What is the difference between being humble and being modest?
Modest describes the personality trait or behavior of not flaunting oneself.
Whereas, Humble describes the inner state of an individual — one’s ability to accept and respect another’s intellect and wisdom, one’s ability to submit themselves to a deep level of work to perfect their craft.
In other words, modest describes your behavior and humble describes your ego.
The problem with many people today is that they are neither modest nor humble —
They are flashy about skills and talents they do not possess and they are too conceited to learn from those who are more skilled and talented than themselves.
The world’s most successful individuals are not modest, but they are certainly humble.
Kanye West, Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs and Muhammad Ali are great examples of people who are not modest, but extraordinarily humble.
In Kanye’s song Spaceship, he raps, “Lock yourself in a room, doing 5 beats a day for 3 summers, I deserve these numbers.”
Many people watch Kanye West and see an arrogant asshole and they are right — he is an arrogant asshole. But most people who watch Kanye West don’t see an individual who is extraordinarily humble.
You can’t be as successful as Kanye without being humble. Individuals who aren’t humble believe they have already perfected their craft, and therefor they don’t submit themselves to the countless hours of deep grueling work that is required to reach a mastery level.
Fonzworth Bentley, a lifelong wingman of Kanye’s, was quoted in The Faderas he reflected on what all went into the creation of The Life of Pablo, Kanye’s most recent album.
“Ye (Kanye) had a bed set up in the studio and so he would usually take a nap for an hour or an hour-and-a-half, go to the gym, and then come right back.”
Yes, he brought a damn bed to his studio and slept there…
Be Humble, Sit Down
If you don’t want to be modest, that’s fine.
In many ways, modesty is overrated. If you are extremely skilled at what you do, it is advantageous to make the world aware of your talent. But make sure you are putting in the work, make sure you are being humble.
Kanye West is far from modest. After all, he screams from the tops of mountains, making the world aware of how great he is.
But, Kanye’s extraordinary ability to be humble is what has allowed him to stand on those mountains.
Modesty without humbleness is like a lion without teeth.
Sharpen your teeth before you speak.
Otherwise, keep your mouth shut.