Growing up in Britain, we were pretty good at ensuring no-one thought they were too good. Anyone who grew too tall for the crowd was cut down in size. It creates a social ambiguity as to who is good at what. Everyone, everything is much of a muchness.
Back in London recently, the Shard tower bamboozled me. I had read about it, but to see it live, and large, wow. It made such a statement of intent, and my first thought was – how did they allow this to happen?! (and – thank you. We need more ideas to look up to…)
So, when someone young says to you they will one day run for office, will study law and an MBA, that they are into start-ups and making money, what think you?
Arrogant upstart? Enterprising and dynamic go-getter? Annoying know-it-all? Remember me when you make it big?
If you would accuse them of hubris, how could they instead be humble? How to wear such high expectations and self-belief lightly?
Someone young and hungry asked me recently if they needed to ‘work on their brand’ to be more humble. With little varnish, I advised no. Try to be nice to be people. Other people are good and healthy and successful too, in their own way, don’t judge. But if you are going to run the world, it’s likely that plenty of people will think you are a dick, just as others will attract to you magnetically. If you are going to do all those things, and if you are sure you will win, the journey is unlikely to be a humble one, seems to me.
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