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Being Humble, what’s in it for me?

February 8, 2014

You never know where you will get a great life lesson.

Hopefully you get them from your parent(s) on a daily basis.  Some of them about the good things in life.  Others are about the bad. Either way you learn what to look out for.

At age 40, long after I had moved on from the daily lessons of my mom and dad and putting them to use to become the  person I grew to be I gained a wonderful lesson from my Sensei whom I was studying Tai  Chi under.

I was feeling pretty good about my practice and was proud to know I was the student of a 10th degree Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster, although I really had no true idea what that meant in the scope of my studies at the time.

On my first visit to his home one day I was surprised at the sparseness of his belongings.  The home was very tidy, with a good hint of Asian influence, A few pieces of wall art, some knickknacks and a so on that shown his involvement.

However I saw nothing of his career as a participant in competitions, although he was famous for being a great competitor and very difficult to beat.

While I was there he needed to get me something from his bedroom/office and I followed him in.  I was amazed at what I saw.

The walls were filled with awards and belts; the shelves packed with trophies and well, to be short, glorification of his accomplishments at every turn.

I asked him,  Sensei Tom,  why are none of these on display for your guests to see.  You have them hidden away, and most are covered in dust.  He looked at me with a sincere soft smile and said “why would I want to have them seen by anyone?”.   I said, because they are a wonderful tribute to who you are and what you have done.

He gave a slight chuckle and replied “Stan,  what you see in this room is meaningless. All they show is that at a certain small point in time I was a fraction faster,  or  cleaner in pose than another human being.  And that is all it means.  It has nothing to do with who I am.”

I have taken that to heart in the last 17 years, especially now as a teacher.  I teach, however I also learn.  And in the end I want to be able to  say I learned more from others than I was ever able to teach.

Humility, it is a wonderful yet so hard a goal to aspire to.

One Comment
  1. It is always interesting how a single comment can carry a virtue over a period of 17 years.


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