The story below highlights the need to cultivate humility even amidst success.
A kind-hearted wealthy man once saw a young orphan and offered him help. He provided education to the boy and gave him a job, a good income, a place to stay, food and love. The boy learned fast and soon won the trust of his master.
Years passed, and the young man now got more significant responsibilities and one day got the coveted position of the treasurer. Other employees who had been working for many years felt envious and complained to the owner. The man patiently explained to them that this young boy was like his son; he was not only competent but also had an excellent character. The others weren’t satisfied and revealed that this boy is siphoning off the employer’s funds to a secret vault. At night when everyone would leave the premises, he quietly sneaks into a chamber, opens a box, and puts his money there. His hushed and mysterious movements confirm he is cheating his benevolent benefactor. Finally, urged by the staff, the man laid a trap the next day and just when the young man opened his secret chest, the team of his detractors led by the owner, caught him red handed.
But what did they discover? To their shock, he had opened a case that contained his old torn clothes that he was wearing when his master had found him on the streets years ago. The young man explained to the bewildered group that he came daily before closing the office, to see his past so that he remembers it well. He didn’t want to forget his humble roots and not take the love and trust showered on him cheaply.
His gratitude now silenced his critics and earned more respect from his master. Eventually, he inherited the entire fortune and expanded the master’s business.
A daily test to cultivate humility
One of my teachers His Holiness Sachinandan Swami gave a regular practical test. He says before you retire each night, ask yourself three questions, and the answer to these would help you develop humility.
1. How much did I serve others today and how much did I receive service from others?
2. Did I appreciate others today or seek appreciation for myself?
3. Was I concerned for others and remember God today or was I absorbed in myself?
Ralph Waldo Emerson shared a universal principle, “A great man is always willing to be little.” Many men and women secretly desire to be somebody important and do something significant. As Saint Augustine said, to rise, we begin by descending. You may plan to build a tower that will pierce the clouds. But first, you have to lay the foundation of humility. And it’s not easy; nothing good in this world anyway comes easy. But the good news is when you walk the path of humility, the only competition you have is with yourself.