Tuesday, December 21, 2021


 A few years back, Sundar Pichai when addressing his alma mater IIT Kharagpur students, narrated a situation. When he was first interviewed at Google (in 2004), one of the interviewers asked him what he thought of Gmail. Gmail was actually launched the same day. He responded by saying he couldn't answer the question because he hadn't been able to use the product yet. This fact that Sundar was absolutely fine with admitting his ignorance impressed the interviewers.

(Source: https://cnb.cx/3kXvtT6)

He didn't try to make up the answers and honestly communicated his stance. This trait is also known as "Intellectual humility", in other words, the willingness to admit what you don't know.

Google's former People Head, Laszlo Bock says: "If you don’t have humility–intellectual humility, to be specific–then you’ll never be able to learn."

Those who lack intellectual humility may exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
- hard to recognize that others can have better ideas.
- hard to create space for others if their ideas and arguments are going to be challenged.
- becoming incredibly defensive when taking the blame.
- find it very hard to step back from discussions or change stance if someone else has a better argument.
- may stay quiet if someone else does better and refrain from saying "thank you" and "sorry" wholeheartedly.

One of the best definitions of humility that i heard recently came from Basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In a recent press conference (https://lnkd.in/g54dMrCc), he said something very profound-

"When I think about, 'Oh, I did this,' or, 'I'm so great", Usually the next day you're going to suck. The next few days, you're going to be terrible."

he goes on:
"The mindset to have? When you focus on the past, that's your ego. 'I did (this) in the past. I won (that) in the past.'

When I focus on the future, that's my pride. 'I'm going to dominate.' That's your pride talking.

I try to focus on the moment. In the present. That's humility. That's being humble. That's a skill I'm trying to master. And it's been working so far. So I'm not going to stop."

A brilliant reflection by Giannis that i tried to depict in my sketchnote.

How would you define humility ?

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