Personal traits

I had lunch with someone last week who truly personified a quality that I admire – humbleness.

I was surprised by this, not only because most people simply aren’t very humble, but also because despite being young (I’m not exactly sure his age, but it was likely 24 or 25) he had actually accomplished quite a bit – founding a finance firm, raising some capital and finagling his way into a handful of really interesting late stage deals (of course his perspective was that he really hadn’t done anything yet . . . but that was just him being humble).

When I was in my mid 20’s I don’t recall being particularly humble (actually, I recall being pretty pleased with myself). I really regret this. When I think back, with all of the perspective the last 10 years have brought me, it’s amazing how naïve I was (and how loathe I was to admit it). I hope these days I have a little more balanced perspective of myself.

I meet people all the time that have it all figured out – it was refreshing last week to spend time with someone who is so self-aware.

  • That’s awesome. I’m also always impressed when I run into entrepreneurs that have enough peace and perspective to be humble and see the bigger picture. In many ways, the cultural conditions around entrepreneurship may breed overextended confidence. Repeated failure, high risk, family and friends that think you’re crazy, etc.

  • Describing someone as ‘self-aware’ is, in my book, the best compliment to a person in this age of continuous partial attention. Self-awareness requires reflection, which needs alone time, which can sometimes be a challenge with continuous activity, semblance of activity, noise and the imperative to network, network, network.
    PS: Have begun writing my other blog on technology, business, politics and work and blog-rolled yours. Thanks.

  • Skip Oberon

    In those memorable words, “A consistent humility is the horse whisperer of little friends.” There is really no way to underestimate the value of being able to go into a situation and know what you’re going to do and know how you’re going to do it, but be a fly on the wall and not tell anyone at all that you know that you are the freaking king of the universe and instead make them think that you’re a total dope who doesn’t know his elbow from a horse’s mouth. And then, when they’re lulled into a false sense of security about what you are and what you’re about and why you are the way that they think you are, you bring out a metaphorical sledgehammer and pound them into tiny prismatic globules of cellular material.