MANY PEOPLE think of humility, one of the principal ingredients of a pleasing personality, as a negative virtue. But it isn’t. It’s a powerfully positive one.
Humility actually is a force that man can put into operation for his own good. All of his greatest advances— spiritual, cultural, or material—have been based on it.
It is the prime requisite of true Christianity. With humility, Ghandi set India free. And with its help, Dr. Albert Schweitzer is creating a better world for thousands of Africans.
Humility is an absolute essential to the type of personality you need to achieve personal success, no matter what your goal. And you will find it even more essential after you have reached the top. Without humility you will never gain wisdom; for one of the most important traits of a wise man is the ability to say “I was wrong.”
Without humility you will never be able to find what I call the “seed of equivalent benefit” in adversity and defeat. Every adversity or defeat, I have found, carries with it something to help you overcome it—and even rise above it. For example: R. G. LeTourneau started in business as a garage operator, failed at that, and went into the contracting business. He was a sub-contractor on the Hoover Dam project when he ran into an unexpected strata of hard stone.
He lost everything. Le Tourneau didn’t try to blame others or the forces of nature for his losses. He took responsibility himself. After each setback, he found comfort in prayer. It was while praying for guidance that he found the “seed of equivalent benefit” from his last defeat. He’d go into the business of manufacturing machines which could move any kind of earth or rock.
As result, Le Tourneau earth-moving machinery is now in use throughout the world. LeTourneau has four plants and his personal fortune runs into millions.
To express gratitude for the help he received in turning defeat to victory, Le Tourneau now gives most of his income to churches and devotes much of his time to lay preaching.
Sometimes, humility turns defeat into spiritual blessing.
In 1955, I visited Lee Braxton, Whiteville, N.C., on the very day he discovered he had suffered a heavy financial loss due to the negligence of an associate. “Your loss has been a great blessing if it leaves you gifted with humility of the heart and gratitude for those riches you still possess. With it, you can be more successful than ever,” I told him.
Braxton’s face lighted up with a broad smile. “That’s right,” he said. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
Later, I received a letter from Braxton and he said his income has climbed to an all-time high, more than making up the loss he suffered. Humility is a positive force that knows no limitations.
Source: Success Unlimited, March 1961, p. 31.
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