3 Reasons Why Humble Pie is Good for You

               Perhaps one of the most humbling experiences is the moment that you realize that technology is leaving you behind and you have to seek help from a 12-year old.

               This Christmas, we decided that getting a video game system was on the table.  I was enthralled after seeing a display for Xbox at the store showing a racing game with graphics that were so far beyond the Atari video games that I recalled as a kid.  The catch was, due to the cost, that it would be a shared Christmas gift for both my son and I.  So, being a good father, I put my list of tools and gadgets on the back burner and threw in my hand for a gaming system. 

               My son and I started looking in earnest at the best system and, in the end, decided on a PlayStation 3 and put the games we wanted on the wish list for Christmas morning.  Santa was good to us and we did get the PS3, along with several games. 

               My son and I setup the system and began playing, starting with a shooting / soldier game.  Almost immediately, I realized that I was in huge trouble.  While I was struggling to figure out how to turn around or look up, relatively simple things in real life, my son’s hours of playing with his friends made him an expert.  Even handicapping himself with every disadvantage under the sun, he could beat me without even breaking a virtual sweat. 

               I realized that playing with him was hopeless for me, and not at all challenging for him.  So we switched to the driving game that I had wanted.  That was not much better.  It was closer, but still, I could not beat him at any race.  Even my daughter joined in and beat us both routinely.

               Back in the real world, I have been a police firearms and a police driving instructor.  Being beat at games based on both skills was frustrating and somewhat humbling as my son made fun of my rather poor talents (it was rather amusing as well, especially for him).  It was also humbling trying to learn new skills like how to maneuver around a video game, especially ones that are very popular with so many people that I know. 

               The experience got me thinking about what life lessons could be learned.  After reflecting on it, I decided that being humble (or maybe better to say humiliated) is not such a bad thing and actually can be quite helpful.

               So get out your knife and fork and get ready for a dose of humble pie – and trust me it is not so bad.  Why?

1.      Humility keeps you learning.  There is the old expression that necessity is the mother of invention.  Sometimes when things get tough, the tough really do get going.  Realizing that you are hopeless or pathetic is the first step towards making some changes and improving the situation.  In my case, I will just have to sacrifice some of my valuable free time to improve my video game playing skills.

2.     A dose of humble pie keeps you cautious.  When you realize that you are vulnerable and have weaknesses, you can be wary of those shortcoming and work around them.  It also forces you to be conscious of potential threats, such as a competitor who might do things better (or convince a customer that they do).  When you are aware of threats and pitfalls, you can take steps to avoid them.  Another advantage is that when you realize your weak areas, you can build teams at work to bring in people who do better than you do in that area.  I’ve heard a number of leaders say that they are not that smart, but they make a point of surrounding themselves with people that are in order to be successful.

3.     It makes you a better person.  Face it – no one likes an arrogant SOB.  A dose of humility keeps you motivated to help others develop professionally.  Someone without any humility might get that attitude that they became successful all on their own, without any help from anyone else.  Maintaining that touch of humility keeps you in touch with reality and all the people in your life that influenced and mentored you to success.  And it helps you laugh at yourself when you do mess up (and we all do).

               Stay humble and keep moving forward.  And if you want to find me, I’ll be trying to figure out those video games.


Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.    To learn more visit http://www.businesskarate.com/profile.html. 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com. 

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Eric. I think our kids enjoy schooling us. Good for them, good for us. Have a happy and prosperous new year!