“When I speak of humbleness and simplicity, I do not mean that it is necessary for us to lose sight of what the world calls manhood and womanhood; that it is necessary to be cringing and unmanly; but you will find, in the long run, that the people who have the greatest influence in the world are the humble and simple ones.”-“The Virtue of Simplicity: A Sunday Evening Talk,” Booker T. Washington
Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson
Generally speaking, the smartest, wealthiest, strongest, most beautiful and most talented among a community of his and her fellows would hardly ever pronounce it. (For he or she already knows it.) And therein lies the “influence” generally found in the “humble and simple ones”-that Washington describes. In one of his earlier writings, Professor Cornel West writes the following: “To be humble is to be so sure of one’s self and one’s mission that one can forego calling excessive attention to one’s self and status.” Knowing with complete certainty one’s self and status is akin to knowing one’s name. Unless one is patently-even absurdly-insecure, a person would never enter into quarrels about his or her own name. On the other hand, the sense of absolute certainty that accompanies the sense of knowing one’s name and identity reeks of humility, sincerity and simplicity; Such a posture leads to the greatest influence among men and women because arrogance tends to repel and humility tends to invite. And men and women of humility and simplicity always invite others into their ever expanding circles–thus gaining influence that has no boundaries. And for the very reasons the founding principal and president suggests above, “Humility” and “fearless” are the first and second greatest 8-letter words in succession.