The recent 75th anniversary of VE Day and the associated celebrations had me thinking about the virtue of humility. It’s a word you don’t hear that often but it was a trait that became synonymous with Britain’s “Greatest Generation.” It is probably the most underrated and misunderstood of all the virtues. Do we even know what it is or how to express it? Perhaps this one extraordinary day in history has reminded us of the importance of humility as a human quality.

It seems with the onset of the global Coronavirus pandemic and the seismic shift in our way of life, our value systems have become more closely scrutinised. Somewhere and somehow since the end of the Second World War we lost our way and along with it our humility. Why is it that we need war, destruction, disease and death to remind us how to be humble, compassionate and gracious?

For humility itself, there is a great deal of work to be done from a PR perspective but what recent events have taught us is that the world is ready for a new type of message and humility is very much at its core.

Inspired by VE 75, I’ve compiled a list of 75 reasons why we need to bring humility back and why it’s good for business.

  1. No one wants to be seen as arrogant, even if they are.
  2. Humility invites real conversations.
  3. The world doesn’t owe you anything and those that realise that are a lot happier and healthier.
  4. Humility teaches us to embrace our defects.
  5. Ego gets attention but humility gets results.
  6. Humility fosters collaboration and community building. No one succeeds alone.
  7. People are more likely to invest in you if that investment is reciprocated.
  8. You can earn respect through humility without saying a word.
  9. Recognising that everyone else’s needs are just as important as your own makes you less of an asshole.
  10. Humility is a powerful and important attribute of growth.
  11. In a culture obsessed with self-promotion, it’s important to realise that you don’t have to be desired to be admired.
  12. Humility teaches us to be gracious in defeat. Losing one battle is not indicative of losing the war, plus it really unsettles the opposition.
  13. It’s refreshing to look beyond yourself on occasion. Putting a smile on someone else’s face often brings far more joy.
  14. Apologising properly to someone is not a sign of weakness. We should hold ourselves accountable for how we treat others.
  15. Humility is nature’s way of keeping you in check. It’s important to remember how insignificant your existence really is.
  16. If we are humble then it shows we care. People who express humility are more trustworthy.
  17. Humility gives rise to respect for diverse views.
  18. Accepting that everyone everywhere f*cks up and is f*cked up will make your navigation through life that much easier.
  19. Making a difference is better than making headlines
  20. How people experience you and how you exist in people’s minds is an essential part of your personal branding. Own that shit.
  21. Being humble without forgetting your self-worth and selling yourself short is a sign of confidence without conceit.
  22. Humility teaches you to stop wanting the 6-figure salary, 43 million Instagram followers and the body of a model from a perfume ad.
  23. It’s a good reminder that your own struggles don’t make you better or more worthy than anyone else.
  24. Real humility is in drastic short supply so if you really want to stand out…
  25. The appreciation that social, emotional and intellectual wealth are far greater than all other kinds is really refreshing.
  26. Gandhi and Mother Theresa are examples of what leaders with humility can accomplish.
  27. It’s important to have the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable occasionally. A little bit of vulnerability is really sexy.
  28. Having greater empathy and a willingness to compromise leads to better relationships.
  29. By embracing humility as a virtue, you’ll never get accused of being self-centred, egotistical, narcissistic or disrespectful which is always a bonus.
  30. Humility gives people hope. A simple message of appreciation or praise can go a long way.
  31. It helps us to prioritise the things in our lives that really are important.
  32. It teaches us to value other people’s time just as much as our own.
  33. Humility is learning that you are not entitled to anything you haven’t worked for.
  34. Sometimes, backing down on that argument or discussion, even when you know you’re right is more rewarding than winning.
  35. Humility can be taught. It’s a skill that can be acquired which means that even if you were born an asshole, you don’t have to be one all of your life.
  36. Understanding and appreciating that everything and everyone excels at different times is really useful.
  37. Humility breaks down prejudicial barriers through having an open mind.
  38. It teaches us to take more notice and express more gratitude for the world’s natural beauty and wonder.
