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What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left. — Oscar Levant
I tell my kids and I tell proteges, always have humility when you create and grace when you succeed, because it’s not about you. You are a terminal for a higher power. As soon as you accept that, you can do it forever. — Quincy Jones
Recently, I read that humility and high-level politics are incompatible; after all, a person in politics needs to have an inflated ego to believe he or she can win political office at the highest levels. But I found this opinion very unsatisfying, whether or not it’s true.
For example, I look at Joe Biden, and I’m pretty sure you can’t be a humble narcissist, an oxymoron at best. There are also many politicians who don’t impress me with their humility; perhaps, if you are going to essentially be the leader of the free world, relying on humility may not be the best tactic. Some people would probably say humility is a liability, because powering ahead at all costs is the only way to be successful.
People make the mistake of believing that humility means being insecure or non-assertive. That’s simply not true. On a personal level, some of the finest people I know practice humility; that doesn’t mean that they are humble in every area of their lives, but it does mean that they realize that even if they are knowledgeable and wise, they know they are fallible and they need to be willing to recognize their own arrogance and ask themselves if they are certain of their opinions or if the positions they are holding are flawed.
Who are the rare politicians who practice humility? Joe Lieberman comes to mind. Tom Cotton is another one. How about Chuck Grassley? I’d even put Jim Jordan on the list.
Are there politicians to whom you would ascribe humility?
In a world rampant with narcissism, especially in politics, is there any room for humility?
What do you think about humility and politics?Published in