The value of humility in modern society

Came across this question in class which stumps a lot of my students in answering this… It seems so contradictory right… to be humble in our modern day?

Ok let’s see what are some characteristics of our modern society first. We are driven by our pursuit of material goals, increasingly status conscious and technologically driven. So where does the value of humility fit in?

1) Humility allows us to lower ourselves and to examine our shortcomings. This virtue is especially important when it comes to dealing with business and in reflection to improve ourselves. In this modern world where it is very competitive, it is advisable for us to always examine our business but it should not hit the point of analysis paralysis.

2) We should dare to show and flaunt our wealth, status or even ability to others in order to stand out in this competitive world, otherwise how would people even recognize and take notice of us? If we do desire social status or even respect in society, the easiest and fastest way is to of course demonstrate our signs of success and flaunt wealth. Many have turned to that on social media seen from posts from #richkidsofinstagram etc. Besides such frivolous way of gaining respect, a more important reason would be for marketing needs. Marketing needs could refer to “selling” ourselves to companies in order to get that coveted job or to sell products and services to encourage consumers to purchase. One would need to “scream” in order to stand out for others to even take notice of us. Humility definitely has no value and place.

3) Humility could be expected from leaders as they are placed in a position to serve others and to demonstrate empathy. An arrogrant leader would be a definite turn off to most people as we definitely would not want our leaders to come from a moral high ground or to even impose their power, status and influence on us. Examples of such leaders would be Mother Theresa, Ghandi just to name a few. But we should take note that humility could also backfire, especially if one presents oneself to be too meek, it could be a sign of weakness and a lack of confidence. This could bring others to exploit the situation.

To what extent is humility really relevant in our modern society? It would be dependent on the context of the societies that we are in and what is the purpose we are utilising it for 🙂



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