Growing up under parents who made sure I and my younger ones learnt to cook, clean and handle house chores has really given me a sense of confidence and positive mindset towards life and its challenges. It has also helped me handle all manner of physical jobs from after high school and college. I had always figured out and successfully taken care of any physical challenge or chores as I navigated different phases and places in life. However, all that began to be challenged when I relocated to a ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself) Society where I currently live. My ignorance in carpentry, electrical and other handy works became a concern. This is because we always hired the carpenter and electrician to handle all of such repairs when I was growing up. Hence those skills eluded me.
Knowing the limits of your own knowledge and having attitude of open-mindedness and humility towards learning will help you move toward the best solutions to life’s challenging obstacles.
So I began to make attempts to cover this gap in my ‘DIY’ skills by volunteering in events where I get to serve and learn. One of such recent events was over the weekend in our local church assembly. I showed up early and was assigned the task of repainting the traffic directional arrows in the parking lot.
I started spraying but began struggling with the cans as quickly as I started. The cans were not spraying well. It was slow and cloggy. I felt the nozzle was faulty and hurriedly grabbed another one but had the same problem. I went on working but was spending tedious time on one arrow. I knew I might not make it through all of the already taped arrows if I don’t find a solution to the ‘nozzle issue’ with the cans.
Humility has to do with understanding that you don’t know everything, that there is more to learn.
Just when I finished the third arrow, a much older man who was passing by asked ‘is everything okay?’ ‘Not really. I think the cans have nozzle problems” I responded. He stopped asked me to shake the can I was holding. Shaking the can I answered ‘I have been shaking and spraying but it seems not to be working.’ He smiled and said ‘You need to keep shaking until the ball rattles inside’. I kept shaking the can and heard the ball rattle. ‘Now spray’ he directed. I obeyed and witnessed a drastic change. The nozzle was now spraying longer and wider and I got through all the arrows faster. I would have struggled so much with my task if I had pretended and lied to him that I was fine even when I needed help.
“Pride is concerned about who’s right. Humility is concerned about what’s right.” John Maxwell.
Humility is a shared journey. Do not be ashamed to ask for or accept help from people who live humbly in success. They exist to help you know and get better, and also overcome the myths and fears of life. Once a while, have someone teach you something they do well that you don’t.
Humility teaches you not to use your knowledge or expertise as a way to get advantage over others and that, in discussions with others, you are respectful, listening closely to what the other has to say in order to learn something. There is a lot to learn from the school of humility.
The Bible, in 1 Peter 5:5-6 (NLT), says “And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”