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Philosophy

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One of the things that has always boggled me is whether to remain humble or to let people know that you are better than them. Now to some, the answer may be obvious, or you already have your mind made up already regarding the topic, however, I have always found nuance in both spectrums.

When growing up people will tell you to be respectful, nice, and considerate of others, however, is it due to other people’s insecurities? Our parents, teachers, and friends would not necessary want us to be making trouble by offending other people or seen being disrespectful because in a way our actions will affect their¬†social standing.

Is it moreso a way for the people around you to control who you are and make you conform to their standards? But why is it considered wrong to feel you are better than other people because you possess a talent, a skill that other people don’t have?

While someone who is truly confident in his or her abilities does not have to trumpet how great they are at whatever it is they are good at, how should you balance between wanting to be recognized and known for your skills and talents vs someone is humble and modest.

In a room full of strangers or perhaps even with some of our quiet friends, some of them may have great accomplishments that you and I do not know about. If they were to mention it or be boastful about it, wouldn’t we feel a little sense of respect and awe, assuming the accomplishments/skills are grand?

In the book, Ego is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday, it actually talks about this dilemma. It states that in order to become a true master of a specific craft, you have to let go of the need to be recognized and praised.

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Ego Is the Enemy
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Ego Is the Enemy
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But, isn’t the need to be recognized and praised exactly the reasons why most of us do the things we do? We are social creatures and praise/attention in a way encourages us to try harder to become even greater at what we do.

What if the people who tell you to be humble and respectful are the ones with low self-esteem? Or what if the belief that we must be humble and modest is actually due to low self-esteem within ourselves?

A confident person would have no trouble commanding attention and respect; while some may perceive it as arrogance and cockiness, what if it’s a reflection of their own self-worth to pass such judgments? Someone with a healthy self-esteem won’t be threatened or feel less about themselves because you happen to be a good singer, dancer, athlete, etc.

On a bigger note, what if you are objectively smarter, hard-working, and overall just better than someone, what is the fine line between self-assured sense of superiority vs inferiority complex.

Because in a way, some people like to believe they are better than other people in order to make up for their deficiencies, but in some cases, that’s not necessarily true.

I don’t personally think there is anything wrong with Elon Musk stating that he is better than 99.99% of the world overall. Why? Because he revolutionized the automobile industry, and is one of the most brilliant minds of the 21st century, so I can clearly accept that he is better than me in general, perhaps not in everything, but overall as a whole, Elon Musk is more successful, acclaimed, and wealthier than anyone who is reading this post.

Now taking that premise of “overall” aspect of someone being better than other people, is it such a bad thing to feel that you are overall better than some people you might come across?

Of course it would be unwise to rub it in their faces, but maybe we are putting a false sense of humbleness and modesty because that is what we have been trained to do from a young age.

If you have always downplayed yourself or used self-depreciation to fit in with others, maybe it’s time to try something new and find new friends who don’t feel threatened by your accomplishments and skills. Because if you are good at something and overall better than most people, why hold yourself back? Something to think about.