  39. It’s really liberating when we can be more forgiving of others, let go of grudges and give others the benefit of the doubt.
  40. Humility is an attraction magnet.
  41. It helps you handle change and the unknown with less anxiety.
  42. Those who overtly express humility in the workplace make better leaders.
  43. Constantly reminding people how awesome you are will eventually put them off. Be even more awesome by getting other people to rave about you instead.
  44. “Every person you meet knows something you don’t. Learn from them.” (H Jackson-Brown Jr.)
  45. We are all human and therefore all flawed. Embracing that fallibility and accepting your limitations makes you more authentic.
  46. Humility is grounding and helps you to be the best version of yourself. It’s comforting going to bed at night knowing you’ve not made someone’s life a misery.
  47. It’s not about being passive for other people’s comfort or pandering to other’s needs. It’s about being a little bit less selfish and a little more mature.
  48. Humility is healthy. It reflects the disposition of your heart.
  49. It helps us to understand that we don’t need to be so serious in life. Maintaining a healthy sense of humour is good for longevity. We must all learn to laugh at ourselves.
  50. There’s tremendous strength in humility and it can play an important role in the recovery process from mental and emotional trauma.
  51. By valuing, appreciating and requesting the help of others we become more selfless and less critical.
  52. Humility in the workplace creates a culture of continuous improvement.
  53. How alluring is it when someone does something so unbelievably awesome and yet is so humble about it?
  54. Humility works hand in hand with gratitude and promotes an inner peace and wellbeing.
  55. It’s good practice to remember and appreciate that not everything is about you. The earth literally revolves around that big yellow thing in the sky.
  56. Something magical happens when we expect less and appreciate more.
  57. Humility is persuasive. Kind-hearted people are more believable.
  58. You don’t have to be a hero or find God to show humility. It’s basically about being a decent human being. We should all be striving for that.
  59. When we possess humility, those nagging frustrations and small losses have less of an impact.
  60. “Humility is not thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less.” (CS Lewis.)
  61. Instead of leaving people with a feeling of your greatness, try leaving them with a feeling of their greatness. It feels good.
  62. Humility is not necessarily something you do but more something you are. It’s a sign of great strength of character.
  63. It’s time to stop measuring ourselves on the number of likes or followers we have. That shit’s not real. What’s real is human connections, providing value and making a difference.
  64. Showing humility will help you make better decisions.
  65. Openly celebrating the achievements of others in the workplace boosts confidence and self-esteem and helps to foster a culture where everyone is valued.
  66. Being passionately curious, seeking knowledge and being a perpetual learner broadens the mind and makes you more appreciative of different points of view.
  67. A supercilious attitude only serves to alienate others. “The humble man makes room for progress whereas the proud man thinks he is already there.” (Ed Parker.)
  68. Humility teaches us that success is relative and encourages us to be less judgmental of others.
  69. We don’t need to constantly seek approval or acknowledgement from others. Possessing humility means that you have a well developed sense of self-acceptance and will never have to beg others for attention.
  70. When you go into something with an unbiased mind, great things happen. Most other people are actually quite interesting and have just as much to offer the world as you do.
  71. People don’t feel threatened by someone who comes across as unassuming so you can gain advantage by stealth.
  72. Humility allows you to accept challenges without the fear of failure. When those failures come, you’ll be more inclined to use what you’ve learned to do it better next time.
  73. Toning down your own pride does not make you a doormat. Humility is a gentle strength that lies at the core of your greatness.
  74. Humility is a quality that lets others see your humanity. This doesn’t mean there’s a lack of drive when it comes to achieving goals and ambitions. It actually means you’ll get there quicker through inviting trust and respect.
  75. If you want to differentiate in business then put humility at its core. It’s the most underrated quality on the market.

If you’ve ever had a moment where you’ve been so overwhelmed by the beauty of nature that you’ve been moved to tears because you’ve realised how tiny and humbling your cosmically insignificant existence really is…that’s humility.

Justin Timberlake brought sexy back in 2006 and now I’m making the case for bringing humility back. Them other f*ckers won’t know how to act.

Work hard, stay humble.