Humility Is Not Thinking Less Of Yourself, It Is Thinking Less About Yourself : C.S. Lewis Inspirational Quote, Meaning and Analysis


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Humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less

We have always been huge fans of words, their definitions and the implications they have in our lives. And I for one had a bit of difficulty about the definition of humility or being humble. You would be surprised to know how many different answers I have heard for the definition of humility. And this perhaps is one of the best definition of humility

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less” –



The Mistaken Meaning

Most often or at least speaking from my experience, we were raised to be in a competitive world where we were pitched against each other and the winner was given a lot of attention. And naturally we loved to compete in a way and be the topper or come first in the academic competitions. Strangely enough the same is not extended to sports though! We were brought up with the same values and forced to come first in the exams. And naturally when we do something this commendable, we wanted to be talked about all along. If we did not score well in all exams, we still wanted people to talk about the one subject we did very well in. And that would make us extremely happy – and why not, the subject is ‘US’. At the same time, we were forced to act humble lest someone should think that we are way too cocky or arrogant. And what we used to do was pretty simple – we would somehow find a way to bring up this topic and talk about how bad we suck at them.

The logic was

“I am not boasting about myself, so it is still okay, I am talking about it as a mistake – so it is unreasonable to think of me as a selfish or a self centred person” 

However the same shameless me believes in a totally different idea that what I used to as a kid. As a stupid kid, all we wanted to talk about was how great we were and we wanted that sense of specialty, that sense of standing ahead of the crowd. And the same pattern followed through degree, masters and more. Somewhere down the lane, there was one question that came:

“So What?”

Slowly we started realising that people really don’t care about what your achievements are. All they care about is what value addition you are making to their lives. I might sound a little cynical when I say this but isn’t that true? We all have our own share of problems to deal with and of course we all like to feel good about ourselves and feel that it would be really awesome if there is someone to appreciate us. But, looking at it from the other side – what do we do these things for? Isn’t it for our own personal sense of satisfaction and well being? It feels good when others praise or talk about it and the max we can do is possibly acknowledge it with a smile and know that there are far larger things in life which we can really appreciate and try to look at.

And no matter what we say, whether we are talking in pride or proving a fake modesty, the end point is that we are still thinking about ourselves and that is still much further from humility!

Well, that’s C.S.Lewis for us today, stay tuned in for more 🙂

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We would love to hear your point of view

    • Thank you Maitreni, I have a new habit now, to kinda look forward to your thoughts on the post. It makes us feel more connected and more real when we write about these things and to know that they can evoke a thought is quite a great feeling indeed 🙂

  1. Wonderful! Nicely put the real definition of Humility. And as always the meaning is so well explained, like every other terms in your blog. Love to be here and get motivation right from the beginning of my day 🙂 Thank you Vinay

    • Thank you Tara, these words mean a lot to me and I would consider it a real honour if the words and thoughts expressed over this site can be part of your daily activities. It is one goal we are constantly thriving at and to know it can make a difference makes us humbly proud indeed 🙂

    • I would like to think it is out there Kashpal, Maybe in small pockets, maybe in instances but it is out there. Just need to be there more consistently and that makes all the difference.

  2. Very well explained.

    Just to add to this, I would like to talk about a phrase which Uncle Bala (Dr Bala Balachandran, our Dean at Great Lakes Institute of Management) often says “Ability with humility”.

    One can be super-talented, but without humility all that is hollow. On the extreme end, one can be super-humble, but without talent and ability to complement it, there is no point behind such humility, that is weakness, as Swami Vivekananda says.

    IMHO, to be truly humble, as opposed to fake modesty, we must go back to our Indian roots of absolute duty orientation (karma yoga).


    • Thank you Subhodeep 🙂 . I couldn’t agree more mate, humility is a life skill whereas talent is just talent and it needs a lot more than that to be successful in life and also the ability to recognise and learn from the success of others and draw inspiration from it instead of feeling insecure. I have been an eternal fan of karma yoga, esp from the time I read Vivekananda’s rendition of it. It is one book that should be read!

  3. This one has always been my fav. Sadly, in today’s world, the creaking wheels get oil and the blowing trumpets get attention. The modest and the humble get elbowed aside.