Humility is not about going to heaven. Its about staying ahead of the competition.
The moment an entrepreneur becomes arrogant so does his company. When a company becomes arrogant it becomes complacent. It closes its mind to new ideas. It underestimates the competition. It stops innovating.
It stops being paranoid. It fails.
Successful entrepreneurs remain humble.
Being humble is not a willpower thing. It’s an environment thing.
- Stay away from arse-kissers
The world is full of people who will tell you how great you are. Financial advisors, car salesmen, PR consultants, anyone who has anything to sell you knows that flattery will get you everywhere.
Stay away from people with a financial incentive to kiss your arse.
- Don’t read your own press
Sometimes you find yourself in the media. The hard rule is never read your own press. Not only do you stay humble, but when you get bad press you stay confident.
Public opinion is noise. The only opinion that counts is that of your spouse, kids and customers.
- Spend time with siblings and old friends.
No one will keep you grounded like people that have known you since you were small (literally and figuratively). Any airs and graces you pick up will soon be pointed out and ruthlessly mocked.
Stay close to your siblings, keep in touch with old friends. The more successful you are, the more time you should spend with people who knew you when you were young and unsuccessful.
(Yet another reason why marrying young is so important.)
- Have children
Nothing will humble a person more than children. Every father and mother thinks children won’t change them, that the arrival of little people won’t disrupt their routine, that life will go on as before.
And then the bomb explodes. Sleep deprivation, marital strife, phobias of swimming pools.
Children will humble you. You will lose your sense of control. Shouting at a crying baby quickly reveals that you are not a master of the universe.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, be humble. If you want to stay an entrepreneur, stay humble.