Being great is one thing. Being humble is something totally different.
Throughout my life I have met, played with, and hung out with some of the most well accomplished people out there. From Presidents to Pro Bowlers, I’ve seen it all. Yet what has impressed me most about these men was not their accomplishments, but their humility.
Let me introduce you to three great men who are also genuinely humble.
Last weekend I went to a concert featuring the 116 Clique, a hip hop group comprised of accomplished rap artists who focus on honest rap, rather than rapping about what a lot of us hear on the radio today. The members of 116—Lecrae, KB, Derek Minor, Andy Mineo and Tedashii—are all great at what they do. But what stood out the most was their humility.
Backstage I met Lecrae, a Grammy-winning artist who just released his newest mixtape, Church Clothes 2. He surprised me with our first interaction. As I rose from my scooter to greet him, he proclaimed, “Don’t stand up for me!” Tedashii and KB were the same way. It’s clear that they see others as more important than themselves, and their commitment to kids from the inner city further demonstrates it.
A few weeks ago, at the wedding of some friends, I “met” Clayton Kershaw. Okay, I didn’t officially get introduced to him. Here’s what happened. I was in the wedding party, as was Clayton’s wife, so we saw each other at the rehearsal dinner the night before. I honestly didn’t know who he was. All I knew was that he and I owned the same pair of shoes, and that I had gotten mine through my Nike contract. I should have made the connection, but I didn’t.
Not once did he talk about baseball, not to mention the fact that he is the best pitcher in the MLB. As a matter of fact, had a friend not told me who he was the day AFTER the wedding, I never would have known he was even there. The reason why is that Clayton is humble. He was celebrating friends on their big day, not drawing attention to himself. The BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL spent time detracting attention from himself. That should tell us something.
One of the reasons I have loved doing my weekly segments for EVB Live on 12 News is because I get to meet a lot of cool people on set. One of them was Benson Henderson. Benson weighs 155 pounds, but could probably beat the living daylights out of me. After all, he is the current lightweight UFC champion of the world.
Benson is another guy who emanates humility. When we started up a conversation, all he wanted to talk about was the mission work my family and I do in Nigeria. He wanted to know how he could help. I didn’t even KNOW the guy and he was seeing if there was any way he could serve those less fortunate than himself.
See, that’s the difference between perceived greatness and true greatness. Perceived greatness is when people tell you you’ve arrived, and you believe them. By society’s standards, you have arrived if you have fame, success, and glory. But true greatness is something totally different, and it’s way harder to achieve.
True greatness says that you’ve never arrived. It doesn’t deny the accomplishments you’ve had; it actually does the opposite. True greatness and true humility embrace those accomplishments and use them to bless other people. True greatness sees others as more important than yourself.
So next time you think of what it means to be great, think about Lecrae, Clayton, and Benson, as well as the many men and women who make sacrifices for the good of someone else. Think about those who humble themselves—because greatness and humility go hand in hand.
Do you wanna be truly great? Then humble yourself and consider others.