In The Steps of Essence I encourage people to dream big and to be great. In fact, I believe we all are great beings already--just by being born and being unique. But greatness is not enough; instead it is very much about how you are being great about your life: you can either brag about your greatness, or be humble about it. Each way will make a great difference to your own life and the lives of others.
Bragging, boasting, and vaunting about greatness is an act of vanity. Just think of some professional athletes who sing the song of "me" (although there are some truly great exceptions). Do you know some other people like this? By vaunting our greatness, we hold ourselves high above all others and make ourselves believe that we are better, while making others believe they are beneath us. Here, your greatness really has no effect; you simply propped yourself up, but only by pushing others down. The overall effect is that it cancels itself out. All you did was to stroke the ego, but you did not use your greatness to help others around you. And in fact, the terms "vaunt," "vanity," "vain" all originally mean "empty." To be vain ultimately is an act of emptiness.
The other way is to be humble about the greatness that is you. And it turns out that both "humility" and "humble" stem from the Latin word for EARTH (humus), as does our word "human!" To be humble is to be human! Quite literally, a human is an earthling -- and our journey is from dust to dust. And within this journey, humility grounds us again and let’s us see that I am no better than you -— we are all the same earthlings.
When we are humble about our greatness, then we reconnect to the same ground we all came from, and thereby make this greatness available and accessible for everybody. There is no ego in this act.
The greatest Masters of Living all knew this secret. Think about Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, etc. They all were great, but they were humble about their greatness, and through this humility made their greatness available to everybody else, inviting them to be equally great.
This is true inspiration (to inspire = to breathe in): through their humility, they show their humanness and we are allowed to breathe in their greatness and be like them.
Ultimately, to be truly human involves humility. When we boast about our greatness, we fail as a human.
Let’s all be great, and be humble about it.
(Adapted from The Steps of Essence