Monday, November 19, 2012

Remember to be Humble: You’re Not All That and a Bag of Chips

Achievement is good. Meeting goals feeds our ego and boosts our self-image. Success gives us the confidence to keep moving forward even when times are tough.

But when we think we’ve finally arrived, we’re actually going backwards at a frightening rate.

A boastful comment on someone’s recent blog post reminded me of an old but true saying - “Pride comes before a fall.

Humility is a virtue. It is remembering that we didn’t get here on our own. It’s not boasting or bragging. It’s the willingness to help others achieve their dreams. It’s acknowledging that sometimes we are wrong. It’s the ability to put the spotlight on others.

As my husband likes to say, it’s admitting we are not all that and a bag of chips.

Am I the best speaker in the world? Far from it. Am I a great writer? I already know I’m not. Do I know everything about publishing and promoting? Not a chance!

But what I do know in these areas I am more than willing to pass on to others. (Because really, you don’t want to make all the mistakes I’ve made along the way!) And I’m willing to continue to improve and learn more.

As writers and authors, as human beings, we need to maintain a humble spirit. The genuine, giving person will be remembered. The arrogant jerk will not. (At least, not in a good way!)

Do you try to remain humble? Do you catch yourself acting with false humility now and then? And can you recognize true humility when you see it?

Remember, if you do think you are all that and a bag of chips, you’re really just a couple fries short of a Happy Meal!

And since I forgot a photo on Friday:


Sploosh!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

44 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great post, Diane! I think humility comes out in how we promote ourselves and our books, too. We've all seen (unfortunately!) folks who constantly push their books on others, without any interest in others' books or in other writers as people. It does come across as egocentric, although I'm sure some of those folks aren't. You've always been very supportive and humble online--despite having a lot of accomplishments!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yes, to both what you and Elizabeth said. There are some people you get sooo tired of when they go on an on about their success. Seriously, people, get over yourself. I believe humility goes a long way. I don't buy books from those people.

I have my successes, but I keep pretty quiet about them. I don't need everyone on the blogs, Twitter, forums, and Facebook to read about them. Especially those poor people who follow me on all those social networking sites.

Great post, Diane. Love the photo!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like Stina's comment - get over yourself!
That's why I try to keep my blog about everyone else rather than me.

Talli Roland said...

Very very true. When we think we know everything, we stop learning! And when it comes to writing, we should never stop learning.

Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

jaybird said...

I am repulsed by anyone, no matter how successful they are, if they take themselves too seriously or they are seriously in love with themselves. Conceit is one of the ugliest traits a person can have, if you ask me.



Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Elizabeth, thank you. I hope I remain that way.

Thanks, Stina.

You do it well, Alex.

Talli, we stop growing!

Jaybird, it is ugly.

Southpaw said...

Good post. The best way to stay humble is to just look around. There is always one (or more) people better at it! ;)

Stephen Tremp said...

Wifey and I keep each other in check. And the Good Lord above has His ways of keeping us humble when we get out of line and start to think we're more than a bag of chips.

Ellie Garratt said...

Well said! Nobody gets anywhere in life on their own and nobody likes a show-off. One thing I have learnt since I've been writing is the generosity of spirit that comes from my fellow writers. No jealously. No competition. Just a willingness to help others.

Lauren said...

Good post. It's irritating to go to someone's blog (or facebook, or twitter) and see nothing but advertisements. Spam, people, spam! Even if it is your blog!

I've tagged you for The Next Big Thing. Come to my blog for the details.

Lauren

Clarissa Draper said...

I think humility is so important for a writer, and for the most part, I think writers tend to be down on themselves more then they are braggarts. However, I have met a few that feel "they're all that" and it is annoying. I'm not sure they're that way because they need to say things to boost themselves up or if they feel that way. Nice reminder post. Thank you.

Tamara Narayan said...

Love the picture. Of course, the post makes me wonder where you saw that boastful comment. I don't get out much in blog-world, but so far, the writer sites I've seen are humble. I remember going to Beth Revis's site and her labeling her book image (here is my book looking up at you) and her author photo (here is me looking up at you). With the level of success Across the Universe had reached at the time, I was really struck at the humble attitude displayed there.

David P. King said...

Great post. While it's great to have some esteem in one's self, I've fallen into the trap and got served humble pie, more than I could eat. Good thing we grow up, right? So now, to help remind myself that this writing business isn't about me, I make the effort to put someone else first. Now it's second nature. And if I were a bag of chips, the sell-by date would be WAY past due. :)

D.G. Hudson said...

Humility? It can be in short supply when everyone is trying to get noticed. That's not what media platforms encourage us to be.

That said, I agree with you. Humility is not being a doormat, it's acknowledging that we can still improve.

Hope your Thanksgiving is great!

Carol Kilgore said...

