remember fondly, they have one common denominator – a spirit of humility.

This finding is validated by Jim Collins in his best-selling book, From Good to Great. He found that leaders of visionary companies or what he termed as “Level 5 leaders” have the traits of humility and fierce resolve.

This is hard to accept in a commercialised world where leaders seek every opportunity to promote themselves. They jostle and jockey for a moment of fame or hog the limelight.

When transient nature of fame blows away, they wonder why they do not have an affinity with their team. While they were focusing on themselves, they have no meaningful influence on people around them.

Humility can remove barriers to relationships and help us win hearts and minds. It’s a virtue that can help us mobilize people and channel their resources to fulfill a purposeful cause.

The root word of humility is derived from the Latin word “humus” which means “ground” and “humilis” which means “lowly.”

Humility does not mean that others are better than us or we are better than them. It’s about freedom from unhealthy comparison so that we can build positive relationships.

In essence, humility is grounded in truth, love and wisdom. It does not operate in an artificially-elevated position of of self-pride, over-confidence and arrogance.

Humility does not function from a self-centred and self-serving position. Instead, it seeks to put others first, and making others feel more important than ourselves.

It’s a state of being detached from the ego and willingness to serve others.

Humility is not a weakness but a strength.

It takes strength to recognize that others can be better than us. There is more to be known than what has been known.

It takes strength to give up the old and to embrace new ideas, attitude and behaviour.

Humility is not blind obedience but courage. It takes courage to believe that we can be wrong and to solicit feedback and correction.

It takes courage to relinquish power to a better person. And to take on the role of a follower and a team player.

Humility is not timidity but confidence. It takes a sense of security to accept personal weakness and approach others for counsel, advice and solution.

It takes confidence to create opportunities for others to play their part and make their contribution.

It takes confidence to offer credit and recognition to others for an achievement even if you have played a major part in  it.

Humility is the first lesson before any other lesson.

It ensures that we are not so full of ourselves that we have no room for additional knowledge, wisdom and success.

In fact, humility is a necessary ingredient to develop other virtues.

The more important the virtue, the more the ingredient of humility is needed to make it strong and sustainable.

Humility protects us against the devil. He does not know how to attack a person who submits to and partners with our Creator.

He does not know how to tempt a person who is at peace with himself, contented and has a heart to serve others.

Humility prevents us from falling off the cliff of life. We will not be caught up by our own publicity and over-indulge in compliments and flattery.

In that way, we can never be imprisoned by the trappings of self-pride and vain glory.

Humility is a mindset. How we perceive others will influence how others will be to us.

When we learn to see the good in them, we will be able to enjoy the relationships and learn from them.

When we put others before self and their interests before ours, we strengthen the bond with them. We deserve their respect and trust.

Humility is also a behaviour. How we treat others will affect the way they respond to us.

When we respect them and treat them with importance, they will also do the same to us.

Through humility, we are in a better position to lead and help others to achieve meaningful success.

As I reflect on my meeting with Hung Kee, I’m thankful for the lessons he taught me.

Many people measure life by the quantity of possessions rather than their quality of contributions.

Hung Kee has shown us a better way to live life. He has made a positive difference to many people, including me.

Col (Ret) Tan, I salute you!

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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