What is humility? Does humility have power? Can we rule with humility? Lao Zi explains in DaoDeJing 72DaoDeJing Chapter 72 Text & Translation
The people are not afraid of the power and hence greater power will come.
(The people are not afraid of the ruling power that abused them and hence they raise up with greater power to overthrow their ruler.)
Never squeeze their living space [that they can't find a place to stay].
Never obstruct their livelihood [that they may not be fed-up with living].
Because we don't frustrate them and hence they don't frustrate us.
This is why the sage is self-aware (know himself well) and not proud(could only see himself).
He loves himself but not self-glorify.
Hence, he put away that [pride] and hold on to this[humility].
Action and Greater Reaction
According to Newton's third law, for every action force there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction force. That's applicable to physical objects. For human beings, the law needs to be restated as "for every action against a man, there will be a greater reaction from him". We want to revenge with greater impunity. That is what Lao Zi tells us in here. It works both ways, whether good or bad. So if we don't want complaints, we should make sure we treat people well and give them no cause for any complaints. We can treat people well so that they will in turn treats us well, though strangely, may not be more though we are told to always give more in returns when we receive a gift.
The laws of sowing and reaping is a universal law. You get more in the reaping than what you have sowed. You can count the seeds in an apple but you can never count the apples from the seeds. So we have to watch out of what we sow.
The Best Advice for a Good and Successful Life is "Always be Humble"
With humility, you always respect people and you don't abuse them. You don't throw your weight around and bully others. Lao Zi describes for us how we can have humility.
1. Self-Aware vs Self-Recognition/narcissism
Self-aware is about knowing one's abilities, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and biases. Because we are aware of our abilities, we can choose the jobs that fit us best. Because we are aware of our weaknesses and biases, we are ever ready to learn and we value the views of others. Humility is actually knowing and accepting the realities. Self-aware is not self-condemnation. It is accepting the realities and making the improvements. If there is a need for your abilities, you need to stand up to serve. When you have the abilities and said you don't have is not humility but lying, lazy and negligence of our duty. That is false humility.
2. Love of Self vs Love of Honor & Glory
Love of self is not selfishness but rather knowing and taking good care of oneself, making sure that we are sound in mind and body and continue to develop ourselves. We do because it is good for us and not because it will bring us honor or glory. We don't do it to get praises from others. So when a humble person accomplished a key mission, he will quietly withdraw and will not stay to fight for credits and recognitions. The accomplishment is the rewards and not the glory that goes with the accomplishment. That's is true humility in action.
True humility is knowing our strengths but shows not and yet when needed come out to serve and withdraw when the mission is accomplished.
Are you humble?
- Do you always fight for your rights to be treated according to your position/rank?
- Are you aware of your abilities/strengths, weaknesses/limitations, and prejudices and biases?
- Are you open-minded to be taught? Do you seek and appreciate the views of others? Do you look down on people?
- Do you fight for recognitions and glory for the work you have done?
- Are you unhappy because others did not notice you?
For another good explanation on humility see Humility is Forceful too #15 謙 Humility.
Lim Liat (c) 3 Nov 2016