Humility is a personal trait that comes from one’s innermost thoughts and values.
This means people who are truly humble think somewhat differently from others.
So, how are they different exactly?
In this article, I will share with you 10 unique ways that people with true humility think differently.
1) “It’s okay if we don’t understand”
Most of us think that for something to be valid, it must first make sense.
And when we encounter someone whose lifestyle or ideas do not “make sense” to us, many of us raise an eyebrow and make that person justify themselves.
But to a truly humble person, this kind of thinking is simply the ego talking.
We are so incapable of processing lived lives entirely different from ours. And so, most of us invalidate them unless they prove themselves “justified”.
That is why a person with true humility will not demand that people justify themselves or their ideas. They might ask, but only to LEARN, and not to judge.
2) “Failure is a stepping stone to success”
We all want to succeed—that much is certain.
But where most of us see failure as obstacles and setbacks that we simply have to endure, genuinely humble people understand that failure is just a stepping stone to success.
Because of that, they don’t beat themselves up when they err, or look down on people who have “failed” in some way.
As far as they are concerned, so long as one learns from their failures and gets back on their feet, they’re still bound to eventually find success.
3) “Everyone is worth listening to”
Everyone is prejudiced in one way or another.
Even the humblest and most enlightened among us hold biases of some kind.
You might feel, for example, that poor people aren’t worth listening to for life advice, or wonder why you should even listen to someone who had five failed marriages.
But where most of us would not care to dispel these biases—and some would even strengthen theirs—people with true humility strive to understand their biases and find ways to minimize their sway over their judgment.
This is because they think that everyone has ideas worth hearing, and it doesn’t matter that someone is uneducated, poor, or different from what they’re used to.
4) “People are more than a handful of traits”
It’s terrifying to admit that we don’t know everything about the people around us and that it’s exhausting to try and personally know every single person we encounter.
So that’s why most of us sort people into labels—things like race, gender, age, wealth, and educational attainment.
But also things like their taste in music, how they laugh, and whether they’re an INFJ or an ENTP.
We pretend that we “know” what people are like based on what categories they belong to.
But people with true humility understand that this is all just a game of pretend, and so know better to assume that they know who people are based simply on a handful of labels and traits.
5) “Life isn’t a zero-sum game”
One of the reasons why some people struggle to be humble is that they’re afraid of being humble.
They think it can actually make them lose in life.
These are the people who believe that life is a zero-sum game, which means that for someone to succeed then another must lose.
And they believe by being humble, they’re opening themselves up to being bullied or abused or that they’ll start to manifest being “little”… and thus lose.
Truly humble people, on the other hand, understand that life isn’t a zero-sum game no matter how much it might look that way sometimes.
They can afford to yield, to give and let go, knowing that they’re not necessarily losing.
6) “Losing is not so bad”
The truly humble people are not afraid of losing.
So what if they failed to win a second date? Perhaps they really were simply incompatible… and not only that, they can learn how to be better with their next date too.
When faced with the prospect of losing, they think “Well, is it really that bad?”
Most of the time, the answer is no, where the answer is that at worst they might take a blow to their pride.
Or they might say “At least I tried…and I can try again!”
To a truly humble person, it’s better to lose and have a good time than it is to win and be miserable all throughout.
7) “Imperfections are the spice of life”
It takes a lot for people to accept their imperfections, and even those who have come to “accept” their imperfections are actually just tolerating them… or, at least, resigned to their presence.
But people with true humility understand imperfections more deeply and respect them.
They understand that what we perceive to be imperfections may not be universal, and what we consider flaws in ourselves might be seen by others as positive traits.
And even though these flaws sometimes do need to be controlled—one still needs to control their temper in public, for example—they don’t deny them.
These “flaws” are part of what makes them who they are.
8) “People can change”
Many of us subconsciously believe that people remain the same no matter what they do—even those who say they understand that people change.
That is why some people would keep treating people as if they’re the same person they were a few years ago despite clear evidence that they’ve changed.
People who are genuinely humble, on the other hand, believe that people can in fact change, sometimes in the matter of a few weeks.
A slob can become a neat freak. A couch potato can suddenly find his purpose in life and pursue it relentlessly.
So for that reason, they know better than to judge people based on their past…and even their present.
9) “There’s no shame in asking for help”
There’s this idea that people should be tough and able to stand on their own if they are to be respected.
You can see this idea in the image of the successful self-made businessman and the fiercely independent strong woman.
But the truth is that nobody ever succeeds entirely on their own!
Everyone who has ever climbed to the top got there because other people had helped in putting them there.
And yet these other people aren’t often credited for the roles they played, and the reason is simple—pride.
Those people who are truly humble and have broken free from pride, are not afraid of asking for help, and then giving credit where it is due after all is said and done.
10) “Success will speak for itself”
It’s a very natural urge to want to show off. How could we not resist wanting to impress others with the things we’ve spent so much time learning and mastering, after all?
But someone who is truly humble knows better than to show off.
Not only do they not want the attention, they find it unnecessary to brag because if something is really worth bragging about, then it will be too obvious.
Not only that, they don’t want those who are struggling to feel bad when they share their good fate.
And regarding work, as far as they’re concerned, it’s better to let other people shine rather than repeatedly stealing the spotlight.
After all, what DO they have to earn from showing off their skills and knowledge? If one were to look past pride and insecurity, showing off almost never leads to anything good… so they keep their cards close to their chest.
Humility is not something that’s easy to achieve, and in fact simply acknowledging humility in itself can be counter-productive.
After all, if one takes pride in the fact that they’re “humble”, can they be said to be truly humble?
Earning and holding on to humility is a continuous struggle, but it’s a trait worth having not only because it makes you look good, but it can actually make you see the world and treat people differently.
So if you find that you aren’t as humble as you wished you were, you can start by changing the way you think.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.