I really love this post. Life is way too short to take yourself seriously. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I still have a lot to learn about a lot of things and I'm standing on the bottom rung of the ladder. Should I ever sound as if I think I'm a full bag of chips, I hope someone will kindly email me and say that's probably cow chips instead of corn chips.

randi lee said...

Excellent post! I see so many authors gain a smidge of credibility and then turn into know-it-alls. They put other people down all because they think they don't need to "play nice" anymore. It's all about humility. I don't think anyone ever gets to a point where they can act like they're better than others and put others down.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Holly, there is always someone better.

Lauren, thank you.

Clarissa, as in whether it's pride or a really poor self image?

Tamara, it wasn't a writer and it wasn't the first time that individual had made a boastful comment.

David - LOL!

LOL! Carol, a bag of cow chips would be gross.

Randi, that is so true.

Morgan said...

Hi Diane! New follower here... I can't believe I wasn't following you before! I swear I've known you for a while... anyway, came by to say thanks for signing up for the Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest! Yay. So glad you're participating! ;-)

Johanna Garth said...

Great post. It reminds me of a column that was recently written in the WSJ on this same subject and the advent of the Facebook nation.

Nancy Thompson said...

For me lately, it's the numbers that keep me humble...very, very humble. It's quite obvious and easy to see, I'm not all that, not even close...and I'm about 20 chips shy of a bag, to boot.

M Pax said...

Yeah, I hear ya. Most of us keep digging trenches. I'm very happy to share my shovel. It's hard work.

Jo said...

Have a great Thanksgiving Diane. Wish I was still in NC we always had such a great time.

Clarissa Draper said...

Exactly!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hi Morgan! Known Alex a long time - how could I not?

Nancy, if it's one of those single-serving bags, that means it's empty.

Beth Blair said...

As always, excellent insight Diane.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Laura Eno said...

Excellent post, Diane. I think you get much further by being supportive of others and not trying to turn the spotlight on yourself.
You do so much to help the writing community by sharing and caring.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Did you take that picture? Cool.
I have no trouble being humble about my writing but I know some who are not.

Jeff Hargett said...

Ha! It's easy to be humble when you make as many mistakes as I do. LOL Excellent post and point!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. heaven help me and that Happy Meal - yugh ...

Pride does come before a fall doesn't it - we can keep doing what we're doing, learning from others and appreciating how lucky we are - yet share our gifts with others, smile often and offer to help where we can ..

Cheers for now - and enjoy your Thanksgiving .. Hilary

michelle said...

Lovely words Diane!
Thanks for sharing... we could all do with a gentle reminder now and again!


Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Diane! Great post. Happy Thanksgiving! : )

Bonnie Watson said...

You know that's right. Nice photo. I love water images!

Helen Ginger said...

I think writers have to find a mid-point between thinking "no one's gonna like my book" and "I'm heaven's gift to readers". Great post, Diane.

loverofwords said...

Perfect photo--the circle gets wider and then disappears, just like we do. Carpe Diem.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you, Laura.

Hi Susan! Yes I did. I have a thing for water.

Thanks, Bonnie. If it rains, I'm there with a camera.

Helen, yes they do.

Ella said...

I love the photo ;D
Great post! I do think it is part of the process of seeing the bigger picture! Yeah, maybe the focus is on you, or you but it won't last long. Yes, you are so right-we didn't do this alone~ Well said! Thank-you~
Funny, every time I get published I usually only have 15 minutes of glory, before someone I know gets the cover or something bigger or better. I never get to be in the sun for long-before I burn~ One day I'd like to have 30 minutes, lol!

cd sutton said...

One of my "bag of chips" is an author who is traditionally published and thus feels that he or she has transcended above all other writers. I met one author who felt this way. All writers have something to say and some knowledge to give to the world. How we get published is just our way of reaching out to others. How we get published actually says more about our connections than it does about how well we write.

Sandra Cox said...

I think writing and everything that goes with it is a humbling experience.

Arlee Bird said...

I'm all for encouraging self-promotion when it's needed, but I think it also needs to be kept in check. It's good to keep a good sense of humor as well and not take ourselves too seriously. Pedestals are meant for us to be knocked off of.

Lee
Wrote By Rote

Jai Joshi said...

Such a great point, Diane.

I always think of it as humility stemming from true confidence. You might be good and you know it but that doesn't mean that you can't improve or that you have nothing to learn. If you stop learning then you can't call yourself good anymore.

Arrogance, on the other hand, stems from insecurity. Secretly you're afraid that you're not good enough but instead of working to improve your talent you cover up your insecurities with bluster and talk.

Great post, Diane. Thought-provoking.

Jai

Julie Luek said...

So true! And everytime I am tempted to get cocky about something I receive a divine lesson in humility. Far easier to keep myself in that humble place instead! Thanks for the post. I'm now a new follower.

Mark Koopmans said...

Humility is what attracts me to *real* friendships - ask FABIO. :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Great point Diane. Pride comes before a fall.

kmckendry said...

Great post! I like your husband's way of putting arrogance.