A Brief Lesson in Humility


You’re not humble enough. And neither am I.

I ran into a friend on my commute home this evening, who told me a story about one of his friends. This simple story was an instant lesson in humility.

My friend is a lawyer, and his friend — let’s call him Alex for the sake of this recounting — is also a lawyer. But there’s something else you should know about Alex: He has cerebral palsy.

I’m sure those two facts alone are enough to make you pause and reflect on all the challenges he had to overcome to embrace that vocation — and how relatively easy your path has been to get to wherever you are right now.

Alex’s life is a daily exercise in humility. Imagine being the person who holds up the train every morning so that the ramp can be employed to get you aboard. All I do is complain that the train is late. Imagine going to lunch with a friend and having to ask that friend to physically help you to use the restroom. Sometimes I wonder if I would even have the humility to be the helpful friend.

If you struggled daily against such overwhelming physical challenges since the day you were born, how would you be different? Would you complain as much about the petty daily annoyances that often seem so difficult and important in the moment?

If it was a physical struggle to get from Point A to Point B, I think my whole perspective would have to change. The challenge of doing simple things like getting on a train or having to wonder if a new location is handicapped accessible would probably force me to embrace the beauty of the even simpler things. The sun is shining today. Someone smiled at me.

The humbling part is that I don’t have such challenges, and yet I am usually unwilling to pause and recognize the blessing of the simple or the even simpler things. The sun is shining today. I have to stand on the train, but I am blessed to be physically capable of standing on the train.

It’s always a good time to be reminded of something that Alex proves every day: Our only real limitation is our inability to embrace what we do have.

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A Blog About Beards

I’m currently participating in Blogging 201, a free online “class” run by WordPress (the company that hosts this blog), that offers daily tasks for bloggers to complete that hopefully will improve their writing or drive more readers to their site. Yesterday’s assignment was to delve into your web site’s stats and see which posts are the most popular. Once that’s been determined, you can think about developing more content that your audience would enjoy.

The most popular post on my blog leads the pack by a mile. It’s from relatively early in this blog’s history and it’s ranked highly in Google’s search results…for beards. The post is Fear the Beard: The Missing Manual for the Manliest Facial Hair. I wrote the post in 2012 when I was experimenting with a full beard for the first time in my life and discussed the various stages of beardedness that I went through to achieve a fully follicle’d face. It averages 4-7 views per day from complete strangers with questions about beards, especially those who Googled “beard growth stages” or some variation on that theme. I’m sure this post will only help my ranking as the search engine king of beards.

So in the spirit of Blogging 201, who am I to deny the public what they’re asking for? Let’s talk some more about beards!