Christensen on Humility

^z 4th August 2023 at 7:25am

In the Harvard Business Review (July 2010 issue) Clayton M. Christensen has an essay titled "How Will You Measure Your Life?" It's an address given to the graduating class of business school students. Among the virtues that Christensen mentions is humility:

It's crucial to take a sense of humility into the world. By the time you make it to a top graduate school, almost all your learning has come from people who are smarter and more experienced than you: parents, teachers, bosses. But once you've finished at Harvard Business School or any other top academic institution, the vast majority of people you'll interact with on a day-to-day basis may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too. When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.

(cf. BluffingVersusHumility (1999-04-22), ...) - ^z - 2010-09-03