Sunday, December 21, 2008

Learning and Humility

I’m taken with this notion: as we get older, continuing to learn is an expression of humility. There are many implications of this perspective for our personal and professional lives. Moreover, there’s a real challenge here—similar to what we discussed regarding transcendence.

I’m writing a longer article on this notion this week and would love to get your thoughts on the idea in particular and any implications you see. You can either post here or email me directly at



Mary said...


I agree with your premise and I'd like to elaborate just a little. The opposite of humility is arrogance. And arrogance is what has destroyed corporations, empires, governments and careers.

A dear friend of mine, Thomas Leonard, once said that the opposite of arrogance was curiosity. Not being arrogant meant you were in a constant state of inquiry. As professional coaches, we used to talk for hours about how important curiosity was to maintaining total health. In fact, Thomas established "Navigates via curiosity" as one of his's 15 Coaching Proficiencies required for coaches to serve their clients well.

As time has passed, I think everyone's biggest challenge is how do we help our curiosity thrive in the face of the gazillion pieces of information that are thrown at us every day? At what point does this information overload begin to numb our desire to learn? What's the optimal rate, delivery method and depth of information that spurs curiosity and learning? Is it a function of age, the brain getting "too full", inadequate mental organizing systems, or?

Well, 'nuf for now. Food for thought....

Mark David Milliron said...

Mary, great comment. Love your take on learning and humility -- and couldn't agree more. Adding the arrogance angle helps flesh out a few things I'm thinking about right now. Thanks!! Mark