Early Stage Writing: ‘The Humble Leader’ #WorkingOutLoud

I’m making good progress with an illustrated essay on humility: it’s a reflective piece on the nature of humility, and how ‘the humble leader’ may be what we need in the Social Age. The essay will probably run to around 2.5k words, and i’m using a different writing style to normal: i’m drafting sections, then repeatedly reworking, so more akin to writing a poem, than straight text (in my day to day blog writing, i never redraft… sorry…). The two parts of the essay that i’m sharing today are just first draft, so don’t expect anything too clever. I’m also sharing the first illustration: i am considering just simple pen and ink line drawing, possibly a skyline that will run across the bottom of each page, although that is just one of a number of ideas that i’m playing with.

Humility skyline

Part 5: Homeless

When i walk past someone begging in the street, i can imagine an imposed humility: the roles that one can play in this tenuous situation are limited. Humble and poor, or possibly cheeky and chirpy. Aggressive may be an option, but with higher consequence. That correlation between poverty and humility is hard to escape: for the beggar, humility may be imposed, whilst for the rich, it could be a luxury that we can choose to afford. I’m not sure how comfortable that makes me, or, perhaps more importantly, what i should do with that discomfort.

Part 6: Pride

We may feel pride in our own achievements, or those of others. Is pride a counterpoint to humility? Is it ok to be proud as a measurement of one’s actions, but still humble in word and deed? Is humility internal, or worn as a measure on one’s sleeve?

I find pride in the achievements of others, and am not alone in this: when i see my friends succeed, when i see their strength and humility, it makes me proud, so pride itself surely does not detract from humility? Or, perhaps, it does so when one feels it oneself? A humble man may be proud of others, but to be prideful may be erodes that trait?

I’m not sure: when i think of my friends, i can think of people who are both humble, and proud. It’s easier to see this in others. Perhaps it’s a matter of degree, or a matter of internalisation, versus external projects. One can feel quiet pride, with humility, but one cannot be boastful: an over exertion of pride?

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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8 Responses to Early Stage Writing: ‘The Humble Leader’ #WorkingOutLoud

  1. Liz Twelves says:

    Some thoughts. Its possible to be humble and proud, and in both cases it is my awareness that generates those ways of being sometimes because I consider it the right thing to do – for others and for myself. I wonder if gender plays a role in this? As a woman, I hear much nervousness and doubt about claiming achievement and a preference to be seen to have humility.

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