8 Humble Man Characteristics: Pride vs Humility

Characteristics of a humble man

How do you identify a great man?

Do you judge a man’s greatness based off of his appearance? His bragging rights like his car, his job, his significant other, his home or lifestyle? What is at the core of his greatness?

I suppose a great man will let you know he is great because he won’t stop reminding you of his greatness.

Not at all. That’s not how you identify a great man. That would be pride, and pride never made anyone great. You cannot be brought up in true greatness by your own pride, and living life according to your ego.

Ah yes, the beloved ego. The ego, which is really just a simpler name for a man’s pride, is something that every man strives to build, and never fails to leave it without guard. Your ego demands you be built up entirely by yourself, with no one’s help or guidance. Life lived by yourself, for yourself.

And that’s the problem.

If man’s pride doesn’t make him great, then what does? It is a simple word—humility. But, what is humility? Only if its definition was as simple. I’ve struggled to define it myself,
so allow me to quote C. S. Lewis:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

true humility

Let that sink in; thinking less of yourself. What exactly does that mean? Though the subject of humility is vast, I present to you the 8 humble man characteristics.

1. He is silent. He may be accomplished and has lots of bragging rights, but he does not boast. Or, not that often. He could be telling story after story about himself, but instead he takes the time to listen to others. He isn’t completely silent, but if the topic overly involves his ego, he’ll be seen, and not heard. But, rest assured, when it is time to speak, he will speak—just not pridefully.

2. He is in control. It is true, every man has an ego. But, the humble man does not live his life with pride and vanity (appearance-based pride). His humility is in charge of his life. It takes far more effort for a man to live humbly than pridefully. To live with the ego in the back seat means falling down, getting dirty, and making mistakes–maybe even lots of them.

3. He is a true leader. Anyone can be a leader, but who can be a true leader?  The biggest difference between a prideful leader and a humble leader is this: the prideful man isn’t a leader, he is a boss. A boss is someone who makes others do something he would never do. But, the leader does everything with those who follow him, never asking them to do something he would not. Doing the hard things with those who do hard things is the hallmark of a true leader.

4. He serves willingly. I’ve always said I should do it, and then I actually found myself doing it very recently; I washed my siblings feet. Anyone who realizes where this act of servanthood is demonstrated knows that it is a job for the lowest of the low. But, the humble man doesn’t care. He will serve others, and he will do so happily. Nothing feels better than knowing someone is better off because of your act of kindness.

5. He is correctable. Something that runs deep within every egocentric man is that he will not take correction. If he messes up, he won’t take the correction of someone. But, the humble man learns willingly. He makes a mistake, and he says teach me. He wants to learn from others, and from every single one of his mistakes. Humility views failure as a stepping stone to ultimate success.

6. He is gentle. There is a great strength demonstrated within the act of gentleness, and the humble man has a gentle heart. Though he may have great strength, he does not showcase it. When he is with the weak, he acts with gentleness to reassure their safety. When he is with the young, he does not make them fear his strength. Rather, he shows them a strength worth admiring. He displays the strength in silence.

7. He is a pursuer of greatness. I almost titled this he is content, but then I realized the flaw in that statement. Of course, a humble man is content in many things, but he may never be content with himself—his character. That’s why he is a pursuer of greatness. He searches for self betterment, strength, intelligence, and more humility…all for the purpose of helping others.

8. He is small before his God and the Universe. No man can truly achieve humility without living a life following God. Our walks with God are the ultimate defining point of our personal humility. God calls us to recognize His greatness, while realizing just how small we really are outside of Him. Every time a humble man comes before his God, he realizes his true size and the depths of his humility.

We all live a constant battle of pride vs humility, which is really just a war against two half’s of the same person. It’s you verses you. You are the only opponent against your inner greatness—against your humility.

A man might consider his ego a great part of him, but the true greatness of a man is found in his humility—his silence, his control over his life, his leadership, his servanthood, his learning spirit, his gentle strength, his desire for greatness, and his size before God.

Do you see the trend here? All of those eight characteristics of humility imply thinking less of yourself. That really is key. And when humility finally wins, you can discover who your pride has been hiding under your ego. Hopefully, you’ll find a humble man—a great man.

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15 Responses to 8 Humble Man Characteristics: Pride vs Humility

  1. Matt June 1, 2016 at 6:37 am #

    Great article. Agreed with every point. In my own life, #8 is #1 for me. Jesus Christ is preeminent in all things. Thank you for writing great, practical articles.

  2. John Haskins June 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    Thanks, Matt; I’m glad you appreciate my work! Definitely keep Christ as number 1, my friend!

  3. zie July 12, 2017 at 8:48 am #

    “Do you see the trend here? All of those eight characteristics of humility imply thinking less of yourself. That really is key.”

    I think it should be “thinking of yourself, less.” As per your quote from CS Lewis.

    • Michael December 6, 2017 at 4:25 am #

      Pride Humility AND Love

  4. Veronica December 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

    Dude this is great. God has waved Ephesians 4:1-2 under my nose over and over again. It’s His command to those who have been chosen to be His people need to be Humble, gentle and patient. Which at first glance is not what most people think. Being a passive doormat. In a nut shell much of it has to do with controlling your ego and impulses. Being Humble is actually great quality because it allows you to maintain..or shows that you don’t have to show off and act important. You are confident in yourself (or In God) so that you don’t have to march around showing off and mistreating people and of course doing stupid things. You maintain your self esteem yet keep your head on the ground.

    • Kris Wolfe December 21, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

      We get most of our inspiration from Scripture. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. Ikhlas December 26, 2018 at 1:59 am #

    Shyness/timidness is another feature of humbleness/modestness. Self effacement is similar.

    Egoless (thinking of yourself less) is the best feature of humbleness.

    That virtue is actually the best translation of the Arabic word Islam. The only way of life that means virtue is Islam. The meaning is always above the word, sound, or feeling. So if you’re truly humble then technically you’re Muslim. Sincereness is the only virtue that can surpass humbleness. The best, or one of the best virtues. And rarities.

  6. Ikhlas December 26, 2018 at 2:27 am #

    Also, respectfulness.

    Oh, and how could we forget respectfulness. Ha. That’s one of the biggest/best features of humbleness.


  7. Ikhlas December 26, 2018 at 2:32 am #

    Apologeticness. There’s another great characteristic.


  8. john reindel April 24, 2019 at 8:34 pm #

    the first 7 parts are true but leave the eights out . God and religion does not belong there. Think of Einstein he knew the limits to this world better than anyone and could do without God’

  9. pascal August 7, 2019 at 10:34 am #

    I’m blessed. thank you brother.

    • Juliet lansana August 18, 2019 at 5:55 am #

      Thanks brother this article helped me a lot in my teaching. God bless


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