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September 26 • The Golda Touch

Day 444

Golda Meir was the first prime minister of the modern state of Israel. She famously once told a feigning foreign diplomat,

"Don't be so humble; you're not that great."

People sometimes refer to me as a 'humble man,' or even worse, a 'humble man of God.' I have accomplished a few things of significance, but there's a fine line between true humility and truly knowing that you're just not that great.

One time in my life, I suggested to someone that I might be something more than the average person. That someone was my best friend, and I was no older than ten. I had long observed that I seemed to have understandings that other kids did not grasp. I generally knew how to stay out of trouble, and I had the favor of teachers and other adults at an age when many friends were scrambling to be part of the crowd.

When Kenny said something that made me think he also saw that quality in me, I confided that I was often uncomfortable in those circumstances, and felt bad for the other kids (including my brother). But I had misunderstood what Kenny was trying to say. He immediately mocked me and started telling our buddies that I thought I was better and smarter than everyone else.

It was apparent by the evidence in front of me that I was wrong about what he thought, as well as about my being smart enough not to be humiliated like that. I humbled myself in shame at my arrogance, and never had such a conversation again.

As it turns out, my IQ scores suggest that, indeed, I was smarter — or at least I had a greater ability to learn — than anyone in my class, certainly more than Kenny. But I quickly became more comfortable playing the goof. I learned the benefits of being the good guy that didn't challenge the leaders of the packs. I was never one of the cool kids and rarely wanted to be. But it was a decision for me that coolness was not worth the risk of having my ideas or my soul humbled again in public.

How damn arrogant of me.



You deny the possibility

Of growing old

You are filled with false humility

You're much too bold

–The McCoys, ”Beat The Clock"


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