e-MDs Life Tip #16: Arrogance and Self-Awareness Bad Combo

e-MDs life tip

e-MDs Life Tip #16

Over the years I have learned that there are some things that work really well together. Peanut butter and jelly makes a really good sandwich and so does a hamburger with lettuce and tomato. However, I do not think that putting lettuce and tomato on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would taste very good. You see, there are some things that work well together and some that do not.


It has been my experience that when I meet someone who is actually aware of the effect that their personality style and behavior has on others, they seem to also be a humble and insightful person. However, when I meet an arrogant person who is “full of themselves”, I have observed that they lack the skill to accurately assess their own behavior and abilities. Arrogance just does not allow a person the ability to be very insightful regarding his or her own behavior. It is like the old Chinese proverb states, “The one who would be wise must first be humble.”


Everyone you meet knows at least one thing that you do not know. Therefore, everyone can instantly become your teacher. Even though you may be the most skilled person in a particular area, I can assure you that there are many areas about life in which you know very little. It is true of all of us!


Zig Ziglar once got his car stuck in the mud in Texas and had to call a tow truck to come pull it out. When the driver arrived, Zig noticed that he was just a teenager. He thought to himself, “I don’t know if this kid possesses the necessary skill to pull my car out of this mud or not.” The young man asked Zig for his car keys. Zig assured the young boy that he had already tried to drive the vehicle out of the mud and that would not work! The young boy jumped in the front seat, turned the car on and “rocked” it back and forth a couple of times. Then he drove it right out of the mud! He had done it with such ease that the young man was embarrassed for Zig. In fact, the teenager began to make excuses for him by saying, “Sir, sometimes I just get lucky. I won’t even charge you for this.”


Zig said it was amazing to him to think that he is an expert in the area of leadership training and motivational speaking, known around the world, yet he knows very little about getting a car out of a mud hole. That teenage boy knew very little about motivational speaking but he knew everything about humility, kindness – and getting cars out of the “muck” in Texas!


I believe it is a fact of life that when a person demonstrates a spirit of humility and is not arrogant, they instantly become open to new ideas and insights. They begin to see things they would have otherwise missed. On the other hand, when a person has a “know-it-all” attitude, the possibilities for new insights and wisdom immediately evaporate. You cannot expect to have good insight and self-awareness if you are an arrogant person. The two just do not make a very good “sandwich” together.


I have been incredibly blessed in my lifetime. I have had the opportunity to graduate from five different colleges and universities. I have been around the world many times. I have spoken and done training on 6 different continents. And, I have a World Series ring! Yet, rather than being arrogant about how much I know, I am truly humbled by how much there is to know and how little of that vast body of knowledge I actually possess. It is like a quote I once heard, “He who is all wrapped up in himself has a mighty small package!” I am a life-long learner. That is a much better position to take than being a “know-it-all.”


Seek to raise your awareness of your own behaviors and the abilities of others around you this week. Be open to learn from them things that perhaps you know very little about. It will be an encouragement to them and a blessing to you.


Tip: Arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand-in-hand.


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