It sounds silly to promote modesty, and even more ridiculous to recommend humility. We are used to encouragement in terms of pride, excellence and accomplishment.

However, we seem to be in a period in which self-promotion has morphed into intolerance and self-confidence into bullying.

Even when people are the best at what they do — those few that are obviously superior — they often are gracious in their gratitude to others and aware of the good luck that gave them advantages. Muhammad Ali joked about being the greatest because he knew it was a silly boast in spite of his winning bouts.

People who boast seriously, saying that they are convinced of their superiority, are not realistic, maybe not sane. Like Ali, they say fantastic things about themselves but do not see how inane that is. Sharing your accomplishments and joys with others is not a problem when it is accompanied by expressions of gratitude.

Intellectual humility is also important. “Know-it-alls” are really dumb. No one knows all or even some things with no doubt. All knowledge is tentative and not recognizing that is a sure sign of bigotry and inexperience.

We think it is rude to confront the egotist but maybe they need negative reaction. Like the persistent complainer, boasters need sympathy — their moods display distress and lack of peace. But others’ issues aside, it is for oneself I write this comment. If we find ourselves speaking and acting without humility it is time for some self-examination and reflection.

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