It used to be true for almost everybody in the past that humility is a sure way to success but today, a whole lot of us believe that humility will actually get us nowhere. It is erroneously thought that it is only in the movies that being a nice guy is synonymous to achieving success and getting rewards. Humility is now assumed to be only useful in keeping one at the bottom of the success ladder which explains why almost everyone embraces cutting corners and taking advantage of every opportunity even to the detriment of friends and colleagues. This is considered being brilliant and sharp. The humble people are seen as the ones that get the extra loads of work dumped on them because they are intelligent and hard working. The humble ones are seen as the ones taken advantage of at every opportunity and who work the long late hours while the self proclaimed sharp guys have swell times, smile to the bank and are considered successful. I wonder how many of us have at one time or the other been influenced by such gross thoughts or have the slightest disposition to above inclinations.
I want to state unequivocally that considering ourselves successful has everything to do with humility. We need to first of all understand that humility is far from being stupid, and then come to the recognition that humility has to do with realizing our greatest potentials. This can be seen in the lives of some Nollywood superstars that live in the light of the truth that they are celebrities because people celebrate them; not because it is their rights. When we manifest humility in the light of the above, and also knowing that it is morally imperative not to claim it as ours but as a gift from God, we would readily share and reap the enormous benefits of being humble.
It is only the humble man that can be courageous enough to confront his inner self and ask pertinent questions as to the means through which he wants to achieve success or how he measures it. This is so because, humility is not just a means through which true success is achieved, it stays as an integral part of the success experience.
There is no gainsaying the fact that we often measure our successes based on the amount of wealth we are able to acquire, our status in the society and finally the level of our sensual pleasure. Putting these three criteria into consideration, I would now ask each and every one of us, “How do you measure your success and how do you know that you have achieved true success?”
Can we readily and without reservations stand tall and declare that the possession of enormous wealth brings true success? Have we not at one point or the other, in resignation to vicissitudes of life say that "everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind”? How often have we come to the sad realization that having achieved a goal we have worked so hard for years to accomplish did not bring us the happiness we anticipated? It would rather set us on a new quest with the promise of a new kind of happiness that comes from true success.
Our haughtiness in the face of societal stratification has become the only beacon of light to a whole lot of us while a lot of others are ready to sacrifice all they have on the alter of vanity just to be considered high up in the society. For them, it is a measure of success. But i tell you, without humility, all our high social status comes to naught in the face of living progressively in peace and harmony with one another. It is only living in the attitude of humility that we can be teachable, moldable, and willing to change for the greater good of our individual selves in particular and our nation in general.
For some, true success comes from seeking and believing that they are getting all the pleasures that life has got to offer as the ultimate goal. But if you should ask our dear King Solomon, who "had it all," he would tell you "I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity" (Ecclesiastes 2:1). Today, if you do not engage in seeking for the pleasures of sexual licentiousness, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and every imaginable form of stimulation, you are considered a “Jew” man by your peers. We boast on the number of girls we have been able to take to bed but I tell you, if sexual pleasure brings true success, prostitutes and gigolos would be the happiest people on earth. Yet, their lives like that of all those who indulge excessively in the pleasures of life with a view to achieving true success, end up a shambles.
It is only true success that can give true happiness and peace and if you find out that despite your efforts to control every aspect of your life, you are not finding that happiness and peace you seek, the answer can be found in learning humility which alone can take you to heights of success you never imagined. This is so because humility brings the right balance and focus into our lives; it destroys our walls of arrogance and brings us closer to God and our fellow human beings, ultimately turning our thoughts around from thinking that we can handle things without God, or feeling unworthy to walk with Him.
For most people, living in a culture that worships at the altar of money has made it difficult to view success with God at the center rather their financial gains define their level of success. We have now embraced the mortal wisdom is that being in total control of every aspect of our lives spells success to find success. And like I said earlier, this type of success will persistently refuse to give the satisfaction that comes from true success which can only be achieved through humility. Bitterness and dissatisfaction, greed and sadness, war and betrayal are only but a few of what we will continually reap if we as long as we define success from our faulty, self-centered, worldly views.
It can seem counter intuitive in modern Western culture to believe that by yielding to God, we can actually achieve greater success. The more control we give Him, the more He rewards us. If we listen to Him, He will show us that the only way to achieve this type of success is through humility. Humility is somewhat difficult to learn and to define, but when we see it in someone else’s life, we know it instantly. They live for the Lord and not for themselves.
Finally, it may sound out of place for so many that the only way we can find true success is through humility and also learning, no matter how difficult it seems that humility yields us to God who in turn rewards us for the control we give him over our lives. And on the strength of that, we will discover that the greater our humility, the greater our achievements in our areas of endeavour.