Humility: The ability to accurately acknowledge one’s limitations and to assume an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented rather than self-focused. Though this trait might be in short supply these days, social and personality psychologists interested in positive psychology are increasingly researching it, according to The New York Times.
Humility, it turns out, is highly correlated with other positive traits. In one series of experiments, Elizabeth Krumrei Mancuso of Pepperdine University scored volunteers on a measure of “intellectual humility” — awareness of the incompleteness and potential fallibility of their views on political and social issues. This type of humility was strongly linked to curiosity, reflection, and open-mindedness. Other research has found that people who score high for humility are less aggressive and less judgmental toward members of other religious groups than less humble people. And humility researcher Dr. Krumrei Mancuso contends that humble people are apt to hold onto their convictions and are less easily manipulated.
With humility attracting so much attention, some wonder whether it can be taught. The conundrum is that those most open to learning this trait probably need it least. Meanwhile, the good news is that between 10 and 15 percent of adults score highly on measures of humility, depending on the rating scale. “That’s at least 25 million humble people in the USA alone,” notes Benedict Carey of The New York Times.
Do you believe you are one of the 10 – 15 percent of adults capable of being humble? How does this trait influence your perspective and your relationships with others? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
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