humility and strength
by Tzvi Schnee
Today is the 30th day, four weeks and two days of the counting of the Omer. Strength within humility, i.e., strength is the particular aspect of humility to focus on for today. For example, strength, which includes discipline, is necessary at times in order to exercise humility. If I know that I tend towards egocentrism, thereby putting myself at the center of my life, it will take strength to break out of this perspective. Strength in the form of restraint, every time I would place myself above others, by being more interested in my own point of view, rather than taking the opportunity to listen. Discipline by actively engaging in listening to others.
If humility is the goal, the strength to suppress my inclination to aggrandize myself is necessary. Ultimately, humility may result from suppressing pride. This could be done through constant vigilance, wherein there is an active engagement to beware of prideful thought, speech and action, and place them in check. While it may seem contrary to the idea of personality being composed of certain traits that are stable over time, changing oneself for the better is possible.
Case in point, applying the necessary discipline over time, in order to challenge the influence of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) can bring about a successful result. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 had a very challenging start in life. He explains his story in his book, Think Big. In school, at a very early age, he was branded as the least smart student in class. Yet, his mother saw his potential, and introduced discipline into his life, as well as his brother, Curtis, by compelling them to read library books after school. He made his way through poverty and racism to become a world acclaimed neurosurgeon. Moreover, he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 2017. The potential to change may be actualized through discipline; yet, even with success, it is possible to remain humble.