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Lesson 4: The Importance of Humility

Suppose you manage to develop full confidence in yourself. This is a huge step toward success. However, if you are not careful, full confidence can lead to overconfidence. Overconfidence means that you are overestimating yourself and your abilities. This is way more dangerous than lacking confidence in yourself because it will ruin your chances of becoming a Laureate and will cause all your efforts to go in vain.

Overconfidence always leads to Arrogance; whichever form it might be. Arrogant students consider themselves superior to others. They think they are more intelligent than their peers. They think they know more than their teachers. Let yourself be warned right here, right now:

If you are an arrogant student, forget about becoming a Laureate.

Have a long look at the Confidence Scale below:

The numbers 0 – 100 represent how much confidence you have in yourself. If you have no confidence in yourself at all, your score is 0. If you have full confidence in yourself, your score is 100. This is where you should always aim to be. If you are somewhere between 0 and 100, then you are underconfident. However, if you are overconfident, your score will be above 100, inside the red region. There are two red regions. If you are in a red region, it means that you have no chance of becoming a Laureate. You cannot become a Laureate if you suffer from these two faults:

  1. You have no confidence in yourself.

  2. You have excessive confidence in yourself. This starts at score 101. Even a small bit of overconfidence can and will prove fatal to your success.

Most students will be somewhere inside the blue region of under confidence. From Lesson 3 in Topic 1, you have all the tools you need to move from the blue region to the green region of full confidence. The purpose of this lesson is to teach you how to avoid falling into the red region of overconfidence.

The higher you think you are, the harder you Fall.

The opposite of arrogance is HUMILITY. Humility is a quality that is not emphasised enough in our lives. Being humble might seem old fashioned, but it is a quality that is essential if you want to become a Laureate. From my experience, I have been able to observe that

Most Laureates are humble students.

Humility is, in fact, one of the most essential ingredients for success, both inside and outside the classroom. By definition, humility is the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others. Being humble helps you recognise your flaws and weaknesses, thereby enabling you to address them as quickly as possible. Arrogant persons do not have any room to improve and learn new things because they think they are invincible and know it all. They are unable to recognise their shortcomings. If you want to achieve your full marks target, you need to address all your weaknesses. However, you cannot hope to eliminate those weaknesses if you cannot identify them in the first place. This is why humility is your friend and arrogance is your foe.

As a student, one way to stay humble is to have the so-called beginner’s mindset. Whenever you are revising a topic you are familiar with, assume that you have very little knowledge about it and that you still have a lot to learn. That way, you are always leaving room for the possibility of learning something new from this topic or even seeing some things from a completely different perspective. Being able to see questions from different points of views is a skill that is very handy during exams.

Another way to remain humble is to ask a lot of questions. This is a sign of humility because you are acknowledging that you don’t know something. Again, this creates room for additional learning, thereby helping you get closer to your full marks goal.

Being humble is excellent. Having full confidence in yourself is great. However, the million-dollar question is:

Can you have full confidence in yourself while remaining humble?

The answer is YES, but only if you choose to! You need to eliminate the arrogant person inside you if you ever want to become humble. Ego and arrogance are two sides of the same coin. If you can identify your egos and tackle them, you will be on the right track to become a humble person. Notice that I said “egos” instead of “ego”. This means that we have multiple egos and not just one. When it comes to our studies, there are seven major egos linked to arrogance and overconfidence. These are the things that you need to avoid at all costs if you want to become a Laureate. They are:

1. The Blame Ego

Lame people blame people. Whenever something unfavourable happens to you, you never accept it as your own fault. Instead, it’s everybody else’s fault. For example, if you performed poorly on a test, you might blame the teacher for not explaining things clearly enough. However, maybe it was you who was not paying attention in class. Or maybe, it was you who did not seek clarification.

How to tackle the Blame Ego: Stop blaming everybody else and start taking responsibility for your circumstances.

2. The Know It All Ego

You think that you know too much. As examples, you might think you don’t need to read textbooks, go to school, enter the classroom, pay attention to what the teacher is saying or ask questions.

How to tackle the Know It All Ego: Have a beginner’s mindset.

3. The Comfort Zone Ego

Have you ever said to yourself that you are happy where you are, you are content? Have you ever told yourself that you don’t need to be ambitious? When you get complacent, when you get comfortable, you’re not learning new things. Remember: when you’re not learning new things, you are not getting closer to your full marks goal.

How to tackle the Comfort Zone Ego: Don’t hesitate to get out of your comfort zone whenever you need to. This should not be a problem if you have full confidence in yourself.

4. The Judgemental Ego

You judge others. For example, if somebody else performs poorly on a test and you perform better than them, you think that you are smarter than them.

How to tackle the Judgemental Ego: Stop judging your peers, your teachers and anybody else.

5. The Jealous Ego

Jealousy is a symptom of arrogance. You feel insecure whenever you see a friend performing well at school. This makes you feel inferior. To counter those feelings of insecurity and inferiority, you tell yourself that you are better than them. This makes you feel better about yourself. However, this is an artificially created sense of security and will serve against you in your quest to become a Laureate.

How to tackle the Jealous Ego: Compete with yourself instead of others.

6. The Fake Ego, also known as the “Submarine” Syndrome

Some students, the so-called “submarines” give others the impression that they are not very smart. They will act dumb in class, or they might even cause disturbance during class. They want to be viewed as the students who will finish bottom of the class. However, when results come, they pass with flying colours. Unfortunately, despite getting good results, very few of them actually become Laureates. The reason is simple: they have wasted too much time and energy faking everything. This time and energy should have gone to their studies instead. If you want to become a Laureate, you cannot waste time and energy on this sort of lowly stuff. Schools in Mauritius are unfortunately full of such students. If you are one of them, I’d suggest you stop acting like a “submarine” as soon as possible if you want to become a Laureate.

How to tackle the Fake Ego: Just be yourself. You don’t need to fake anything to become a Laureate.

7. The Do It Yourself Ego

The do-it-yourself ego says: if I want something done, I’ve got to do it myself. For example, if you are struggling with a topic or a question, you want to figure it out all on your own. You do not want to seek help from someone else. Seeking help makes you feel vulnerable as it hurts your ego, so you prefer doing it all on your own.

How to tackle the Do It Yourself Ego: Ask questions, seek help from your peers and teachers when needed, engage in group work and don’t be afraid to look stupid, if this means you are learning something new.


So, how many of those egos do you have? If you answer zero, then, my friend, you urgently need to develop some self-awareness. If you answered zero, then chances are that you have ALL of them but are unwilling to admit it to yourself.

Humility is recognising that we have some degree of all those egos inside us and that we actively need to work on them at all times.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create more humility:

Step 1: Admit to yourself that you have all the above egos, even if you think you don’t have them.

Step 2: Determine which egos are more serious and which ones are least serious.

Step 3: Order the egos in order of severity. For example, if the Know It All Ego is your worst ego, it should rank at the top.

Step 4: Tackle each ego one at a time starting with the one at the top. It’s challenging to eliminate all egos in one go, so you should tackle them one at a time.

There you have it! It’s not that complicated to eliminate arrogance. So, in a nutshell, the Key Takeaway is:

Always remain humble.

Do you have any questions or comments? Post them below!

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