Humility is a fantastic character trait to possess, but it’s often overlooked in modern society. Here are 12 key ways that people with humility think differently.
1. They believe in equality.
People who possess a high level of humility are often great believers in equality.
They don’t see themselves as better than other people—they genuinely see the value in everyone around them and want to find ways to maximize and highlight it.
A large part of humility stems from seeing things as a level playing field. They want everyone to have equal access and opportunities to contribute because they feel that everyone can bring something to the table.
Being humble is about not just accepting, but truly respecting, people’s differing experiences and backgrounds and how they can add value.
Humility means letting others take the reins and letting them use their skills rather than simply prioritizing your way of doing things.
2. They keep an open mind.
Part of being humble is being prepared to be wrong, and being ready to collaborate with people with different, potentially better, ways of doing things.
When you’re humble, you appreciate that everyone has something to teach you. Those who are cocky (not confident—there’s a difference!) often believe that they’re superior and can’t be taught anything.
Humility comes from acknowledging that you don’t, and can’t, always know best. You see the value in teamwork and questions, and you are open to suggestions and feedback.
You’re excited about exploring other solutions because you know there’s never just one way to achieve success.
3. They are actively empathetic.
You might not have lived through the same experiences as those around you, but you know how important it is for them to feel heard and validated.
You want people around you to feel comfortable sharing their stories with you, and empathy plays a huge role in that.
Being empathetic forms a large part of humility—you know when to tread carefully, when to keep your experiences to yourself and let others shine, and when to step in and provide more support.
You’re not afraid to express your feelings, and you know how crucial it is to have a safe environment in which to do that.
Being open and vulnerable is a huge part of being humble, even if it takes a bit of time to get comfortable with.
4. They moderate levels of pride.
Being proud of yourself is one of the best feelings out there, right?
It’s amazing to see how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved, and we all deserve to feel that way.
If you’ve been working hard, you want to celebrate your success—but humble people know both how and when to do this in the right ways.
You don’t want to make others feel bad about themselves as a result of sharing your success, and you don’t want to come across as too ‘braggy’ or arrogant.
Instead, people with real humility know when to downplay successes and how to celebrate appropriately. It’s not about refusing the credit you deserve; it’s about being sensitive to those around you.
People with humility also understand that they will experience success again—if now isn’t the best time to share the good news, they don’t panic or get frustrated because they know they’ll have something great to share again when the time is right.
While you might want to shout it from the rooftops, you’re aware of those around you who may not be feeling as positive. You know how to lift them up with you, you ensure they get credit for their hard work, and you stay humble!
5. They are happy for others’ success.
People with humility tend to have an abundance mindset—they believe there’s plenty of everything to go around!
They know that one person’s success is very unlikely to take away from their success.
Nobody has a monopoly on achievements—partly because everyone sees success differently and wants different things, and partly because there are so many ways to get it!
This removes the element of negative competition and allows humble people to focus on the positive kind of competition—with themselves!
This frees up so much energy and emotional capacity to be supportive of other people and genuinely feel happy for their success.
Humble individuals don’t feel threatened by how well those around them are doing because they know that they will also create plenty of opportunities to succeed too.
6. They accept they might be wrong.
Being humble isn’t just about being open to other ways of doing things, it’s about acknowledging and accepting that you’re not always right!
Rather than running away from feedback or letting your pride get the better of you, you’re willing to accept that there might be better approaches.
You don’t take it personally when someone suggests a different method, and you want their way to work! You’re not spiteful and vindictive; you see your friends’/ colleagues’/ teams’ success as your own success.
In fact, people with high levels of humility tend to see feedback as positive—even if it means that their approach isn’t quite working, there’s scope to improve.
They don’t mind that someone else’s idea is working better because they know there are endless opportunities to get involved in the future.
If you’re all working toward the same goal, you genuinely believe that it doesn’t matter whose method works so long as you all get to where you want or need to be.
7. They reflect on themselves.
Again, it’s so important to note that people with humility are open to being wrong and to other people having better ways of doing things.
The main character trait that enables this behavior is their ability to self-reflect.
Humble people aren’t afraid to take a step back and evaluate how they’re behaving. They can self-regulate better than most because of their ability to review their actions and how they feel as a result.
This means they can course-correct even while they’re committed to a certain course of action, rather than simply reacting in the moment or staying passive due to fear of failure.
They are actively reflecting and becoming more introspective, and they see great success because of it.
8. They are brave enough to make change happen.
People with humility are constantly evolving and innovating, which is why they’re often so successful.
They’re humble enough to know when to call things a day and when to admit that their idea isn’t working.
This gives them the mental freedom to think about the big picture because they know they can pivot at any time without there being too much negative impact as a result.
When you’re scared to admit you’re wrong, the repercussions can be huge. If you’ve invested a lot of time and money into a project and don’t want to accept it’s not going to plan, you have a lot to lose as you go too far down the path due to your pride.
When you’re humble enough to admit that something isn’t going well, there’s less loss as you automatically change direction and adapt to a new plan.
As such, you can think bigger because the risk of loss doesn’t increase proportionately to your plans, but the level of success does!
9. They practice gratitude.
A lot of us take things for granted, often without realizing it, whether it’s in our personal, work, or love life.
Being a person with high levels of humility means that you’re very aware of your circumstances and how fortunate you are.
As such, humble people tend to think from a positive place of gratitude.
They know that their skills or experiences have contributed to their success, but they are more than willing to accept how fortunate they are and how that’s played a role in where they are now.
They can take a step back and accept their luck—the opportunities that have come up and the fact that they might have simply been in the right place at the right time.
That’s not to say they’re martyrs—they still acknowledge how hard they’ve worked, they’re just coming from a different mindset to most people!
10. They ignore fickle or superficial trends.
Humble people don’t get bogged down with superficial nonsense!
They know what is truly important in life, and they don’t believe in objectifying or quantifying other people or experiences.
They look at life differently—they know they’re lucky to be where they are and that everything and everyone has value and a purpose.
As such, they don’t feel the need to adhere to trends or materialistic obsessions! They are happy accepting that there are benefits and positive aspects to every experience, person, or object out there…and that’s enough for them.
11. They remain positive.
Most of us go through phases of feeling pretty down and letting ourselves wallow in negative emotions. Are we even human if we don’t indulge in a Ben-and-Jerry-sponsored pity party every so often?
While it’s a normal response, many people with humility try to avoid getting too caught up in negative feelings.
Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they’re more likely to pick themselves up and try again!
They know that there’s a lesson to learn and experience to gain, and they can put a positive spin on situations that would send most of us spiraling into a pit of self-pity and despair.
12. They are forward-thinking.
Rather than constantly thinking about past experiences or struggles, people with high levels of humility are too busy thinking about the future.
It’s not that they want to ignore their past or are ashamed of it, they simply see so much more value in looking ahead.
They’re self-reflective, as we’ve discussed already, but they don’t get caught up on it.
Instead, they use past experiences to propel themselves forwards—they use their history as a case study, and apply their learning to all future endeavors.
They know how to evaluate the benefits of previous methods, objectively and without emotion, which means they can pivot and adapt more than most!
We live in a world of side hustles and humble brags, but a lot of people are missing the core thought processes that go into being genuinely humble—and, as a result, successful.
But this sort of mindset can be cultivated with time and effort.