What it Means to be a Man IV: Humility

Published in Feminism - 2 mins to read

Humility is perhaps the quality on my list that I am furthest away from possessing myself. Writing a blog every day seems pretty incompatible with being humble. I think men are by and large also pretty far from humble, which is strange given how much I admire the trait. The way I was raised didn’t really leave any room for it though - going through school everyone told me I had academic promise, and being at a public all-boys institution, growing an oversized ego started off as a defense mechanism necessary to survive. Even if it started out innocently enough, playing the part for so many of my formative years inevitably let it bleed into my psyche. It might not be there all the time, but there’s a sense of arrogance that rears its head in moments of over-confidence, moments when I’m not thinking, too eager to put someone down for a cheap laugh or to take the attention off my own flaws.

Fortunately, there is a very obvious example of a man who embodies humility the way I wish I could (it’s sort of weird to say “I wish I were more humble”, given that I think it’s inherent in humility that somebody else has to bestow that adjective upon you), Eliud Kipchoge. Despite being the greatest distance runner of all time, he eschews any of the trappings that come with the multiple millions of dollars he has to his name, instead choosing to stick to the simple live. He trains with his team, he cleans the toilets like the rest of them, he keeps livestock on his farm. In all his interviews he appears to have an almost Buddhaesque sense of egolessness, laughing off any suggestion that this accomplishments might be in any way praiseworthy, instead saying he just loves running, and he wants to share that with the world. Wouldn’t that world be a better place if everybody was like Kipchoge?

See other posts in the What it Means to be a Man series